By Gili Malinsky
By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
A natural blend, really: Blue grass and other high-travelin' styli get their obsessive beats tunefully trounced and bounced on a new-cut road, courtesy 'Grassmaster Scott Rouse, confessed student of Zapp II(Roger Troutman R.I.P.) and the new Kid Rock album. Rouse is in the house with fellow hillions Doc Watson, Del McCoury, and P-Funkabilly Bootsy Collins.
GrooveGrass sometimes two-steps hi-Tex, like Rednex' "Cotton Eye Joe" but more genuwine. The single-only "Rocky Top" mixes freshwater Osborne Brothers harmonies in a beer-can piston, chug-strut ting 'round the mountain, spilling nary a drop.101 wrestles with the restlessness of the Delmore Bros' "Deep River Blues," dancing its fatalism jaunty: "Let it rain /let it pour/let it do/a whole lot more." The slide-guitared arrangement glides us down; Bootsy's Bob Willsian vocal zingers partially deflate the Big Lonely; Rouse moodily messes with a sample of Doc saying "sample." Sink, swim, or tread, you better keep kicking.
Maybe you'll get to that "Little Cabin on the Hill", where little Suzi leaves you "Stuck Like Glue," "feelin' kinda frail/like the check is in the mail." So go overboard ("LetmebeyourSaltyDog g/ orIwontbenomanatall"), 'til the "Blue Moon of Kentucky" sees you dumped. Scared straight, Doc and Scott bid the moon "shine on"later for "the one who made me blue," boyeee, let's roll!
The emailorder-only Groove Grass Boyz (www.GrooveGrass.com) whomps Skynyrd's "Mississippi Kid" like a little brother, serenades "Macarena" Willie Nelsonstyle, and ignites the fieriest straight bluegrass Del's ever sung, "I Feel the Blues Movin' In," next door to the illbilly "White House Blues": "You better die/you better cash yore checks." Word to McKinley. Now y'all save your Dead Presidents for Chemical Grasscoming soon.