The New Times - Seattle WA April 1997 Reviewed by David A. Young
Although this Seattle quintet formed and began performing publicly four years ago, this is their first full-length CD release as a group. They have appeared on other compilations, however, and front person Evan Hazen Kimble has a prior solo CD to his credit (1994's well-received Wind Comes Down).
In waiting this long to represent themselves in recorded form, they have taken care to craft an impressive and well-balanced program. The deceptively simple-sounding, always uplifting (all-acoustic) music is augmented by beautifully harmonized and performed vocals, and both the instrumentation and the singing succeed in supporting and enhancing the lyrics.
After laboring last month to explain what might be meant by the phrase "new flamenco," I found myself constantly returning to the phrase "new folk" when thinking about how to describe Grasshopper's music. While some of the vocal arrangements (but not the voices themselves) brought back my early love of Peter, Paul and Mary, it's hard to think of any valid comparisons -- and that in itself is a recommendation. (They themselves describe their style as "acoustidelic groove," in case that helps you any.)
I have a special preference for this as "morning music," as it is sensitive and restrained as well as fully alive and aware. The subject matter is much deeper and more spiritually based than, and the poetry lacks the off-putting artiness of, what context now forces me to refer to as "old folk."
The fact that the passion here is focused and understated not only adds to the irresistibility of the listening experience, it makes me want to see what these five can do live. While I'm waiting for their next gig, though, I'll keep enjoying the CD. Won't you join me?
David A. Young The New Times Seattle WA April 1997
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