Blueground Undergrass “Faces” (2006)

An abstract flower painting with the title Blueground Undergrass FACES

Revisit this great studio album from Blueground Undergrass. Featuring several tracks written by Brefmint.

This was the first time in my musical career where I was a part of a record project that was actually funded outside of the band. I had been in studios before this but they were either home studios or self-funded situations where we tracked everything live as quickly as possible. Faces was a different type of project altogether. First off, there was a record company involved. Landslide Records (producer of the early records of Col. Bruce Hampton and early Derek Trucks records) had agreed to take on this project. We essentially built a studio in Jeff Mosier’s basement for the project to make sure everything was natural and comfortable. Halfway through the project, we switched engineers and moved to Chase Park studios in Athens to work with the great Ben Holst. Ben brought so much life to the project and helped us find our sound. This is where I got to work with Jimmy Herring on my song “Our Feet” and Jeff’s tune “Old Love, Old Tune”. That was a dream come true for me. Col. Bruce also joined us on pedal steel. I can still remember laying on Mosier’s sofa and listening to Bruce play the most outlandish sounds for hours just so he could get “the perfect 10 seconds”. It was wild. Bass duties were split between Francisco Fattaruso. Neal Fountain and my best bud Steve Abercrombie. The record was vastly different from BGUG records of the past. It was less about bluegrass and jam and more about life-affirming songs. Jeff put a lot of faith in my songs and that helped build my confidence as a songwriter. I am very grateful for this opportunity. Review by Matt Brockett (circa 2006)

Blueground Undergrass is back and as infectious as ever on Faces, a solid collection of originals and soulful covers. The opening ‘Faces’ is a classic catchy original from the Reverend Jeff Mosier, featuring his trademark impeccable vocal timing, while David Blackmon’s impressive fiddle work lays down the bluegrass foundation. Guy Clark’s ‘Dublin Blues,’ the first of four cover songs on Faces is the quintessential country-western ‘good love gone bad’ story. The bouncy ‘In This Life’ and surprising jazz-funk of ‘Our Feet’ are the work of the group’s other main songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Matthew Williams.
As if the vocal harmonies, bass work, and banjo pickin’ on “Clock Goes On” weren’t praiseworthy enough, the song proves once again that crafting upbeat, honest, emotional tunes is what Blueground Undergrass does best. The optimistic Williams composition, “Like Discovering The Ocean” is followed by the warm and traditional sounding “Renee,” and then comes the beautifully textured “Potter’s Wheel.” The dark ambience it creates feels almost Civil War-era, and it’s unique sound helps add even more depth to the diverse BGUG catalog.
Ralph Stanley’s “Clinch Mountain Backstep” gets a modern treatment with some electric guitar and crazy bass work. At first the effort proves exactly why electric guitar isn’t normally played with bluegrass tunes, but eventually it clicks and the earlier awkward efforts soon become forgivable. For “Ole Love Ole Tune,” an uplifting spaced-out journey, Mosier invites along his friends and former Aquarium Rescue Unit bandmates, Col. Bruce Hampton on pedal steel, and Jimmy Herring on guitar, as well as Gary “El Buho” Gazaway on trumpet. El Buho then lends his horn to the closing “Black Muddy River,” giving an interesting, somber twist to BGUG’s take on the Grateful Dead staple.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. LBC Presents – Dysfunktion Junktion: The Grateful Ned Years (2000) – Brefrow Archive

Leave a Reply