Home Grown 9 CD

By offering a great variety of moods and musical styles, HG9 is a lengthy, stylish compilation.
HG9, the latest Home Grown Music Network sampler, presents an excellent assortment of tunes from bands that have recently signed on with the Home Grown Music Network. In the ninth release from this series, Executive Producer Lee Crumpton and Producer Chris Robie have compiled a lengthy assortment of songs, varied in mood and texture. In an effort to spotlight recent bands that have joined the Home Grown Music Network, Producer Chris Robie "cherry picked" many of these band's most iconic songs for inclusion on the compilation. The Home Grown Music Network prides itself on distributing music from "all the best genres," and the tracks included on this release provide solid evidence for that. With reggae, electronic, bluegrass, rock, and blues all occupying various niches in the current jam scene, the release of Home Grown 9 offers new topics of conversation for all of those genres.

The compilation's 16 tracks offer nice introductions to these newer Home Grown bands. Ila Mawana and Steppin Razor offer a nice sample of reggae with their confident versions of "Frankly" and "Human." Future Rock and Jeff Bujak, respectively, provide a vibrant mix of electronic, "late night" jams in their songs "Pedal Metal" and "Mutator." Connoisseurs of "roots rock" will enjoy the dulcet voices presented by Three Legged Fox in "Slow Down," or might be drawn to Cope's excellent rendition of "Babylon Man." The Skys deliver an intriguing slice of dreamy, electronic-tinged pop with "Bad Guys," while Lubriphonic dishes out an enthusiastic dose of funk with "Mixin' in the Kitchen."

Steez's playful musical interchanges and lengthy, majestic jams form the foundation for "Scoring Position," while The Hue seems derived from a similar spirit as they display a blend of metal and jazz fusion in "Igneous Pillow." Bearquarium, with their sexy, smoky version of "Slave Runner" offers a distinctive blend of rock and blues for their track. The Max Allen Band contributes "Me My Mo Ho" for the recording, while Fiction20Down is represented by the likable, effusive "Top -n- Tails." The album also features energetic tracks from Superfrog, U-Melt, and Saltwater Grass, who offer funk, progressive jam, and combinations of blues, funk, and reggae respectively.

The overall collection of tunes for the compilation is well delivered and well-executed. The composition of the tracks keeps the listener on their toes, as reggae tracks are followed by "jamtronica" only to be concluded in the realm of jam and "funk." Chris Robie does an excellent job at picking the selections for this release, and arranges them in a way that is challenging and interesting. These factors, when coupled with the diverse material from which the sampler was drawn from, make HG9 the most interesting and substantive Home Grown Sampler to date.

- by J. Evan Wade