Blueground Undergrass

Live at the Variety Playhouse 7.10.99

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While remaining closer to their bluegrass roots than jam band counterparts String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, Blueground Undergrass fused rock rhythms with bluegrass on their 1999 live release on jam band label Phoenix Presents. Using the rhythm section of Michael Grando (drums) and Mark Bynum (bass), the band was able to propel itself through stylistic changes, such as the segue from the Irish-influenced "Red Haired Boy" into the band's variation on Irving Rouse's "Orange Blossom Special" titled "Orange Blossom Spatial." For all of the band's claims, though, their improvisation doesn't often leave terra firma, instead focusing on similar territory to bands like Newgrass Revival. Band leader Rev. Jeff Mosier's songwriting takes on traditional forms with a slightly modern twist, though not enough to be considered revolutionary or even exciting. The group's song choices might be questioned, as well, on such songs as Mosier's too-long novelty "I Don't Want to Leave" and the oft-covered rarely improved Bill Monroe standard "Blue and Lonesome."

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