Serious Old-Timey Fun

On The Short Rows (Independent)
The Kickin Grass Band

By Bob Mitchell

The Kicking Grass Band has some serious fun on their sophomore release, so if you like music with an old-time sound, you will love Short Rows. Band members include Lynda Wittig Dawson on guitar, harmony and lead vocal of five tracks; Ben Walters on banjo and harmony vocals; Patrick Walsh on upright bass, harmony vocals, lead vocal the title track and first-rate covers for "Dear Sarah," and "Rock Island Line"; Matt Hooper on fiddle and vocals; Jamie Dawson on mandolin, harmony vocals and lead vocal on his original "Fairest Rose," and Adam Lane's "Hello It's Me." Guesting on this project are Rick Keen (The Churchmen) on Dobro and Cousin Gil McNeill on clawhammer banjo. Keen's contribution is especially enjoyable on "Cloverleaf," and McNeill's work is exemplary on "When My Days Are Full of Sorrow."

The band explores a wide range of original songs from Jamie Dawson's toe-tapping "Cloverleaf," to Lynda Dawson's sensitive ballad "Ain't Got Nothin'" and her clever title track, to Matt Hopper's high energy "Pot Liquor."

In fact, nine of the thirteen tracks are original and each one is commendable. Lynda penned six songs including "Change Your Mind" and "Lay Down Your Weary Load" with a timely reminder to "get the weight off your shoulders." She exhibits a strong song writing talent as evidenced in another favorite, "Molly," which has the feel of an old English ballad.

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