David Grier’s father Lamar played banjo with the Bluegrass Boys in the mid-’60s alongside the legendary Bill Monroe. But Grier doesn’t make a big deal about growing up surrounded by bluegrass gods.
“It’s just like growing up with an old man who’s a mechanic and knowing about tools and what they do,” Grier says. “It’s the same thing really, [only] I was around musical instruments.”
The guitarist – performing Saturday night at the Pacific Grove Arts Center – says one thing he remembers about being around Monroe was his charisma.
“I first met him when I was 4 but I could tell by the way everyone treated him that he was special,” Grier says.
Though his name isn’t as well-known as Monroe’s, Grier has more than proved himself as a standout bluegrass musician over the years: He’s been awarded “Guitar Player of The Year” three times by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has contributed to four Grammy Award-winning albums, including Alison Brown’s Fairweather and True Life Blues: A Tribute to Bill Monroe.
On Grier’s latest solo studio album Evocative – featuring killer guest spots from folks like Béla Fleck and the Flecktones’ phenom bassist Victor Wooten and Punch Brothers’ banjoist Noam Pikelny – he offers up an all-instrumental, guitar-centric crockpot of musical genres.
The melancholy “Road to Hope” is a folky soundscape of Tony Rice-inspired bluegrass fueled by Grier’s crisp fingerpicking. The uppity fiddle-flavored “Four Dogs Jogging” would provide the ideal soundtrack to a down-home, Nashville barn dance.
Local guitarist Bill Ingram and the gypsy-jazz, funk, folk, Celtic explosion Microtonic Harmonic – fronted by the hardest working musician in Monterey, David Holodiloff – kick off a night of bluegrass and… new friendships.
“Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends,” Monroe once said, “than any music in the world.”
EVENING OF BLUEGRASS rolls 7-9pm Saturday, June 30, Pacific Grove Art Center, 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. $20. 855-237-3362. www.ticketderby.com.