On his debut album, Kickin' Grass, Jesse Brock hits the ground at a steady gallop. The jazzed-up title track jumps out of the gate as though it has something to prove, and three minutes later it has finished strong. Two-thirds of the album features instrumentals, and with tunes like "Georgia Stomp" and "Red Rooster," Brock always keeps at least one foot in traditional bluegrass. The album is enriched by the contributions of a number of fellow pickers who dropped by during the recording sessions. Familiar artists like Rob Ickes, Jim Hurst, and Lynn Morris, whose band Brock currently plays in, make guest appearances. One of the elements that sets Kickin' Grass apart from other new acoustic albums is the inclusion of songs/instrumentals from a variety of sources. While Brock's self-penned title track and "Lil' Ben" are good tunes, many players can bog a project down with mediocre material in their rush to write their own music. Although Brock offers a tentative lead vocal on "She's No Angel" and on the first verse of "You're the Best of All the Leading Brands," his specialty is playing mandolin. Aficionados of new acoustic music with a bent toward traditional styles will undoubtedly want to pick up a copy of Kickin' Grass. Mandolin players, both novices and professionals, will want to check out the competition.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.