One of the first things one notices when popping this Acoustic Disc album into the CD changer is the clean, natural production. A mandolin on the right track, another on the left, and a guitar in the center, all lovingly mixed for clarity and a solid acoustic sound. This same careful approach is obvious from the opening notes of the first piece, "Hartford's Real," on Hold On, We're Strummin'
's mandolins tease out a minute-and-a-half intro, each note coming forth bright and clean, before guitarist Jack Lawrence and bassist Jim Kerwin
join in. This love of a resonant, full-bodied acoustic sound extends to the quality and diversity of the instruments both players choose. On "Swamp Thing," Bush
utilizes a National mandolin and Grisman
a mandocello; on "Old Time Medley," Bush
plays fiddle and Grisman
banjo. Of course, the fresh sound and eclecticism would matter little without inspiration, so luckily both pickers seem in their element on Hold On, We're Strummin'
. There are fun, free-flowing pieces like "Sea Breeze" and lovely, relaxed ones like "Jamgrass 741," both filled with smooth instrumental interchanges and quiet energy. Several pieces are bolstered by slightly larger arrangements, adding a guitarist and/or bassist for a bigger sound and variety. With inspired performances, a number of original compositions, and an exquisite acoustic sound, Grisman
have created a fine album suitable for new acoustic fans and anyone with discerning taste.