Tallgrass brings their stomp to Cedar Rapids!
Review and Photo by Charles “Rain” Black
Jamming on the River is the second concert of the Music on the River series which takes place once a month at the McGrath Amphitheater in Cedar Rapids. One Saturday, June 14, the audience was treated to near perfect weather while listening to the Southern Rock flavored sounds of Iowa City's (recently relocated to Fort Collins, CO) Tallgrass. Consisting of Adam Morford on drums, Austin Morford on bass/guitar/vocals and Matt Skinner on guitar/bass/harmonica/vocals, the trio offered a solid set of original songs that ran a gamut of influences including rock, blues, country, bluegrass, folk, and even a few world music genres.
If that sounds like a wide variety of influences, it is. It's hard to pin down their sound based on just a couple of songs, because the guys present a wide range of styles, even within the same song. For the most part, Tallgrass has a sound that could be categorized as progressive southern rock, but placing them in that niche would sell them short. Perhaps it's because they are a bit sly in how they sneak in musical elements not normally found in blues/rock trios. During a song that seems like a straight ahead blues/rock number Adam may throw in a polyrhythm that compliments a jazz sounding bass line by Austin. Matt might sneak in a Reggae sounding guitar riff during a folksy sounding tune. Throughout all their songs, tight vocals present evocative lyrics that lift some otherwise standard sounding songs above the norm.
All in all it's a subtle blend of styles that sets Tallgrass apart from being pigeonholed as just another country rock/blues band. It's always great to see “local” talent prove their originality and level of skill the way the guys of Tallgrass did Saturday evening.