THE GRASCALS, “Life Finds A Way,” Mountain Home. 13 tracks.
Members of The Grascals had already honed their skills in other bands. So, when they joined to form The Grascals in 2004, they were ready to hit the ground running.
The band quickly won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s emerging artist of the year award in 2005 and then took entertainer of the year honors in both 2006 and 2007.
Their version of Harley Allen’s “Me and John and Paul,” a song about two friends reuniting for the funeral of the third, won IBMA song of the year honors in 2005.
The awards have been scarce over the past four years, but the music is still as good as it ever was.
The vocals of Jamie Johnson, Terry Smith and Terry Eldredge are as powerful as ever and the instrumental work of Danny Roberts (mandolin), Kristin Scott Benson (banjo and guitar) and Jeremy Abshire (fiddle) is still outstanding.
Band members co-wrote five of the 13 songs on the album — the title cut, “Hello Mr. Lonesome,” “Pretty Melody,” “Lay That Hammer Down” and the instrumental “Eleven Eleven.”
There are a couple of Harley Allen songs on here too — “Pass It On,” a song that says that you can either pass on your love or your sins to your children, and “Still They Call Me Love,” a song that says that despite the heartaches love causes, people still want it.
And a couple of Billy Smith songs — “Bartender,” about a man who comes into a bar regularly to buy a drink for himself and his ex-wife who isn’t with him, and “Honky Tonk Lullaby,” a classic country song about music that heals the hurting inside.
There are bluegrass covers of Junior Parker’s 1953 blues classic, “Mystery Train,” and James Taylor’s 1970 cowboy lullaby, “Sweet Baby James.”
And there’s a powerful gospel number, “Road To Surrender.”
There’s nothing quite as powerful as “Me and John and Paul,” but songs like that are rare.
“Life Finds A Way” is another in a long line to great albums by The Grascals.
Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.grascals.com.