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Jason Davis

Steppin' Out – 2008 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Jason Davis

For a guy as young as he is, twenty-ish banjo picker Jason Davis has compiled a pretty impressive list of A-list bands he's played with - Michelle Nixon's band Drive and the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, not to mention his current gig with Grasstowne. Having grown up in an era where there were a lot more top-level banjo talents to listen to (both live and on record), he seems to have a knack for synthesizing a wide variety of influences into a style with good drive and a set of licks that seem to be his own or at least not directly derived from the Scruggs/Reno/Crowe canon.

For whatever reason, bluegrass banjo pickers tend not to be vocalists, and Davis fits into this mold - this solo debut does not find him trying to sing and pick at the same time. Wisely though, he also steers away from making it a purely instrumental showcase for his own talents.

Five of the 12 tracks feature lead vocals from the likes of Junior Sisk, Russell Moore (longtime lead singer for IIIrd Tyme Out) and current Grasstowne bandmate Steve Gulley. Whether vocal or purely instrumental, it's all nicely balanced and arranged and should appeal to folks who want all-around solid bluegrass as well as banjo fanatics looking for tasty pickin'.