A fresh tropical breeze weaves its way through Dave Grant‘s Bubbalon By Bass, from opening Appalachian standard "Red Rockin’ Chair" to the closing "dubmix" of the Monroe Brothers’ "Rosa Lee McFall."
|Take a listen to "Red Rockin’ Chair" from Dave Grant‘s Bubbalon By Bass:
A wealth of local musicians (Dave Matthews, Robert Jospé, Peter Rowan, Terri Allard, the list goes on…) take on the melodies, but Grant’s bouncing bass and dynamic orchestration shine through as the center of energy. Though he tragically died in 2002 before the latter half of the songs where finished, Grant’s presence on Bubbalon is not at all lost, thanks both to his vibrant musical aura and the careful completion of the project by studio companion Bobby Read.
Beyond enticing many local musicians to step into the studio with him, Grant also displays a broad musical vision on Bubbalon. He tackles soul numbers like Gregory Isaacs’ "Give A Hand," Americana tunes like "Rosa Lee McFall" and the farther-reaching sounds of Marley and the African kora, lacing them all with laid-back, syncopated rhythms to make the record a logical, cohesive package.
|Take a listen to "Armagideon Time" from Dave Grant‘s Bubbalon By Bass:
In addition to broad taste, Grant, along with Read, doesn’t shy from experimenting and reinventing. "Willie The Pimp" transforms Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart’s nine-minute freakout into a shorter, lighter, but no less interesting jam. Tim Anderson’s phased-out vocals warble in and out while a banjo is run through a wah pedal, and Grant and Spencer Lathrop provide a backing atmosphere of power tools and trash cans. On Willie Williams’ "Armagideon Time" (popularized by The Clash), bagpipes, accordion and the oboe-like bombarde find an unlikely but comfortable home amid the springy reggae beat. "Mamma Boulet," which Matthews sings, begins with peculiar shifting strings and studio tweaks before blossoming into the song proper.
Everyone wants to leave an imprint on the world, and Dave Grant has clearly done so, even without the release of Bubbalon By Bass. Accounts compiled by his wife, Darlene Crawford, in the album’s liner notes and accompanying website, bubbalonbybass.com, reveal that he had a profound effect on his fellow musicians. Bubbalon, however, makes Grant’s infectious musical persona available to all, whether or not you had the chance to jam with him. All you have to do is slip in the disc and press play.