Tallgrass: Soul, Well-Stomped in Dirt
If you want to cover all four bases of Americana and country music subject matter, it's hard to do better than Tallgrass's debut album "God, Sin, Whiskey, and Women."
The trio calls their genre "dirt-stomping soul," and Music Marauders critic Nicholas Stock says it's an apt pick: "I would add that they are an utterly rare intermingling of folk, gospel, indie, bluegrass, and more," Stock writes. "To say that they are an original musical undertaking would be quite the understatement. Tallgrass is eloquent, almost poetically jazzy, in their delivery of said ‘dirt.’”
The trio hails from DesMoines and met up at college in Iowa City but moved to Colorado a couple of years ago. They played together in two other bands before creating the current incarnation of Tallgrass, and word got out fast about the special sound. They've shared stages with everyone from Melissa Etheridge to White Buffalo to Barack Obama.
Their third album is now in the works. "We're really proud of what we've done on this project," says bassist/guitarist,vocalist Austin Morford: "We've all had to expand our skills as musicians to get it done. Adam (Morford, keys/drums/vocal), in particular, learned how to play the keys in the last few years, and has played everything from grand piano to organ to clavinet on this album. We've grown as a band quite a bit over the last three years, and it's been really fun challenging ourselves to make something new. These songs mean a lot to us as well. Life can be tough sometimes and this album is about trying to find your way through it all. If you can laugh at the end then you've done something right."
Rounding out the trio is the multi-talented Matt Skinner who commands not only guitar and banjo but bass, harmonica, and vocals as well.
Occasionally, critics refer to Tallgrass' music as "eclectic." If that's the case, Matt has probably the best 116-word metaphor for eclectic you're apt to find in these parts:
"If someone wants to see our show for the first time, they should ask themselves if they like a Capella dubstep with Hungarian folk music rhythms. If they do, they're weird, and they might like us--even though that has nothing to do with our sound... We would at least like them, as they share our love of combining strange things. Like spaghetti and custard. And bad jokes. In reality, it's tough to talk nice about yourself without feeling weird, but we want folks to know that we throw down our hearts at every show, our songs mean a lot to us and we do our best to get real emotions in people's ears and feet."