MP3 The Dappled Grays - Doin My Job
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11 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Bluegrass, COUNTRY: Traditional Country
It is a distinct honor and pleasure to write a few words about the new release âDoin My Jobâ by the Atlanta, GA based Dappled Grays. Fronted by vocalist/fiddler Leah Calvert, this acoustic quintet combines tender vocals, top-shelf instrumental performances, and thoughtful songwriting resulting in one of the most exciting new CDâs I have heard.
Longtime friends mandolinist Michael Smith and guitarist Casey Cook started the original version of the band in 1999. I first became acquainted with Michael and Casey in that year and was immediately struck by their instrumental virtuosity and solid singing. But these are not just hot young pickers. They are steeped in the history of bluegrass music and are totally immersed in the art form. The first Dappled Grays release âIn the Gaitâ was largely focused on instrumental performance but also displayed the strong songwriting skills of Cook and Smith. The disc received favorable reviews from âBluegrass Unlimitedâ and other trade journals and one of Caseyâs vocal tunes was featured on MTVâs âThe Real World.â
Michael and Casey continue to grow as musicians as evidenced by the exceptional guitar and mandolin playing on âIn the Gait.â Michaelâs pure lead and harmony vocals also show great musical maturity. They are certainly among the top players on their respective instruments in the country.
In 2005 the band took a break to re-evaluate personnel and explore new musical possibilities. The biggest shift was adding vocalist and fiddler Leah Calvert. Leah comes from a musical family and knows how to deliver a song with honesty and integrity. She can draw an audience in with her sincerity (as evidenced in the title track âDoin My Jobâ) and can explode with moments of vocal power and intensity (âRed Rocking Chairâ). In addition to her impressive skills as a vocalist, she is a top-notch fiddler comfortable in a variety of musical settings. Her range and versatility as a performer has transported the band into another level of artistry.
The Dappled Grays are rounded out by two of Atlantaâs most respected bluegrass musicians. Bassist Keith Morris has played bluegrass most of his life and also studied classical bass at the University of Georgia, earning a bachelorâs degree in music in 1992. His driving bass playing is the perfect fit with Cookâs strong rhythm guitar playing. Keith also brings his considerable skills as an arranger and harmony vocalist to the band. âDoin My Jobâ contains complex vocal harmonies and songs that keep the interest of the listener with inventive arrangements.
To balance the sometimes-progressive nature of the ensemble, banjoist Greg Earnest keeps his bluegrass roots omnipresent. Greg has an ability to sound like a traditional Scruggs style banjo player while incorporating pedal steel bends and melodic phrases. Greg is always looking for ways to improve a song, not impose his will and sound on the rest of the band.
âDoin My Jobâ is a collection of songs showcasing the individual and collective talents of this exceptional group of musicians. If you are already a Dappled Grays fan I hope you enjoy this long-awaited project. If you are a new Dappled Grays listener I know you will soon become a fan.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Music
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