Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Old and In The Way + Fade To Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica

Two bluegrass ablums that can make a believer out of anyone.
Old and In The Way is a "progressive bluegrass" supergroup with Jerry Garcia on banjo and his frequent collaborator Peter Kahn on bass, the definitive jazz mandolin virtuoso David Grisman, and two of the old-time bluegrass/country stars, Vassar Clemens on the fiddle and a former Monroe's Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan on guitar. With a lineup like that, you can't go wrong.
This is the only studio album of the group; since then, a couple of live recordings came out, too. Old and In The Way is credited with jump-starting the 70s "newgrass" revival, and for good reason. While traditional bluegrass is rather an acquired taste (which I never acquired), anyone can relate to and enjoy this album, and you don't have to be a Deadhead.

Old and In The Way, 1975
~200VBR, 62 mb
1. Pig in a Pen (Traditional) – 2:53
2. Midnight Moonlight (Peter Rowan) – 6:17
3. Old and in the Way (David Grisman) – 3:05
4. Knockin' on Your Door (trad.) – 3:36
5. The Hobo Song (Jack Bonus) – 5:05
6. Panama Red (Rowan) – 2:57
7. Wild Horses (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 4:19
8. Kissimmee Kid (Vassar Clements) – 3:32
9. White Dove (Carter Stanley) – 4:45
10. Land of the Navajo (Rowan) – 6:19

Fade To Bluegrass is just one of many bluegrass rock tributes proliferating lately. There is Hayseed Dixie (a pun on AC/DC), a bluegrass band doing heavy metal covers; I've also heard tributes to Pink Floyd and Ozzy, and there are others (LedZep, Modest Mouse etc.etc.). This album is easily the best one of the bunch. In most cases, the shtick starts to wear thin by the second song. This album is solid from cover to cover; when I first got it, I spun it on repeat for several days, and I am not tired of it a year later. Metallica's apocalyptic lyrics fit perfectly to the death-and-desolation mood of the traditional bluegrass, the musicianship is flawless, the pace is unrelenting. And you don't have to be a Metallica fan, either.
P.S. The word is, Iron Horse put the second volume out. I haven't heard it, but they say it's just as good.

Iron Horse - Fade To Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica, 2003
192 kbps, 65 mb
Alternative link - not sure what the bitrate is.
1. Unforgiven
2. Nothing Else Matters
3. Enter Sandman
4. Hero Of The Day
5. Fade To Black
6. One
7. Ride The Lightning
8. Wherever I May Roam
9. Fuel
10. The Four Horsemen

1 comment:

  1. Somehow I never noticed this post before, despite my occasional browsing here. Thanks for pointing folks towards Old and in the Way, once said to be the best selling bluegrass record of all time. A couple points- I believe this is essentially a live album, the tracks selected from live recordings. And the bass players name is John Kahn.