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The Grascals

Before Breakfast – 2017 (Mountain Home)

Reviewed by Devin Adams

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The Grascals woke up early, well "Before Breakfast" to serve up a generous 12-course meal of hearty bluegrass with a little bit of gospel mixed in for spice. The result is tasty, another recipe that shows why the band has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards.

New radio single "Sleeping With the Reaper" opens the release with a strong vocal performance from John Bryan. He handles nearly half of the lead vocal responsibilities including, "Delia" and gospel tune "I've Been Redeemed" as well as chipping in on guitar and banjo. Terry Eldredge, with his instantly identifiable voice, handles the additional bulk of the vocal workload on songs like the haunting "Demons" and what is probably the most obvious sing-along song to be found, the 90 proof "Clear Corn Liquor," although Harley Allen's "Beer Tree" may be just as appetizing. Terry Smith puts a cherry on top with his turn on "Lonesome," a sad tune he wrote with his brother Billy Smith. Bryan, Eldredge and Smith blend together beautifully on the classic, "Pathway of Teardrops" in a culmination of vocal flavors.

"Lynchburg Chicken Run," a tasty instrumental, gives Adam Haynes and Danny Roberts a chance to shine on fiddle and mandolin as Tony Creasman provides just a pinch of percussion, the perfect amount. Ever-talented Kristin Scott Benson proves over and over why she is a four-time Banjo Player of the Year award winner, especially on "Lost and Lonesome."

Much of what makes "Before Breakfast" so delectable is the execution by The Grascals' instrumentation, vocalization and execution. Combined that with songs written by the likes of Becky Buller, Bill Anderson, Harley Allen and Tim Stafford, the table is set perfectly for a meal that will keep listeners going back for seconds and even thirds.