Their second studio album, Blueground Undergrass' Newgrass, refines the band's newgrass sound into a gentle, self-described "wall of twang." Produced by pedal steel player Mark Van Allen, it is Van Allen's pedal steel, lap steel, and dobro that give the band their distinct sound. By mixing them cleanly and playing them slowly, Van Allen's instruments give the band a warm bed to rest on. Oddly enough, it is Van Allen and not J. Vic Stafford's drums that free Jeff Mosier's banjo from the rhythmic role the instrument is usually confined to, allowing the veteran bandleader to color the jams in a way not evident on the rhythm section-heavy playing of the band's previous release, Live at the Variety Playhouse, a live outing recorded in their native Georgia. Here, songs like Jeff Mosier's "Everchanging Moment" and Van Allen's "Why'd You Have to Leave" are stately without being sleepy, refined without being snotty, and sweet without being melodramatic. While the band does fuse elements of multiple genres, as jam bands are wont to do, they still manage to find one unique sound, which they exploit maturely.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow