East Nash Grass

REVIEW: East Nash Grass “Last Chance To Win”


East Nash Grass – Last Chance To Win

This 6-person band has been raising the eyebrows of some of the most notable bluegrass players in Madison, Tennessee. Considering that when Bill Monroe first introduced bluegrass to country & western audiences in the 1940s it was like rock n’ roll – it wasn’t supposed to last, it was a flash in the pan.

Then came bluegrass-oriented artists that kept adding to the excitement like Flatt & Scruggs, the Foggy Mountain Boys, the Bluegrass Boys & even Elvis Presley (“Blue Moon of Kentucky”) right up until today where a lovely young lady Alison Krauss still saws out the genre with sparkles off her fiddle. I’m from New York City & I love bluegrass.

East Nash Grass

As a kid in the 50s, I found it easier to listen to this than commercial C&W music. I’d listen to Bill Monroe faster than Minnie Pearl. John Hartford ahead of Little Jimmy Dickens. Vassar Clements ahead of George Jones.

Don’t get me wrong country had excellent artists – Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, Roger Miller, Johnny Horton, Bobbie Gentry, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn & Hank Williams. But as a young city boy, I wasn’t looking for novelty music I wanted to be impressed. Roy Clark did, Chet Atkins did — bluegrass music rocked before rock even was potty trained.

The 11-track, 32-minute Last Chance To Win (Drops Aug 18–Mountain Fever Records) was produced by the East Nash Grass band. The interplay between the instruments is impeccable on “East Due West Blues” & some tunes sound like they dropped out of “O Brother Where Art Thou.” These musicians would’ve been comfortable playing in that film or in the live performance hosted by John Hartford at the Ryman Auditorium that followed.

This group doesn’t use newspaper in its fire it uses hickory wood. Why? One listen & their voices & musicianship have that nostalgic, vintage antiquity that lends it credence. It has an authenticity that must stir the elders of the genre since these players aren’t veterans — they’re young adults.

Last Chance To Win is superb with its Goose Creek Symphony air & Charlie Gearhart style vocals. I could see this group play with The Chieftains. Yes, they’re of that caliber. Listen to the instrumental “Jenna McGaugh.” From listening to this there is a bright future for bluegrass. There are light-hearted tunes, but nothing approaches silliness. The musicianship is too stellar. “Papa’s On the Housetop,” is a throwback to remind one where rock n’ roll came from.

Highlights – “Last Chance To Win,” “East Due West Blues,” the Leroy Carr-Scrapper Blackwell’s “Papa’s On the Housetop,” “Jenna McGaugh,” “Love Slippin’ Away” & Dave Macon’s “Railroadin’ & Gamblin’”.

Musicians – Cory Walker (banjo/harmony vocals), Gaven Largent (resophonic guitar/dobro/lead & harmony vocals), Jeff Picker (bass), Harry Clark (mandolin/lead & harmony vocals), Maddie Denton (fiddle/lead & harmony vocals) & James Kee (guitar/lead & harmony vocals).

Color image courtesy of the band’s website. CD @ https://www.eastnashgrass.com/

Leave a Reply!