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BEFORE BREAKFAST finds the award-winning group at a career high point vocally and musically, and the record’s energy is palpable. A more relaxed pre-production approach led to “easy” song choices. The band chases demons, finds salvation and dances their way through what will surely become essential listening for lovers of the Bluegrass art form.
This is the second album for this configuration of The Grascals. The current group features founders Terry Eldredge (lead vocals, guitar), Terry Smith (lead vocals, bass) and Danny Roberts (mandolin), plus longtime banjo ace Kristin Scott Benson, fiddler Adam Haynes and John Bryan (lead vocals/guitar). As Smith notes, the group continues to evolve organically. “We’re even breathing together vocally,” he explains. “The Osborne Brothers always said that when you get to that point, it was right – and they were on to something.” This cohesiveness allows the band to navigate the diverse material, which ranges from traditional to contemporary Bluegrass, and includes Inspirational tunes as well.
The album kicks off with “Sleepin’ With The Reaper,” which Benson calls “a departure for the group but a good fit nonetheless.” John Bryan’s haunting vocal brings a sense of menace and urgency to the song, which sets the stage for the next dynamic track. Vocalist Terry Eldredge believes the best songs are about life and truth, and that lyrically, there is nothing but the truth in “Demons.” El’s vocal versatility is obvious on “Clear Corn Liquor,” a steamin’ hot, fiddle-filled ode that he delivers with sass. “Delia features John on a band first,” says Danny Roberts. “His clawhammer banjo is unique for us and gives a great old-timey sound to the song.” Terry Smith is in fine form on the melancholy, universally-themed ballad “Lonesome,” which he co-wrote with his brother Billy. John brings glorious gratitude to the Gospel jewel, “I’ve Been Redeemed.”