The Grascals’ most recent album, When I Get My Pay, shows off many of the facets of their sound which has made them one of the leading names in the contemporary bluegrass and country scenes. Their close personal friendships have resulted in a bond, and a blending of styles which has in turn influenced what they do, allowing their music to feel natural, and complete. The band’s members number six, which brings new and different dimensions to their musicianship and singing. When I Get My Pay is filled with joy, light and love, with plenty of tight melodies and harmonies.
The title track is a rolling, sliding ode to working for others and to family. It acts as the first in a series of ‘real’, relatable stories, a theme which runs through much of the band’s music. The rich tone of their instrumentation and harmonies is obvious right from the beginning.
American Pickers, featuring Dierks Bently, has a good, down home feel, with a strident, feel-good fiddle riding over the singing. Harley Allen and Patrick Davis’ Two Boys On A Dirt Road spins a tale of differing fortunes and different destinies, with twin vocalists looking at the past looking at the future. This is another example of just how great the songs are on this record, with healthy, lively instrumentation which matches the words and their delivery.
When I Get…also touches on the band’s aptitude for the classic country sound, with songs like Are You Up For Getting Down Tonight, When Your Rock Turns To Stone and It Won’t Break My Heart being delivered with aplomb, and plenty of soul. Many of the pieces on display on the album are short, punchy, lean compositions, where nothing is wasted, yet all have a full sound – no matter the style or song type. Be it the classic bluegrass-sounding When I Fall In Love Again – complete with bass solo – or the stories of family, community and life like Bluegrass Melodies.
The album has a contemporary feel to it, both in the stories being told, and the way they are conveyed. Yes, the band do take in more than a pinch of the classic in their approach to their music, but the balance of the old and the new is maintained and managed expertly. Roll On Big Mama’s heart, soul and passion is proof that the Grascals know what you need when making this kind of music. The bluegrass sound is pushed on in expert hands with the beautiful, clean lines of Headin’ South.
The songs on When I Get My Pay have meaning, and are played with style and panache. The band acts as a whole, holding the music together, and treating it with love and respect. The Grascals are an exciting, interesting band with something to say.