Mandolinist David Grisman has had a long career that has spanned many different genres from jazz to jam-rock, but even he acknowledges in the liner notes to this new album that, "Bluegrass has always been my first big musical thrill." Grisman has played with some giants of the genre like Tony Rice and Vassar Clements in formats that stretched the definition of bluegrass, but this is about as traditional-sounding as bluegrass gets.
The songs are a mixture of traditional fare and classics from the Carters, Stanleys, Flatt & Scruggs and Jimmy Martin. There's also a Grisman instrumental and a version of "Old and in the Way," the title tune from his landmark bluegrass album with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
No matter what Grisman plays, whether it's old-fashioned bluegrass like this or eclectic acoustic jazz with the David Grisman Quintet (who also just released a new disc, "Dawg's Groove"), his love and reverence for the music come through clearly.