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Eddy Raven with Carolina Road

All Grassed Up – 2017 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Devin Adams

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CDs by Eddy Raven with Carolina Road

Eddy Raven has been around long enough to know how to write a solid tune and make a good record. Raven has penned hits for years and not just for himself. Though typically staying in the realm of country, Raven couldn't resist the temptation of working with Carolina Road in the world of bluegrass. Together, Raven and Carolina Road got "All Grassed Up" for a truly memorable project.

Often times when a country star takes a stab at bluegrass, two things are likely to happen. First, the project simply becomes reworked versions of prior hits, and secondly, those hits just do not work. "All Grassed Up" does not have that problem. Yes, many of Raven's hits do indeed show up on the project, but they work. In fact, they work very well, and in no small part to Carolina Road's credit. The country songs sound organically bluegrass. Tunes like "I Got Mexico" and "Bayou Boys," both number one country hits for Raven in the '80s, are 'grassed up so well it is difficult to believe they were not always that way.

"All Grassed Up" is more than a collection of old country tunes. Two new songs, "I Should Have Called," as well as the title track, written specifically for the project, prove Raven is still mighty with a pen.

Carolina Road shines with fantastic instrumentation and vocal harmonies from Lorraine Jordan and Josh Goforth, who along with Raven produced. Banjo work from Ben Greene is stellar while fills, breaks and leads by the rest of the band are masterfully crafted.

"All Grassed Up" for the most part is a collection of old things made new again. Carolina Road successfully knocked the dust off of a few songs Raven had laying around, and together, they brought new life to them. Not every pairing between a country hit maker and a bluegrass band mixes well, but for Eddy Raven and Carolina Road the result couldn't be better blended.