Written by Eddie Ferranti
Getting together face to face these days with friends is becoming a fast approaching memory. The age of texting and social media has replaced the
truest form of communication. Thank God that music still drives us to actually make physical contact with some very nice people in life. It had
been since Folk Alliance 2016 in Kansas City since we ran down Nashville bud Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys. Plus it had been three years since we
visited the cool confines of the refurbished Dosey Doe Big Barn in The Woodlands, Texas. On one special evening both came together for a rockin’
good night of live music!
Chuck has been busy as musical director of the smash Broadway hit “Million Dollar Quartet “, which earned him some very nice credibility besides being
the co-founder of the famed ’90s Alternative Country quintet, BR-549. Mead was out pushing his second release on Nashville independent label Plowboy
Records called “Close to Home”. It is 11 tracks that were cut at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, and was
produced by acclaimed Memphis recording engineer Matt Ross-Spang. The tunes off of this fine album played very well at this acoustically sweet venue and
he played many of them. To say Mead has a stage presence is putting it mildly. He may look like a country music singer, but he owns a rock and
roll heart who knows how to lead his Grassy Knoll Boys , who are a fine tuned machine backing him up. Mark Miller on antimated bass, steady Marty
Lynds on drums, and smoking from start to finish Carco Clave on mandolin/pedal steel did themselves proud.
If you have never seen Chuck on stage before you would be impressed by his no nonsense machine gun style of one killer tune after another delivery.
Two songs in Mead and Clave were trading red hot licks and had this party started. The songs rolled nicely like a new country drinking song, “Tap
Into Your Misery”, stellar “My Baby’s Holding It Down” which is parts ballad and drawn out rocker live, and a classic George Jones foot stomper called I
think “Dadgomet” which saw Mead ripping classic riffs and stalking the stage. Classic pure honky-tonk title cut “Close to Home” was followed by a
country Jimmy Buffett type tune, “I’m Not The Man For The Job”, complete with sweet pedal steel from Clave. Mead shows his tongue-in-cheek humor on
“Daddy Worked The Pole”, a song about the singer’s dad who climbed a telephone pole so his mama did not need to do exotic pole dancing….until
they switched supporting one another. Ha!
Studs like this do not come around often and it is so satisfying to get a gig that combines swampy blues, rock, and of course rockabilly. Mead sent
one out to all the heathens in the crowd called “The Devil By Their Side”, and then told a tale about him playing Tootsies way back when in Nashville
getting “rich” playing Hank Williams’ tunes at $25 a pop! The fast and furious show steamrolled to conclusion with “Girl On A Billboard”, turbo
charged back beat on “Big Bear In The Sky”, and a balls-to-the-wall rocker tribute to the King of Rock and Roll “The Man Who Shook The World” !! Mead
was looking snazzy in his white cowboy hat and black and white country outfit that barely looked soiled after expending a lot of energy leaving it
all on the Dosey Doe stage.
This album is easily in our top 5 for 2019. Pick it up and judge for yourself. This twangy cool cat pays homage to legends of country’s past while expanding boundaries all his own.
Love this dude!
As far as the Dosey Doe, the big barn took on a new look which added more than 120 seats plus more balcony room. Very nice setting indeed. They are
booked well into 2020 already so they are doing something right fore sure……..
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Houston Music Review