Dreadnought Recordings 2018

   When David Grier burst onto the bluegrass scene in 1991 with his debut release Freewheeling on Rounder Records, it changed bluegrass and flatpicking guitar forever. Son of Blue Grass Boy Lamar Grier, David grew up having Clarence and Roland White come by his house to jam with his banjo playing dad and other greats.

While lesser musicians were playing hot licks and scorching runs, Grier used his guitar to tell jokes and make puns, to conjure unheard magic from pure air, to break time and space down to their essential musical elements like his mentor.  Solo after solo, Grier would render flurries of notes that at once seemed ancient and noble, yet thrillingly modern and ground-breaking. He’s a player so unique and true to his own voice that no one has ever successfully copied or emulated him. Over a career that has included stints with Tim O’Brien, Matt Flinner, and Todd Phillips in Psychograss to Helen Highwater and his legendary duo with Mike Compton, David Grier has created a musical legacy every current flatpicker owes a debt to.

Ways Of The World draws on Nashville’s best—Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, Mike Compton, Casey Campbell, and more—to cross-pollinate 12 originals and classic flatpicking tunes into something uniquely Grier’s. His lovely instrumental “The Curmudgeon’s Gait” will likely become a jam session standard. His first solo alone will send many players scrambling to try to figure out these runs. “Waiting On Daddy’s Money” is a thrill ride that leaves us all hanging on his next note like his brilliant composition “Impulsive.”

“Farewell To Redboots,” with its haunting trumpet, opens David’s music to broader horizons while creating a thoroughly fascinating sound. Same with his pastoral tribute to Irish music with “She Came From The Mountains,” on which Duncan’s Irish fiddle slides in and out to illuminate vocals from Grier and the brilliant Maura O’Connell. The final cut “Let’s Think Why” creates a dreamlike bed of smooth jazz drums and piano, all giving Grier the platform he needs to demonstrate his amazing lyricism on guitar in nearly any style.

Like many acoustic acts, David Grier has invested in his career by creating a CD that showcases his unquenchingly original guitar style, while expanding to include new sounds and ideas. Ways Of The World reveals a maturing David Grier, the many-traveled musician who has much yet to give. Highly recommended. (www.davidgrier.com)DJM

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