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Freewheeling

David Grier

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Album Review

After working with Doug Dillard and the Country Gazette in the early '80s, David Grier made his first album in 1988. With Grier's reputation as a flat-picker on the rise, he attracted an outstanding cast of musicians for this recording, including mandolin players Sam Bush and Roland White and fiddler Stuart Duncan. The first thing a listener will notice on the opening cut "Wheeling" is that, while this may be Grier's album, the other musicians are given plenty of room for lengthy solos. Freewheeling is based more in bluegrass and tradition than Grier's later efforts like Lone Soldier and Panorama. Grier has also written seven of the 12 instrumentals on this all-acoustic outing, including the lingering "A Blue Midnite Star," a melancholy piece that evokes a lonely starry night in the Appalachians. "Shadowbrook" flows openly, with a lovely fiddle solo by Duncan, and multiple solos by Grier that continue to develop fresh phrasings. Grier is a complicated soloist, never satisfied to complete speedy runs to gain attention; instead, he varies his solos with chords, unique phrasings, and straight-out picking. His solos are never scattered affairs, but colored and textured to create a whole. "If I Knew Her Name," also written by Grier, is a relaxed instrumental that ventures away from the more traditional material on this album, hinting at explorations to come on later albums. The last three cuts feature Grier solo and include a light and airy version of "Gold Rush." For lovers of traditional music and of great flat-picking, Freewheeling is sure to please. ~ Ronnie Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Biography

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

David Grier stands at the forefront of progressive bluegrass guitarists, following in the footsteps of Clarence White and Tony Rice. Three-time winner of the Best Guitar Player of the Year award by the Bluegrass International Music Association, Grier began playing guitar at age eight. His father, Lamar Grier, played banjo with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and Grier had an opportunity to learn from a number of musicians, including legendary...
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Freewheeling, David Grier
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