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Vanguard: Hal Cragin- Wet Grassy Ground
By Gary Schwind

I have to begin by saying that this is not what I expected from the bassist who has played with Iggy Pop and They Might Be Giants.  I don’t want that to taint my review in any way.  I was just surprised to find this sort of album from a guy with that pedigree.

Wet Grassy Ground is a very mellow jazzy, groovy sort of album with an undersea theme running throughout it.  It reminds me a lot of Air but there’s also something in this album that is reminiscent of Morphine.  I wouldn’t say Cragin sounds like Morphine but he has that same sort of subdued jazzy mood in his music.

Except for the acoustic guitar on “Doesn’t Matter Much,” Cragin plays all the instruments on this album.  And he plays all of them ably.  I can’t really say that any of the instrumentation is lacking.  

In addition to being a rare artist that can play every instrument on an album, Cragin does something else unusual on this album.  There are five songs (six if you count “Jacques Cousteau”) that have a French title.  This is where the aforementioned undersea theme comes in.  Each French title, I’m assured by my wife (who is French) represents some kind of sea creature like a mussel (“Moule”) or an eel (“Anguille”).   To be honest, the undersea theme really matches the mood of the album.  You don’t so much listen to this album as float through it.  If you like Air, you’ll probably enjoy this album.  Also, if you’re looking for an album for those nights when you just want to sit back and chill, this would be a pretty good choice.

CD Info 

Hal Cragin- Wet Grassy Ground
1. Cabillaud
2. Jacques Cousteau
3. The Wet Grassy ground
4. Never Too Late
5. Blink Of An Eye
6. Rouget
7. But Not today
8. Love Letter
9. Moule
10. Anguille
11. Avenue A
12. Doesn't Matter Much
13. Hands Free
14. Petoncle
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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