CMH RECORDS (County. Music. Heritage.) maintains a rich history of classic country and bluegrass albums and is honoring several of these legacy releases by remastering them and making them available in digital format for the first time ever. Revived from the CMH archives, the classic Heights of Grass album Encore! is out today (9/8) on all digital and streaming platforms. Produced by bluegrass legend Sonny Osborne, the album offers a rootsy twang and undeniable warmth, while living up to the production standards and innovative arrangements of its time.
Listen to Heights of Grass album Encore! now available on all digital platforms.
Formed in 1976 by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Don Grubb, Heights of Grass made a name for themselves performing a classic yet forward-thinking take on the timeless bluegrass format. Each of the group’s handful of albums displays expert technique, thoughtful arranging, and a healthy dose of thinking outside the box. This excellent LP, first recorded and released by CMH in 1980, is no exception.
Encore! features the band--Don Grubb (guitar), Richard Ward (banjo), Vernon Hughes (mandolin), Sonny Mead (fiddle), Billy Lux (bass) and Joe Breeding (lead guitar)--blazing through 11 carefully selected standards, hidden gems and outright jams. Fans of the timeless sound of the Osborne Brothers, Lester Flatt and Don Reno will find plenty to love here with fast picking, smooth singing and songs galore. From the album’s first few moments, however, it’s clear these musicians have gone above and beyond any typical revivalist fare. Throughout Encore!, Heights of Grass demonstrate a clear passion, ingenuity and creativity in their work.
In his original liner notes for the album, producer Sonny Osborne summed up the group succinctly: “they work very hard and they are doing a lot of things right.” Give this album one listen and you may be inclined to agree.
Founded in 1975 by Martin Haerle, CMH Records has released albums from artists whose monumental influence on American roots music is unparalleled. The ‘70s and ‘80s represent the foundational recordings in CMH Records’ bluegrass, old time and traditional country history, with material being put out by Merle Travis, The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman, Joe Maphis, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt and Eddie Adcock. Throughout the ‘90s and into the new millennium, CMH Records continued to cut records with artists such as Wanda Jackson (aka “The Queen of Rockabilly”), Raul Malo, Larry Cordle, Pine Mountain Railroad, Jimmy Gaudreau, and many others. Producing songs rich in American heritage by artists with their own distinct style created a strong backbone and history for the label.
The label remains a proud family business, now run by Martin’s son David. Described by the Los Angeles Times as a “stubborn, curious Silver Lake music company,” the label has been a strong proponent for honest music and has found success with its classic catalogue and its ongoing “Pickin’ On” series, which features bluegrass interpretations of contemporary artists, including recent hit albums dedicated to the music of Nirvana and Modest Mouse. The Times piece added that CMH “meets unsung needs in the music industry” and cited its “creative diversification.”
Track List for Heights of Grass’ Encore!:
All I Ever Loved Was You
Miles and Miles of Texas
Bile 'Em Cabbage Down
You Made It Right
Right or Wrong
Thank God I'm a Country Boy
Loving You So Long Now
Carry Me Back to Old Virginny