CD Review

Honeywagon, "Grass Stains - Tribute to Blink182",Rainfeather Music, Los Angeles, CA

"Grass Stains", Honeywagon's Tributeto Blink182, could only have been made in LA. Californians haveled the way toward embracing new ideas & new & creativeways of doing things. It's that attitude that encourages open-mindedness,experimentation & originality.

That being said, this is not your run ofthe mill tribute CD. There are not the customary dozen or so musiciansrendering their interpretations of songs by the artist who isthe subject of the tribute. "Grass Stains" is likelyto leave an indelible (pun intended) mark as being as fresh, original& exciting a CD as you are likely to hear for a long, longtime.

Most of you had better sit down, because,when you hear how Honeywagon pays tribute to Blink182, you couldeasily be knocked over with the proverbial feather. All right,here goes, are you sitting down? This is a Bluegrass Tribute toBlink182. That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you. I said"a Bluegrass Tribute to Blink182"!

Only in LA would 3 monster musicians gettogether an do such a thing. The questions now become "doesit work", &, "is it any good"?

Let me tell you, it works so well &"Grass Stains" is so good that it I will not be surprisedif it is named as a "CD of the Year" in every poll &in every category in which it is nominated. It is far & awaythe best CD that I have heard in 2003, &, maybe even for ayear or two before that!

Bryan "BC" Clark (lead vocals,guitars & dobro), Loren "L-Train" Ellis (banjo,mando & backing vocals) & Ben "Benwell" Levine(upright bass & backing vocals) are nothing less than brilliantin playing the 10 well-known Blink182 songs that make up thisCD in traditional Bluegrass style. The 10 tracks of this CD are:

1) All the Small Things            6)Dammit

2) Dumpweed                          7)Reckless Abandon (intro & full song)

3) Alan's Song                         8)Rock Show

4) M&M's                               9)Stay Together for the Kids

5) Dammit                            10) Josie

These guys can PLAY! Bryan's flatpickin'is so good that if the liner notes said Tony Rice on guitar, Iwould not have questioned it for one second. I have heard somepretty good flatpickers & Bryan is one of the best. His dobrowork is as tasteful as can be, which is not surprsing as Bryanhas played with Bonnie Raitt as a slide guitarist. Loren's richlytextured banjo & mando playing are the perfect complement& counterpoints to Brian's guitar & slide. Loren reallyunderstands the intricacies of these instruments to the pointthat I had visions of Appalachia, the Great Smoky Mountains &all of the great banjo & mandolin players who gave birth toBluegrass.

Ben is THE rhythm section; Bryan & Lorenare really fortunate to have his bass-playing keeping time &providing a solid rhythm. Bluegrass bass-playing is very demandingbecause it tales a lot of restraint to play within the Bluegrassparameters & not go wondering off or experimenting. Ben literallyputs on a clinic as to how to play Bluegrass bass.

These 3 guys combine modern influences witha traditional style. The result is music the likes of which havenever been heard before. Ladies & gentlemen, Bryan, Loren& Ben have made a groundbreaking CD. When is the last timethat you heard a CD described as "groundbreaking"?

This is one CD that I would encourage everymusic lover to give a listen & to buy because it is guaranteedto broaden your musical horizons.

Groundbreaking...guaranteed to broaden musicalhorizons...it's no wonder that I am looking forward to seeingwhat these guys come up with next!

 

Rating: Excellent

Scale:    Fair

            Good

            Very Good

            Excellent