Black Music Matters Festival

The Grascals

Dance 'Til Your Stockings Are Hot and Ravelin' – 2011 (BluGrascal Records/Saguaro Road)

Reviewed by John Walker

The Grascals have been known for two things within the bluegrass genre, good music and being media savvy. Their new release, "Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot & Ravelin': A Tribute to the Music of The Andy Griffith Show," combines these two categories with mixed results. Supported by their sponsor Mayberry's Finest Brand Foods, the CD features songs known from the TV show, plus the sponsor theme song written by The Grascals.

This 7 song/15 minute CD can best be summed up this way: it fits well into your IPod Shuffle. Taken by themselves, these songs sound like very good musicians going through the motions hoping to fulfill an obligation. Take these same songs and mix in some of The Grascals other energetic music, and they instantly become more enjoyable and tolerable.

Opening the CD is perhaps the best song Dooley. As always, The Grascals instrumentals and harmonies are very good. Kristin Scott Benson on banjo is highlighted extremely well throughout the CD. From here the music begins a slow descent into dull. One may think with the fun classic Stay All Night The Grascals may stretch their legs and run with it, but they went through the motions without anything special.

While the harmonies remain tight throughout, especially on the religious number Leaning On The Everlasting Arms, the vocal passion never seems to show up, creating a dull sensation while listening to each song.

So take this CD and throw it into your IPod shuffle and enjoy it, recalling the times when you heard these songs on the TV show, but The Grascals can definitely do much better.