Music Review: Grassmarket - You Are For The Ocean

Halifax's Grassmarket may get lumped into the bluegrass tag because there are banjos and harmonies and such at times, but in truth they don't settle down there, or anywhere else. There's just three members, but anything goes. Lead track Beach Week is an acoustic rock n' roll number about that ultimate holiday nightmare, a long-awaited trip to the ocean that sees nothing but rain, as our heroes spend the time trapped in the cottage with board games. I'm no Bill Monroe, but I'm quite sure this is not a common bluegrass theme.

Yes, they can pick when called upon, but the vibe I get is three friends (well, two are married, but that's REAL good friends) who want to sit, play, sing, whatever comes up. Sometimes it is locally-tinged folk, like Sable Island Pony, but that's followed with Rotor And Wing, a pastoral harmony-rich number, which could have been a CSN number if Graham Nash was a woman married to David Crosby. Don't think about that too long. These more contemplative numbers are the best ones here, because they usually have the trio featured in soft harmonies, and gentle acoustic backing. It's all trio playing as well, and since they don't add any members to the lineup for the more upbeat numbers, or do a lot of overdubs, the more lively numbers could use some more instruments.

The feeling is relaxed and pleasant throughout, with no pretense. It's fireside music; some traditional, some modern, all from the heart. If you're in the Halifax area, the group is launching You Are For The Ocean Saturday, Nov. 24th at The Company House. Matthew Hornell and Dark For Dark join the fun, so it will be a full night out.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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