Country Classics With a Bluegrass Spin

[Cracker Barrel]

The Grascals share a wealth of individual and collective experience in the bluegrass world, and it shows on this masterfully rendered set of covers populated by marquee guests. Opening with a faithful take on Buck Owens’ signature “Tiger by the Tail,” with Brad Paisley contributing the lead vocal and Kent Wells wailing on electric guitar, the Grascals prove once again to be one of the more malleable and fun-loving bluegrass outfits around. While the traditional bluegrass configuration—guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, tight harmonies—dominates most of the program, the Grascals are never reluctant to loosen up and mess with the formula. Neither Charlie Daniels’ reprise of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Tom T. Hall’s guest spot on “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” nor “Mr. Bojangles,” sung by Joe Nichols, are substantially different in arrangement from the oft-heard original versions, but the Grascals manage to make them sound fresh regardless. –JT

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