THE GRASS CATS, “The Mountains, My Baby and Me,” New Time Records. 13 tracks.

The North Carolina-based Grass Cats recently celebrated their 15th anniversary as a bluegrass band.

And their eighth album for the New Time label, “The Mountains, My Baby and Me,” shows the maturity of the band with tight harmonies and solid picking.

The album was No. 11 on the Bluegrass Unlimited album charts in December and the title cut was No. 20 on the magazine’s singles charts — up from No. 30 the month before.

The band continues to mine songs from other genres that it can turn into solid bluegrass — songs like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” The Embers’ “What You Do To Me,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and Eric Clapton’s “I Can’t Stand It.”

But there’s also a lot of original music.

Lead singer Russell Johnson wrote or co-wrote seven of the songs, including the title cut about a man who has to travel to make a living, but longs for time with just the mountains and her.

“Life in the Mines” is a ballad that warns against a life of digging coal.

“Off and Gone” finds the singer going through another night of missing the woman who left him.

“Love With A Lifetime Guarantee” is about a man having trouble convincing a woman that his love for her will last a lifetime.

“Meet Me In Heaven” is an uptempo gospel song with four-part harmony.

“Turning Point” finds a man facing a choice between the bottle and the Bible.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.grasscats.com.

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