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Hold On, We're Strummin' based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Mandolin masters Sam Bush and David Grisman paired up for this release on Grisman's Acoustic Disc label. Some of it is just the two of them and the rest adds musicians from Grisman's supporting cast. It is different from both Bush's New Grass Revival and Grisman's Dawg music, although I believe David's influence may be greater. The most unusual cut is Swamp Thing, a mandolin duet that doesn't sound like mandolins at all.
Playing Time - 70:22 -- David Grisman's music has been described as "bluegrass-jazz-Gypsy-rock-Middle Eastern-Hebraic-folk-classical-Grisman." Sam Bush also has very eclectic tastes, and Grisman once said about Bush, "He's got everything: incredibly powerful rhythm, great solos, and he can play in any style. Everything he plays is just there - not just headed there, but fully realized." Then, there was the time that Sam called David one of his "musical heroes." Sure seems kind of surprising that these two outstanding all-purpose pickers and friends since 1965 haven't collaborated on a recording project sooner. Of the sixteen tracks comprising over 70 musical minutes, there are eleven new joint Grisman/Bush originals that range from slide mandolin ("Swamp Thing") to a John Hartford tribute ("Hartford's Real"), straight-ahead Dawg ("Intimo" and "Sea Breeze") to graceful gospel ("The Old South"). Less easily categorized are the more improvisational and jazzy collaborations "Jamgrass 741," "Arachnid Stomp," and "Mando Space." A melodic "Weeping Mandolin Waltz" is a showpiece for the mandoduo to feature their simultaneous tremolos in harmony. A strange little half-minute "Rhythm Twins" seems like it could've been further developed to a full length piece. "Crusher and Hoss" was named for their legendary Gibson mandolins. I believe that David's is a 1927 Gibson F-5, while Sam's is a 1930s F-5 that he acquired from Tut Taylor about 1973. Jethro Burns' "'Cept Old Bill" is a tongue-in-cheek piece with vocals (and even a few grunts and groans) that pays respect to each other as well as the Father of Bluegrass. "Ralph's Banjo Special" is probably the closest piece to bluegrass, while there's even an old-timey offering, "Old Time Medley" with the boys sawing fiddle and frailing banjo. Besides fiddle, Sam plays mandolin, National mandolin, octave mandola, mandocello, banjo and bass guitar on various tracks. Besides mandolin, David picks mandocello, octave mandola, mandola, and banjo-mandolin. With their arsenal of strings, Sam and David cover all the instrumental bases on seven tracks, while nine also feature guest artists including Jack Lawrence (guitar), Enrique Coria (guitar), Jim Kerwin (bass), Hal Blaine (drums), Sam Grisman (bass), Dimitri Vandellos (guitar), and Jim Nunally (guitar). Back in the sixites, Sam and Dave (the Motown guys, remember?) sang, "when the day comes and you're down, in a river of trouble and about to drown, just hold on, I'm comin'." Now, the other Sam and David and letting their eight strings of fame do the vocalizing. They close this album with an absorbing and entertaining instrumental cover of the famous Motown song, and if you're down and about to drown, you can almost seem to hear those mandolins singing, "Hold on, We're Strummin'!" Grisman and Bush clearly feed off each other, and this project is one that is long overdue as a vehicle to musically illustrate their eclecticism, spirit, energy and groove. It's a mandnificent album. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)