June 2007

The Dappled Grays - Doin’ My Job
Band Ranch Records – DG52542
Format: CD
Released: 2007

by David J. Cantor

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

"Indies" don’t always get big studio bang for their buck, but Doin’ My Job by The Dappled Grays is a very crisply recorded CD. Quality counts with 30 or so strings to deal with -- banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass. Four of the five players of this Atlanta-based bluegrass phenomenon sing really nice ‘grass leads and harmonies. And all five play well.

Everything you could want in a bluegrass band, right? Well, material matters, too, and the songs, about half of them originals, have the engaging ring of mattering to the musicians, and the topics vary nicely. I appreciate "Young Slaver" by Jonathan Byrd, a dialog between a woman and her beloved. He seeks to earn her hand "with promotion and bravery" though she warns him, "Your soul is in jeopardy." Later he feels participating makes him unworthy of the love he wanted. The traditional "Red Rocking Chair" is also very moving.

I wish "Thank the lord for my job" in the title song’s refrain were tongue in cheek -- jobs resulting, as they say, from a few people’s power to keep everyone else from meeting their needs. But who am I to ruin someone’s fun if they find being "up on a roof, down in a ditch, workin’ in a plant …" similar to Jesus on Calvary because both are just doing their jobs? All this underscores the fact that there are certainly worse ways to spend one's time than listening to music played and sung this well.