Not many bands can say they have created a musical genre however; hillbilly rockers Hayseed Dixie are one of the rare few who can say they have as the band are acknowledged as the creators of ‘Rockgrass’. For those of you who have no idea what Rockgrass is it is a musical genre that combines both Bluegrass and Rock music together, hence the name Rockgrass. Since their forming back in 2000 Hayseed Dixie have accomplished quite a lot considering that they come from an area (Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee) which was completely isolated from outside cultural and musical influence. In this time they have released a staggering 15 albums which consist of both original material and covers and have sold over 500,000 copies. They have also performed over 1000 live shows in 31 different countries, quite incredible for a bunch of boys from the fertile valley of Deer Lick Holler.
Moving on to their latest release Hair Down To My Grass, the Rockgrass creators have opted for an album consisting of all covers. This time round Hayseed Dixie are exploring the inspired catalogue of rock music from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The album opens with a catchy cover of the 1981 hit Don’t Stop Believing by American rockers Journey and whilst it does sound quite similar to the original their unique approach and different style of instruments make for an enjoyable listen.
Hayseed Dixie have chosen some big tracks to cover for this album and to be honest it doesn’t always pay off which brings me to their flat and predictable versions of The Final Countdown and Eye Of The Tiger. Both of these covers just feel like watered down acoustic versions with no real flare and whilst I do enjoy the violin in The Final Countdown its not enough to make the track stand out. Now I know this album is filled with covers that are completely left field instrument wise to the originals so it is expected to hear light hearted acoustic versions. However; We’re Not Gonna Take It is a song about power and taking a stand against authority, pure in your face rebellion. So making a cover that does not show any of that in my opinion defeats the whole purpose of the song, another cover I think could have been done better.
There’s not much I can say that I really like about this album however; I will admit that I enjoyed listening to the use of the violin on a number of tracks especially in Dude Looks Like A Lady and Summer Of 69. The fact that there is no use of percussion whatsoever makes for an interesting listen but its the use of instruments like the violin and the banjo that give these covers something to talk about.
For some this album will be an enjoyable listen, a record you can put on and have a little fun with however; for others like myself it will be a cringe worthy affair.