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Here But Not At Home Vol.1

If old-time fiddlin’ is your thing, then look no further – introducing Chesterfield’s answer to Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Grassoline, rounding up the first of three teaser EPs to quench the thirst of all the rooting, tooting bluegrass lovers out there.

This may well be music notably linked to Texas plains and Wild West soundtracks, but lest we forget its roots are astonishingly close to home. It was the emigrants of these lush isles who took the original fiddle ballads to the regions of Appalachia which later advanced into the bluegrass tradition.

This quartet aren’t your archetypal country band. They blend the subtleties of folk with elements of American roots to create something wholesome, rather like a hot soup on a cold winter’s day. All is well, but behind all this charm lies hidden tenderness. Take ‘Waltzing Alone’, for example – a song of a poor jilted soul, yet Grassoline manage to keep you uplifted, with the fiddle and harmonica elegantly taking the melody and the rest of the instruments picking up the accompaniment.

‘To A Blind Man’ and ‘October Old’ are further evidence of the sheer instrumental dexterity these musicians possess and the not-so-bittersweet narrative these songs represent. My esteemed favourite is opener ‘Antelope Wells’.

This music is genuine. These are four normal people with an exquisite talent who unpretentiously love making music. Accessible? Definitely. Successful? Possibly. But the most refreshing thing about Grassoline is this: it’s one thing composing beats on a laptop, but it’s a whole other kettle of fish picking up an instrument and playing it capably. Thankfully this is something that hasn’t changed from the 18th century all the way to the present day.