Psychograss

Like Minds

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If you wanted to take a group of excessively talented musicians and put them together to play inventive instrumental music, you would have something a lot like Psychograss. Like Minds offers 60 minutes of jazz, bluegrass, and progressive bluegrass provided by Tony Trischka, David Grier, Todd Phillips, Mike Marshall, and Darol Anger. A traditionally styled reel "Tree King Creek" opens the album, while the lively "Jeremy Reel" continues in this vein. But tradition is left far behind when the band launches into Jimi Hendrix's experimental "Third Stone From the Sun." Psychograss' version is quintessential progressive bluegrass, allowing every member the space to display imaginative lead work within the six-minute structure. Another important element of the group's sound is that, while each player is an accomplished soloist, they are also fully capable of adding textured and resourceful accompaniment. This album is more aggressive and also more willing to explore traditional music than Psychograss' debut; this places it closer in spirit to David Grisman than contemporary jazz. Trischka and Todd Phillips have also written more material on this effort, and the addition of guitarist David Grier has added spice to the mix. Grier provides fresh and occasionally unorthodox solos, full of energy without overplaying. He has also written two songs for the album, including the graceful instrumental "Fuzzy Navel." The song begins slowly, then moves into a rolling pace that ebbs and flows for seven minutes as the musicians trade leads. Like Minds' eclectic choice of material is one of the elements that makes acoustic instrumental music so fascinating. Many acoustic musicians have shown a willingness to play in multiple settings as opposed to being associated with one band; Psychograss' second effort shows just how captivating these experiments can be.

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