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Jesse Brock

Kickin' Grass – 2002 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Jesse Brock

Great instrumentalists are the trademark of bluegrass music and some great ones are represented here. Jesse Brock's bandmate, Marshall Wilborn, Alan O'Bryant, Jim Hurst, and the list goes on. Brock is a fantastic mandolin player and represents himself well. It's primarily an instrumental CD, but Brock supplies lead vocals on a handful of cuts. While he's a passable vocalist, he's not a memorable one.

The band is at the top of their form on "Red Rooster" (though purists will cringe at the sound of the snare) and with the familiar sounds of "Home Sweet Home." Two of Brock's compositions are included (both written the same day, he says) and show his abilities as a composer. "Lil' Ben" has an old-time flavor but "Kickin' Grass" is just that: hard driving bluegrass. Those blistering songs, including the well known "New Camptown Races," showcase the band's ability.

If there's a downside, it's the lack of differentiation. It's all good bluegrass that fans will love, but there's no song that grabs you, rising above the rest to be remembered late at night when you try to sleep and can't stop humming it, though "Maury River Blues" comes very, very close.