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Dawg's Groove

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Album Review

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of creating his unique "Dawg Music," mandolinist David Grisman's long running quintet has one significant personnel change on this studio date for Dawg's Groove: the replacement of percussionist/fiddler/mandolinist Joe Craven (who launched a solo career) with the return of drummer George Marsh. Grisman's recordings have infrequently included a full drum kit, but Marsh's sensitive touch fits the leader's demands perfectly, though his explosive trade-offs in Grisman's opener "Limestones" prove he's not present just for background work. Marsh also contributed the tender ballad "Waltz for Lucy" (written in memory of his daughter). Grisman's superb musicianship seems to get even better over time, while he also wrote a number of new compositions for this session. Matt Eakle's playful flute remains a focal point and he composed the catchy, brisk samba "My Friend Dawg." Bassist Jim Kerwin, the longest tenured sideman in the quintet, along with guitarist Enrique Coria, a fine addition in 1994, also make important contributions to the Grisman sound. The closing track, "Blues for Vassar," is more of a sensitive waltz in tribute to the late fiddler Vassar Clements, who joined Grisman in various projects by Old & In the Way. Up to his usual tricks, the mandolinist adds a bonus untitled hidden track, as well.


Born: March 23, 1945 in Hackensack, NJ

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

David Grisman is normally associated with the bluegrass wing of country music, but his music owes almost as much to jazz as it does to traditional American folk influences. Because he couldn't think of what to call his unique, highly intricate, harmonically advanced hybrid of acoustic bluegrass, folk, and jazz without leaning toward one idiom or another, he offhandedly decided to call it "dawg music" — a name which, curiously enough, has stuck. A brilliant mandolinist, with roots deep in the...
Full Bio