The Dappled Grays | Doin My Job

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Country: Bluegrass Country: Traditional Country Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Doin My Job

by The Dappled Grays

An exceptional bluegrass album featuring pristine vocals, stunning songwriting, creative arrangements, mature instrumentation and production quality only seen in the top releases of this genre.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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1. Night Life
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2:53 $0.99
2. Doin My Job
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4:16 $0.99
3. In Full Stride
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4:16 $0.99
4. One More Dollar
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3:10 $0.99
5. Gone By The Ol' Sunrise
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3:31 $0.99
6. Save The Day
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7. Only For You
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3:06 $0.99
8. Young Slaver
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3:39 $0.99
9. I Can't Wait Much Longer
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10. Red Rocking Chair
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11. Put You In My Pocket
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
It is a distinct honor and pleasure to write a few words about the new release “Doin My Job” by the Atlanta, GA based Dappled Grays. Fronted by vocalist/fiddler Leah Calvert, this acoustic quintet combines tender vocals, top-shelf instrumental performances, and thoughtful songwriting resulting in one of the most exciting new CD’s I have heard.

Longtime friends mandolinist Michael Smith and guitarist Casey Cook started the original version of the band in 1999. I first became acquainted with Michael and Casey in that year and was immediately struck by their instrumental virtuosity and solid singing. But these are not just hot young pickers. They are steeped in the history of bluegrass music and are totally immersed in the art form. The first Dappled Grays release “In the Gait” was largely focused on instrumental performance but also displayed the strong songwriting skills of Cook and Smith. The disc received favorable reviews from “Bluegrass Unlimited” and other trade journals and one of Casey’s vocal tunes was featured on MTV’s “The Real World.”

Michael and Casey continue to grow as musicians as evidenced by the exceptional guitar and mandolin playing on “In the Gait.” Michael’s pure lead and harmony vocals also show great musical maturity. They are certainly among the top players on their respective instruments in the country.

In 2005 the band took a break to re-evaluate personnel and explore new musical possibilities. The biggest shift was adding vocalist and fiddler Leah Calvert. Leah comes from a musical family and knows how to deliver a song with honesty and integrity. She can draw an audience in with her sincerity (as evidenced in the title track “Doin My Job”) and can explode with moments of vocal power and intensity (“Red Rocking Chair”). In addition to her impressive skills as a vocalist, she is a top-notch fiddler comfortable in a variety of musical settings. Her range and versatility as a performer has transported the band into another level of artistry.

The Dappled Grays are rounded out by two of Atlanta’s most respected bluegrass musicians. Bassist Keith Morris has played bluegrass most of his life and also studied classical bass at the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor’s degree in music in 1992. His driving bass playing is the perfect fit with Cook’s strong rhythm guitar playing. Keith also brings his considerable skills as an arranger and harmony vocalist to the band. “Doin My Job” contains complex vocal harmonies and songs that keep the interest of the listener with inventive arrangements.

To balance the sometimes-progressive nature of the ensemble, banjoist Greg Earnest keeps his bluegrass roots omnipresent. Greg has an ability to sound like a traditional Scruggs style banjo player while incorporating pedal steel bends and melodic phrases. Greg is always looking for ways to improve a song, not impose his will and sound on the rest of the band.

“Doin My Job” is a collection of songs showcasing the individual and collective talents of this exceptional group of musicians. If you are already a Dappled Grays fan I hope you enjoy this long-awaited project. If you are a new Dappled Grays listener I know you will soon become a fan.

Happy Listening!

Andy Carlson
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Music
Denison University


Reviews


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barbara culberson

wonderful bluegrass music
I look forward to hearing more music from you guys as you an excellent up and rising bluegrass band. Wish you much success

Jeffrey Morton

Solid Original Music
These guys & gal are super solid. I've been just amazed by their lyrical quality, sweet harmonies and their original sound that still manages to carry that classic feel of bluegrass music. I became aware of the Dappled Grays at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta back in 2000 and have always been highly impressed with their releases but especially their stage presence. You KNOW they're have a good time and that really makes them a joy to watch.

