Best Folk Artist - 2008
The Grass Pack
Of all the terrors to chill the blood of a bluegrass band, being called "folk" ranks right up there with accordions and requests for "that O Brother, Where Art Thou? song." And so the Grass Pack is only folk in the loosest though not emptiest sense of the word. Composed of wily veterans and energetic youths, and including five able singers, the combo is furthering the oral and aural traditions that bluegrass has always relied on. The sextet's bluegrass is classic and hardcore, with tight and precise arrangements in the spirit of Jimmy Martin or Flatt and Scruggs, combining standard country workouts like "Sugarfoot Rag," traditionals like "Red Wing" and soulful covers of more contemporary numbers like "No Expectations"(this last sung by fiddler Colleen Heine as if it were a Smoky Mountain blues from the pen of Dolly Parton rather than a decadent hunk of ore from the mine of Jagger and Richards. When the band bobs and weaves around a single microphone at a pub or festival, bluegrass and non-bluegrass folk alike know they're hearing the real deal.