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Published: 2006/03/15
by Joe Doherty

Stomp – Mike Compton and David Long

Acoustic Disc 63

Although Bill Monroe wasn’t the first man to play a mandolin, few doubt he planted the seed for what bluegrass was, and has become, over the past 60 years. He pushed forward this genus of American folk music and opened the public ear to an already familiar sound. In his wake, thousands tweaked, toyed and experimented with his creation of string-a-la-carte Americana.

Step in Mike Compton and David Long.

Under the watchful eye of newgrass legend David Grisman, the duo weaves nearly every possible gadget of the bluegrass palette into their new disc, Stomp.

The disc is light on vocals (poking through on only six of the album’s 17 songs), but Compton and Long’s silky harmonies mesh beautifully on tracks like “Every Humble Knee Must Bow” and the Bible conjuring “The Old Ark’s a Movin’.” The double-mandolin fan out of “Evening Prayer Blues,” one of the Monroe-written nuggets found here, lays bare the down-home-pickin’ style in its infancy, while Compton’s octave mandola freakout adds a feather to the cap of progressive pickers on the disc’s title track.

Interestingly, the opening minutes of “Centipede Hop” reveal how Stomp was recorded within a globe of existential aura. Compton and Long each wrote the song unbeknownst to one other with roughly the same melody and nearly the same chord progression.

Sound vaguely familiar?

While “Hop” will most likely not end up carved in “Terrapin Station”-like hippie lore (remember the mystical tale of the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter joint composition during a San Francisco lightning storm?), the songs of Stomp might just prove everlasting.

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