RATING: 9/10 CHET BAKERS
The mark of great art is that it makes you think. It makes you step outside of what you normally view as your "zone" and forces you to re-examine that. This goes for all forms of art whether it's paintings, literature, film, music or whatever. True examples of artistic achievement in music seems to be few and far between these days, although admittedly that may depend on where you look. If you only look where you're used to looking, then perhaps you won't see all that you could. Experience all you could.
We have an idea in our head that we've allowed to work its way in that says "this is what I like. I don't like that, and nothing can really shake me of that". And when you do that you are inhibiting yourself. You are limiting the enjoyment that you can get, the wonderment that you can experience.
Gangstagrass is a shining example of that. Something that on it's face many people would reject it out of hand and dismiss it as something they can't get with. And that's a sad thing because it's really good.
|Gangstagrass + Kool Keith performing "Western"|
And I'm sure many people felt that way when they first heard the theme song that Gangstagrass did for FX's "Justified", for which they were nominated for an Emmy Award, called "Long Hard Times To Come".
When I was younger I felt like I could never enjoy country music. And then I heard some Johnny Cash and loved it, I heard some Christian Kane music and loved it, and the same went for when I first heard the theme music to Justified.
There are many things to like about this album, from Rench's picking and singing, to the outstanding lineup of guest emcees and bluegrass/country singers and of course the painting inspired cover to the album. One thing that stood out for me is that I had not heard of the vast majority of guest appearances on here.
A lot of cds have guest spots by the same old same old artists, but here you have several solid indie rappers such as R-SON, Nitty Scott MC, and Dolio The Sleuth, as well as hip hop veterans Kool Keith and Dead Prez, and a return of T.O.N.E-z who was a part of the last Gangstagrass album. It also features vocals from Americana/Country/Bluegrass singers Brandi Hart (The Dixie Bee-Liners), Jen Larson (Straight Drive) and Kamara Thomas (Earl Greyhound).
MORE AFTER THE BREAK