Pete Goodall

Top Ten for 2007!
This recording will be on my Top Ten bluegrass recordings list for 2007!

Mark Sanderson

Excellent.
Really good CD. Great musicians and vocals.

Matt

Great!
Excellent CD - every track is a gem!

Joe Ross

Contemporary bluegrass w/ multi-hued markings & mottled patterns from other genr
Playing Time – 37:15 -- Their moniker is a fitting one. The Dappled Grays present contemporary bluegrass music with multi-hued markings and mottled patterns from other genres such as jazz and swing. Based in Atlanta, it’s interesting to track the evolution of this group since their formation in 1999 by Michael Smith (mandolin) and Casey Cook (guitar). Their debut release (“In the Gait”) established them as a “progressive, polished, passionate group” that emphasizes instrumental prowess and strong songwriting. Revitalized after taking a break in 2005, the rest of the quintet now includes Leah Calvert (fiddle), Greg Earnest (banjo), and Keith Morris (bass). Lead vocals are sung by Calvert and Smith. Their material is still largely original, and their driving bluegrass opener “The Night Life” exclaims their understanding of the genre and how to drive with foot on the pedal and hand on the wheel. “In Full Stride” is an optimistic statement about risk-taking that provides perceptive insight into their music. “Too hard to breathe just toeing the line, Step outside into a ray of sunshine…” can be viewed an analogy to their musical creativity and innovation. During the set, five numbers are drawn from the pens of songwriters Malcomb Holcombe, Steven Heller, Gillian Welch or Jonathan Byrd to supplement their own original repertoire. Their arrangement of the traditional “Red Rocking Chair” is dappled with spots of solo banjo, evocative vocals, instrumental harmonies, jazzy chordal progressions and breaks. I would’ve been disappointed if this band hadn’t given us a swingy offering like their strong original closer, “Gonna Put You in My Pocket.” And the song includes yet another sweet little analogy that could also describe their finely implemented eclectic music – “snuggly you will fit on my tailored hip.” That’s how their music hit me, a reviewer who enjoys hearing bands forming their own unique and personalized sound.

Each musician brings some strong experience to the cohesive unit. Smith, for example, did a stint with the country group Sugarland. Cook, an instructor in the bluegrass music program at Ohio’s Denison University, is featured in the winter 2007 issue of Flatpicking magazine. Atlanta native Calvert grew up in a musical family and draws comparisons to Alison Krauss. Well-known in Atlanta’s bluegrass music scene, Earnest’s banjo instruction tapes are available at Banjo.com. Studying classical bass playing, Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Georgia in 1992. He’s performed with Claire Lynch and Alison Krauss.

The Dappled Grays clearly have the skills and aptitude to play many genres of music. They’ve chosen bluegrass instrumentation as their exhilarating foundation, but their creative repertoire and arrangements also reward us with poignant vocals and splendid songcrafting. Overall, “Doin’ My Job” is an excellent production that very nicely showcases their many strengths. I look forward to hearing much more from this band as they continue to build their signature sounds …. and legion of fans. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

L. BAnach


Absolutely, love it. Beautiful vocals and quality music.

Matt Junkin

what a joy!!
I found TDG's by way of SIRIUS Bluegrass playing In Full Stride. What an incredible set of tunes. The musicianship is superb. Beautiful harmonies. I'm doing my best to make Minnesota Dappled Gray's country. Thank you.

James

Very Nice
I took my wife to her first BG festival where we heard the Dappled Grays for the first time. As we left the festival she asked me to go and get their CD.
Thanks Dappled Grays for helping my wife learn to appreciate BG music.

Libby

Best Dappled Grays album ever!
Casey and Michael, you guys get better every time I hear you! I love the album and I love what Leah has brought to the group!!!!
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