As their records prove, The Grascals’ rare musical empathy gives them an unerring ear for just the right touch to illuminate each offering’s deepest spirit – whether they’re digging into one of their original songs or reworking a bluegrass classic or a pop standard.
Vocally, Terry Eldredge, Jamie Johnson and Terry Smith are tighter than ever, cutting loose on driving solo vocals and soaring trios with equal fire and passion. As an instrumental unit, The Grascals have never sounded sharper, with mandolin ace Danny Roberts, fiddler Jeremy Abshire and banjo player Kristin Scott Benson leading the charge. As a result, their cutting-edge modern bluegrass is delivered with a deep knowledge of, and admiration for, the work of the music’s founding fathers. Timely yet timeless, The Grascals make music that is entirely relevant to the here and now, yet immersed in traditional values of soul and musicianship. It’s a unique sound that has earned two of their previous releases (The Grascals, 2005 and Long List of Heartaches, 2006) Grammy nominations for Best Bluegrass Album.
The group’s 2011 CD The Grascals & Friends was a special project produced in conjunction with (and sold only in) Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. The disc features The Grascals in duet format with friends including Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley, Joe Nichols, Charlie Daniels, Tom T. Hall, The Oak Ridge Boys and Darryl Worley. “I Am Strong,” a song that appears in both duet and “cast version” formats on the disc, features the touching vocals of three-year-old cancer patient Ansley McLaurin. The “cast” version features not only special guests Terri Clark, Randy Owen and Steven Seagal, but most of The Grascals’ aforementioned duet partners as well. The song, written by The Grascals’ own Jamie Johnson (along with wife, Susanne Mumpower-Johnson and friend, Jenee Fleenor) was inspired by a visit Johnson, Smith and Eldredge made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. As Johnson recalls, one child had written on a “thought wall” the words: “I Am Strong,” and the song was born. A portion of the funds raised by “I Am Strong” will be donated to St. Jude.