Grizzly Goat, a staple bluegrass/folk band in Provo, recently released their new album Burning The Prairie. Recorded in a cabin in Duck Creek, UT and mastered at Cold House Studio, the album shamelessly echoes the ideal that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” while still taking an evolutionary step forward for the band with better production, more complex composition, and a deeper sense of Grizzly Goat identity than any of their past studio efforts. Indeed, these guys feel like they’re comfortably growing into their own skin.
Compositionally this album is an absolute pleasure to listen to . Granted this assumes an appreciation for the banjo. To say this album has “a whole lotta banjo” would be an understatement.
“Higher Ground” in particular tastefully weaves piano and organ into the classic Grizzly Goat sound, providing just the right amount of seasoning to really bring the tune into its own.
“Haven” utilizes a string ensemble to create a truly beautiful sound, one that excellently portrays the song’s inherent emotional message. “Carolina,” sung by Alex Vincent, uniquely uses a classic honky tonk piano and a shuffling drumkit to compliment. Throughout the album it’s clear that Grizzly Goat has grown in compositional complexity.
Lyrically the band doesn’t shy away from discussing current issues. “Gentle, Wild Spaces,” and “Burning the Prairie” are all aimed at bringing to light the environmental issues we face in this day and age, while “Haven” solemnly echoes words from the bible to encourage others to open their hearts to refugees. The cherry on top might be “Gambel’s Oak,” a tune that bombastically portrays their views of our dear POTUS as they describe this “real cocky man with real tiny hands” who’s been “cahootin’ with Putin.”
Frontman and songwriter Nate Waggoner has always been genuine in his songwriting, and his work on Burning the Prairie is no exception. With strong production and thought-provoking lyrics, this album is precisely the front porch bluegrassy folk we’ve grown to love and expect from Grizzly Goat.