Daniel Grindstaff  Releases Debut Album – IndiePulse Music Journal

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The discharge of Daniel Grindstaff’s Heroes & Mates is likely one of the most essential occasions on the 2024 bluegrass calendar. It represents Grindstaff’s transition from one in all bluegrass’ most revered sidemen and instrumentalists to a formative solo artist. I imagine it can stand as arguably essentially the most pivotal second in Grindstaff’s profession and applaud the way it highlights his abilities regardless of a plethora of company becoming a member of him for these ten tracks.

He chooses his company nicely. The East Tennessee-born Grindstaff opens Heroes & Mates with one in all a handful of instrumentals. “Finnland” is a torrid bluegrass exercise benefitting from the presence of multi-instrumentalist Andy Leftwich. It’s the primary of Leftwich’s appearances on the gathering. A deft steadiness between eloquence and physicality defines his fiddle enjoying all through this tune. Nonetheless, it in the end showcases Grindstaff’s banjo abilities, and he dazzles me.

Leftwich joins Grindstaff and his “home” band for an efficient rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Eternally Younger”. Paul Brewster handles the tune’s lead vocal, and the legendary Dolly Parton accompanies him throughout the harmonies. It’s somewhat stunning to me Grindstaff would slot Parton right into a supporting position. I can solely guess that it was at her insistence within the perception that Brewster provided the extra affecting efficiency. The association follows the overall trajectory of Stewart’s model and credit the tune’s authentic supply materials penned by Bob Dylan.

“Trying on the World By a Windshield”, authored by Jerry Chestnut and Mike Boyer, options the excellent vocal and guitar abilities of Trey Hensley. Hensley performs on many Heroes & Mates cuts. Nonetheless, his second heart stage for “Trying on the World By a Windshield” is likely one of the album’s most memorable moments. Josh Swift’s resophonic guitar provides a particular contact to the efficiency. An instrumental model of the pop customary “When You’re Smiling” is one other excessive level of the discharge. Grindstaff and firm, notably fiddle participant Stephen Burwell, invoke the composition’s timeless melody with deep feeling.

The regular mid-tempo tempo of “Colleen Malone” highlights the twin singing and guitar abilities of Rickey Wasson. Doyle Lawson contributes glorious mandolin enjoying, and Stephen Burwell’s fiddle as soon as once more offers one in all Heroes & Mates’ songs with an unquestionable musical excessive level. Bluegrass gospel vocal large Jeff Tolbert provides his hovering singing to one of many album’s finest tracks. “Little one of the King” has a timeless high quality that ought to attraction to believers and non-believers alike because of the unreserved celebratory vibe emanating from the efficiency. It adopts a deliberate mid-tempo tempo that weaves a spell.

A closing instrumental, “Three Arrows”, concludes Heroes & Mates. It’s a  transient and bouncy nearer that permits every main instrumentalist to show their abilities. Bookending his album with instrumental tracks is an attention-grabbing transfer. It reaffirms that Grindstaff identifies himself, in the beginning, as a musician, reasonably than a singer or songwriter. It additionally serves discover that he intends on recording data his method reasonably than discovering himself beholden to a different’s concepts about how his releases ought to unfold. Heroes & Mates unfolds reasonably properly.

Mindy McCall

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