I’ve Got The House To Myself – David Grier
Dreadnought Recordings 0201
Maybe the incomparable David Grier could have titled his new solo album
Even the Most Banal Can Have Latent Sophisticated Undertones. An
obscure title, but what other alias works for a solo acoustic guitar album
which covers traditional mountain fare, yet does so in the most
inconceivably ambiguous fashion imaginable?
Given his long-standing collaborations with bluegrass upper echelon, no one
will be surprised by Grier’s fleet playing talents on I’ve Got the House
However, such collaborations have offered Grier equally talented
participants to challenge and skew his musical outlook. Teammates such as
Matt Flinner and Todd Phillips have exposed the ability to deconstruct and
attack the established Appalachian tradition with a mad scientist’s
For the most part, pieces such as "Turkey in the Straw," "Sally Gooden," and
"Arkansas Traveler" employ his trio’s ability to discuss the boundaries of
the song rather than to ever state a patent definition. Grier gestates, he
jives, he equivocates, and he pounds, constantly moving the rhythm and the
melody in a variety of inconceivable directions. Calypso, jazz, funk, Doc
Watson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass all take part in the festivities in Grier’s
house, and all under his own lissome talents.
Grier’s album doesn’t simply expose the ways to rearrange often ossified
musical constructs. No, such a musical quest has become newfangled and now
redundant. Instead Grier shows us how to blow the context completely to
shreds, in some magnificent plutonium instigated frenzy. The solo context
affords Grier the room to incessantly change rhythms and chord variations,
to attempt to begin with something identifiable and conclude with an
entirely original manifestation. Trying to explain this ineffable
manifestation and how it came into the world, especially with "John Henry"
as the parent, remains befuddling yet a damn pleasurable paradox.