ARTIST: New Grass Revival
TITLE: Best of the New Grass Revival
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Unconditional Love (#44 Country), Can’t Stop Now (#45 Country), Callin’ Baton Rouge (#33 Country), You Plant Your Fields (#58 Country()
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Angel Eyes & I’m Down
LINEUP: John Cowan, Bela Fleck, Pat Flynn, Sam Bush
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Premier progressive bluegrass band’s compilation focuses on their most virtuostic and popular lineup.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Progressive bluegrass bands roiled the establishment with their long(er) hair, regular clothes, song choices and arrangements. The New Grass Revival, started in 1972, found a lineup for about a decade that broke the molds further, especially by employing Bela Fleck, the absolute master of the banjo.
While some of these tracks seem like normal country songs, or traditional bluegrass, tracks like “Metric Lips”, a Fleck showcase, show the innovation and the chances they took.
Fleck would go on to bigger and better things in the world of jazz, with the Flecktones and a solo career that has him examining classical and world music. This is a decent compilation that shows where we started and how he worked in a more traditional setting, marred by the lack of the singles from their 1986 album (for some reason).
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Bush broke up the band in 1989 after their most popular album, and he and other band members have some frosty relationships between Flynn and Bush.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B: Song selection is a problem. There’s no reason for “Ain’t That Peculiar” not to be on this.