Dawgnation – David Grisman Quintet
Acoustic Disc 49
At this point in time, the David Grisman Quintet should just title one of
albums For Cat Lovers Too. Because the DGQ is so consistent musically
as with its 'dawg' references that only a dawg hater would not be satisfied
with the final result.
The two sides immediately mix on the brief opening track, "Citizens of
Dawgnation". The 23 seconds consist of various dawg barks but, midway
the sounds are framed in a manner that resembles a rhythmic pattern. Leave
to the DGQ to create a "song" out of this meeting of man's best friend.
Something more familiar follows immediately. "Slade" has been performed
as a closing number at DGQ concerts and now it has found a home in a
typically perverse twist as the opening track. It swings and sways in a
manner that's filled with tasteful note-pickin' and rhythmic swiftness.
Not surprisingly, the number brings together the instrumental
capabilities of members David Grisman (mandolin), Jim Kerwin (bass), Joe
Craven (multiple instruments), Matt Eakle (flute) and Enrique Coria (guitar)
in a mesmerizing collage of sound that resembles grains of sands resting
to each other in an intricate mandala.
Along the way, each member is given a more noticeable role in a song but
it's always apparent that the sum of DGQ's parts is what gives the
performances their strength.
"Dawgnation" also keeps true to its dawg mentality in a musical sense.
Just like the mutt-like reference in the definition of Dawg music, the 12
original Grisman tunes move from Latin-based flavors to something that's
distinctly childlike in its musical portrayal to jazz complexities and a nod
or two to its bluegrass roots.
The results are definable and exuberant as purebred DGQ music.