East Nash Grass is one of a growing number of bands composed of young pickers trying to elbow their way onto the scene, offering sounds that provide yet another wrinkle to the question, “What bluegrass is?”
With a debut album of the same name, East Nash Grass not only shows fresh playing, but original music. Eight of the 14 tracks were written by band members, somewhat unusual for new acts.
Perhaps two of the better-known names in the group seem like they’ve been around forever—banjo player Cory Walker and Dobro player Gaven Largent. Walker has played with Mountain Heart, The Steeldrivers and David Grier, among others. Largent has not only played the Grand Ol’ Opry, but has taken the stage with Blue Highway, Dailey & Vincent, Dan Tyminski and is building a name as a top-notch luthier.
Rounding out the group is multi-state champion fiddler Maddie Denton; bass player Geoff Saunders; mandolinist James Kee; and guitar player Harry Clark. While the album is solid from top to bottom, the Largent co-written “Mountain Bluebird,” “Timberline,” and Kee’s “Nothing Else” are among the best.
Kee—who spent time with NewTown—also wrote “Had to Be a Full Moon” and co-wrote “I’ve Got the Right to Know” with Jason Owen. Owen contributed three other songs and added harmony vocals on a pair. Clark wrote “Time at Hand.” There’s also a fun turn on the Stanley Brothers’ “Kitten and the Cat.”
East Nash Grass started as a “part-time pickup gig band in 2017” and blossomed into a fulltime working group. East Nash Grass is a strong effort.