Friday, May 2, 2014

Prescription Bluegrass CD Review: MohaviSoul - Blue Diesel

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  -  CD REVIEWI have often daydreamed about how great it would be to live in a town or part of the country where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a fiddle, banjo or mandolin player.

I know these places exist and it's not just Nashville, Tennessee. Some parts of the country produce pickers like Hawaii does pineapples. I admit that most of these coveted communities are located on the eastern half of the continent. Places where the problem isn't finding a jam, it's deciding which one to go to, and then you walk there.

As we pan left towards the west coast our perspective broadens. Instead of figuring out which pickers in town best fit your style, the further west you go, the more likely you are to find yourself figuring out how to simply explain Bluegrass music.

The woes don't stop there. If you are lucky enough to find somebody that wants to play as bad as you do and speaks your musical lingo, chances are are they live a tankful of gas away. There are tens of dollars to be made in this business.

The California group “MohaviSoul” seems to be dealing deftly with this challenge. Some of the band lives in the San Diego / Los Angeles “area.” Bass player Orion Boucher is from Bishop, California, 300 miles to the northeast. As spread out as southern / central / coastal / inland California is, MohaviSoul has stuck to their guns, even at $4.50 per gallon. (banjo player Jason Weiss is originally from London, England, I wonder what kind of mileage he gets.) That said, they have been playing gigs, recording original songs and selling CDs since 2012. What more could a part time band ask? Isn't that worth the drive?

“MohaviSoul” consists of Mark Miller-guitar, Randy Hanson-mandolin, Orion Boucher-upright bass, Jason Weiss-banjo and Dan Sankey-fiddle. All band members pitch in on vocals with the exception of guest fiddle player John Mailander.

There are only 6 cuts on this their second CD. ( I always wondered why they were called “compact I know) “MohaviSoul” exhibits some noteworthy songwriting by both Mark Miller and Randy Hanson who are responsible for all six cuts. “MohaviSoul” cites an arm's length list of musical influences. Gypsy to Folk and Trampled by Turtles to New Grass Revival. Come to think of it, Mark Miller's voice does remind of a 70's Sam Bush. To be clear “MohaviSoul” doesn't try to pretend it's strictly a Bluegrass band. It's probably better for all concerned that they don't.

As I said, the songwriting, along with some well thought out arrangements, are admirable, and though the CD carries some energy with it's live, in studio style of recording, there is a definite, low key, jam band feel to their sound. That is not necessarily a negative. I think they are getting the sound they want even though I listen to cuts such as “Blue Diesel” and “Silver” and hear what could be hard driving , up tempo Bluegrass songs just waiting to be unleashed. But I have to admit that with their laid back, soulful style, “MohaviSoul” achieves a certain identifiable likeability that is hard to find. I hope they stick with it, even at $5 per gallon.

Fans can see “MohaviSoul” perform live on stage Sunday, May 4th at The Ramona Bluegrass Festival near San Diego, California.


Reviewed for Prescription Bluegrass by: Marty Warburton

Cedar City, Utah

Artist : MohaviSoul

Label : Mannequin Variety Records / San Diego, CA

Release Date : December 2103

Project : Blue Diesel

Producer : Jake Skolnick

Recorded at : Mannequin Variety Records / San Diego, CA


  1. I've heard this CD, and I couldn't agree more Marty! That old word from long ago, FUNKY, comes to mind with these guys. Good job...

  2. These guys all live in San Diego so don't worry too much about the gas prices Marty...They are really something special playing live, so get out to the left coast and turn south for a little soul food for your ears and stay tuned for more!!


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