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Now Hear This

3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 10, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This new recording bears the unmistakable stamp of a mature group of artists at the top of their game. The all-original tunes ring with the authority of musicians who have mastered a vast swath of American music styles, yet are still exploring. Bluegrass music forms the grounding for a subtle and kaleidoscopic blend of seasonings which include jazz, rock, classical, and various international flavors, flavors that are not pasted over the music but woven into the sound of each player, expressed as a conversation, sometimes earthy, sometimes highfalutin, always totally present in the moment. Psychograss is a band of musicians who are indelibly written into the history of acoustic music. NOW HEAR THIS is both a signpost and a guidepost.

About the Artist

"These cats invite us along on their most developed musical journey to date. The listener hears familiar elements of the best acoustic music, classical, bluegrass, jazz, world music, swing, Irish, and modern music. It's a wonderful bag. They are having a heck of a good time with this music. We can crank it up and, for just a moment, pretend that we are all virtuosos playing joyous music with the best musicians on the planet." -Danny Barnes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Adventure Music
  • ASIN: B0009GX2IW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,256 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By twangmon on August 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When it comes to "new acoustic" -- the swinging blend of bluegrass, jazz, baroque, and Celtic pioneered by mandolinist David Grisman under the rubric of dawg music -- it doesn't get any better than Psychograss. Flatpicker extraordinaire David Grier and his mates Mike Marshall (mandolin), Tony Trischka (banjo), Darol Anger (violin), and Todd Phillips (upright) play with a relaxed virtuosity that inspires and astounds, yet remains fun and inviting. Phillips, Anger, and Marshall are Grisman Quartet alumni, and they reflect his original vision without letting the band sound derivative. Salting his 'grass with bluesy double-stops and jazzy voicings, Grier plays with thrilling clarity -- even at top speed. His Jim Merrill flat-top yields warm, ripe tones that sit beautifully below Marshall's tinkling mandolin and Anger's sweetly searing violin. In Grier's "Look What the Dog Brought In," his 6-string rings with piano-like clarity and sustain, recalling Grisman's original dawg flatpicker, Tony Rice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Shannon on April 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Darol Anger, Todd Phillips and Mike Marshall since the old days with David Grisman. When they got together with Tony Trischka and David Grier to form Psychograss they became one of my favorite performing bands, especially when Darol would get down on the stage and play fiddle horizontially just like the real lunatic he is. I have had their first album since 1996 when it was new and it has always been a favorite so was very pleased to see that after 11 years they had gotten together to record another. In addition, I have been following the careers of each of these musicians and love it when they get together. "Now Hear This" is good. It doesn't have the balls-out energy and creativity of the first, and because they were always a performing band it doesn't quite carry through to a non-immediate, semi-personal experience. Now don't get me wrong, it's a great album and I do recommend it. After all these guys are at the very top of their classes in each of their instruments. I don't think they could produce a bad album if they all had strokes and were unconscious. The music would still come streaming "psychically" out of their pores irregardless of their autonomic nervous systems. So give it a try.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Holdener on January 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I'm not much of a bluegrass fan. I listen to more jazz and world music. In fact, I discovered this album by following music recommendation links on another (ahem) online music site from the CD page of an Armenian ensemble named 'Aravod'. After my purchase, Psychograss' 'Now Hear This' became my favorite pick of 2005 and in 2008, is still one of my favorite CDs.

I only learned later that 2 of the players: Darol Anger and Todd Phillips are veterans of the David Grisman Quintet, the band listed as a primary influence by musicians that play what is known as 'newgrass' music.

The music on this CD ranges from fast-picking newgrass music, to music that would fit quite well on some jazz-fusion releases (provided, of course, that violin, banjo, and mandolin are considered jazz instruments). The syncopation, swing, and improvisation of these virtuoso players is astonishing. All of the tunes start with an initial melody, but once the solos start, the music starts to morph into other melodies to the point where you cannot tell which artist was supposed to be soloing at any given time. All of this is done in such a way that you cannot tell if the music was written this way or if you're just eavesdropping on an amazing jam session.

It's very rare to find music played by folks who know their music and instruments so well that you can hear them improvising off of each other simultaneously. Typical ensembles have one lead player (such as David Grisman with his quintet) who leads all of the solos. With this band, it is impossible to identify a lead player. Although some instruments are prominent on certain songs, all instruments have a lead part in at least one song on this CD, even the bass in the song, "Little Basses".

The result is music that may not be appealing to either hard-core bluegrass fans or hard-core jazz fans, but should be appealing to anyone who just likes a good acoustic jam session.
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