Grassmasters | Cash Grass

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Bill Monroe David Grisman Johnny Cash

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Country: Bluegrass Country: Traditional Country Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Cash Grass

by Grassmasters

Johnny Cash\'s musical roots are every bit the roots of modern (post 1940), country music itself,and as country music formed from folk, gospel and bluegrass, so did the \"Man In Black\".
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  song title
artist name
1. Folsom Prison Blues
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2:36 album only
2. The Rebel - Johnny Yuma
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1:55 album only
3. Don\'t Take Your Guns To Town
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2:15 album only
4. Girl From the North Country
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3:23 album only
5. I\'m Gonna Sit On My Porch & Pick My Guitar
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2:58 album only
6. Bull Rider
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3:19 album only
7. I Walk the Line
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2:35 album only
8. Ghost Riders In the Sky
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3:49 album only
9. Streets of Laredo
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3:15 album only
10. There You Go
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2:22 album only
11. Ring of Fire
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2:38 album only
12. Hey Porter
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2:15 album only
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Album Notes
Bluegrass music with its characteristic fusion of country, acoustic instruments and high energy, has wound its way through contemporary Rock, Jazz, R&B and Gospel. This series is designed to come full circle. Following the folk process and its evolution, we return to the roots of those influences and pay tribute to one of the most heartfelt and free form styles of American musical expression. This hand-picked group of extraordinary players has professional ties with Bill Monroe, Ricky Scaggs, The Everly Brothers, Leon Russell, and many others including regular appearances on the Grand Ol\' Opry stage. These interpretations bring home the essence of what makes music in life such a gratifying experience. This compilation moves through and pays tribute to the extensive career of Johnny Cash, from his earliest rockabilly single \"Hey Porter\" up through his more recent recordings. Featuring Larry Ryan, Daniel O\'Lannerghty, Vic Jordan, Tammy Rogers, Tommy White, Jeff Taylor, Hoot Hester, Bill Hullett, Fred Newell, Kenny Sears, & and others, with special vocal appearances by Margie Cates & Her Boys.


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Joe Ross

One of the 15-album grassmasters series
I've heard better versions than the instrumental arrangements of Cash's songs like "Ring of Fire." What an ambitious project from a new kid on the bluegrass block, two-year-old Synergy Entertainment in New York! The Grass Series boasts a total collection of 15 albums that tapped professional Nashville-based artists to cover music from other genres. Produced by Donald Marrow, their intent is to present rock, pop, gospel and kid’s music in an acoustic bluegrass format. I recommend starting with the “Best ‘uv Grass” 14-song sampler (just over 40 minutes) that has hand-picked favorite tracks from each album in the collection.

The “Grassmasters” hired for the session work have some impressive talent. There are also a few pickers who could’ve been more proficient in the bluegrass idiom. Tommy White (Dobro) is a master musician who appears on all 15 albums. On a majority are Billy Hullett (guitars), Tammy Rogers (fiddle, mandolin), Hoot Hester (fiddle, mandolin), Fred Newell (mandolin), Vic Jordan (banjo), Daniel O’Lannerghty or Charlie Chadwick (bass). Andrea Zonn fiddles on a third of them, and she provides some short-lived smooth vocalizing on two albums. Where there are multiple players of the same instrument or various vocalists, liner notes don’t clearly indicate who is on what cut. Every once in awhile, the moon and stars align and a few special renditions jump out at you. More often, however, the goal of producing a large volume of material in a short period of time seems to have led to problematic issues with arrangement, instrumentation, or presentation. Occasionally sounding contrived and formulaic, the music loses some of its bluegrass spirit, energy and passion.

The earlier releases (StonesGrass, BeatlesGrass, EaglesGrass and FleetwoodGrass) have no vocals. These four (as well as AeroGrass) also include Bob Mater’s drums. He’s steady, but bluegrass aficionados may want this primarily instrumental music without percussion and just let the mandolin chop the backbeat. BeatlesGrass could’ve used some stronger banjo work. Interestingly, liner notes don’t provide a credit for the banjo in the mix of the DeadGrass project. Most likely Vic Jordan, he must’ve been forgotten that day.

With the exception of the 15-song KidsGrass and 14-song Best’uvGrass, the other CDs each offer twelve selections. The albums range from a low of 28 minutes (ElvisGrass) to nearly 49 minutes (EaglesGrass). While the former includes some refrains courtesy of The Jordanaires, song arrangements are short and typically only about two minutes apiece. The latter has a number of 4- and 5-minute renditions of Eagles tunes, but there are no vocals. Where’s the happy medium that provides for thoughtful, creative arrangements with both instrumental and vocal prowess? With their slogan of “Please Keep on the Grass,” this series is worth checking out if you’re in search of passable instrumental bluegrass covers of the material. If you’re into karaoke, it’s fun to sing with bluegrass accompaniment. I commend Synergy Entertainment for realizing the market potential associated with bluegrass musicians tapping material from other genres. We can expect better and better music from them as they work out a few bugs, establish their reputation, and develop stronger credibility. (Joe Ross)