Published Sep 25, 2016A long-standing member of Montreal's diverse music scene, Joe Grass has played in everything from experimental and jazz groups to the city's best known bluegrass band, Notre Dame de Grass. His solo material, and this latest album, veers off in yet another direction — or rather, directions — combining folk-heavy songwriting with unique instrumental arrangements.
A master of finger-picked, slide, and pedal steel guitar, Grass sings with one of those soft voices that blend seamlessly into the surrounding music. His contemplative songwriting style sometimes produces quiet, tender soundscapes, like "Val D'Or," far and away the best track on the album. But it also wears a mean and moody swagger on tracks like the drum-heavy "Shake," and even borders on the orchestral in the floaty "Disappear," the tightly arranged "Hovercraft" and the percussive, Tom Waits-esque "Oar."
With Phil Melanson (drums) and Josh Zubot (violin), Grass performs these artful songs beautifully, and Jason Sharp's bass saxophone gives the album's lower register extra punch. It's been a long wait for a Joe Grass solo offering, but The Rest Will Disappear doesn't disappoint. (Second Best Records)