Don’t say they didn’t warn you…The Facebook page for Graber Gryass lists the band as “Hard-hitting, joy-inducing original music and earth-bound bluegrass, acoustic psychedelic music from Memphis, TN. A collective joy-making machine. Astral yet rooted to the magnetic core.”
After giving a listen to the group’s debut album, Late Bloom, it’s as good a descriptor as any, because it’s hard to find the words to describe it, although “enjoyable” fits.
The band is fronted by Michael Graber, who played in many outfits before striking out on his own. Graber wrote all the songs on the disc except “Marijuana,” which he co-wrote with Brian Collins. Part of the fun of the album is the turns it takes crossing various genres, but the fifth cut, “Wind That Shakes the Cotton,” is full blown bluegrass. “When the Water’s This Low” is reminiscent of those class country talking-story songs, this one about a deadly encounter with a cottonmouth. The title track is an explorative instrumental, while “Marijuana” offers a cross between old country, swing and a shade of Buffet-esque lyrics with some Old Crow Medicine Show cutting up.
Counting Graber, there are 16 musicians contributing to the CD, offering talents on the traditional bluegrass instruments, but also on bouzouki, erhu, dulcimer and jug. The last track, “Oaks & Pines” will make the listener want to roll through again. While certainly nowhere near traditional bluegrass, Late Bloom is full of surprises and foot-tapping. It might leave you asking what genre it exactly fits into, but the joy in the making surely conveys to the listener.