Daniel Grindstaff “Three Arrows”

While there’s no denying the wealth of the instrumentation that Daniel Grindstaff presents in his new single “Three Arrows” collectively, if there’s one element worth singling out in a breakdown of this track, it’s likely the sterling banjo parts. If you’re as much a fan of indie music as I am, you’re already aware of the general void that has been left by an absence of organic string play in recent years – a void that Grindstaff seems intent on filling with as much of a multilayered melodicism as his strings can muster in “Three Arrows.” His is a valiant effort for sure, and through the bucolic setting and crispness of the output here, we’re able to appreciate what the guitars offer us in this track wholly and completely.

As much as I want to applaud the quality of the tonality that all of the different instruments bring to the table in this performance – especially the guitars – I don’t know that we would be able to enjoy any of it were this master mix not produced with the kind of attention to detail that is normally reserved only for classical releases. Nothing is getting past Grindstaff’s careful eyes and ears in “Three Arrows;” he’s got too much love for the intricacies that a lot of his rivals would just as soon ignore entirely when making their own music this spring, and it’s for this reason that I think his content is sounding as sharp and relatable on every level as it is in this specific single.

Although there’s no arguing against the polished tone of the melodic instrumentation in “Three Arrows,” what the groove itself is underwriting on the backend might be just as significant despite the grittiness of its contribution. The percussive arm of this mix is lending a tremendous amount of countrified edginess to the song as a whole, and while I’m not saying that they’re the sole reason why this juggernaut carries the textural expressiveness that it does, I don’t know that you can discount their presence, nor the contrast it creates in general when analyzing the ins and outs of this single. Grindstaff is a man leaving nothing to chance here, and as a critic, I can’t help but feel intrigued by the concept behind what he’s trying to deliver.

This is some incredible listening if you love a little bit of bluegrass and boldly instrumental country music mixed into one excellent blended cocktail, and while intoxicating to the ears on the strength of its surface-level aesthetics alone, the substance of the arrangement and the aesthetical narrative it forms is undisputedly just as bewitching. If you haven’t heard this player’s music before now, I recommend giving “Three Arrows” a listen the next time you’re browsing for something fresh and pastoral on the left side of the dial – if you’re able to dig the meticulous and the melodic in Americana, it’s going to be exactly what you need this May as the summer reaches out to us from just around the corner.

Chadwick Easton


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