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From left to right, Aaron McDaris, Danny Roberts, Terry Eldredge, Terry Smith, Jamie Johnson, Jimmy Mattingly.
|Genres||bluegrass, southern gospel|
|Years active||2004 to present|
|Labels||Rounder Records, Cracker Barrel, Saguaro Road Records, Mountain Home Music Company|
Kristin Scott Benson
|Past members||Dave Talbot
The Grascals is a six-piece bluegrass band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 2004, the band has since gained a level of notability by playing on the Grand Ole Opry and in bluegrass festivals around the country.
In 2005 the band won the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the Year Award, as well as the Song of the Year award for "Me and John and Paul". In 2006 and 2007, they won the IBMA Entertainer of the Year.
The Grascals have released two albums, both on Rounder Records. The first eponymous debut featured guest vocals from Dolly Parton on Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas". Their 2006 album, Long List of Heartaches, features artists such as Steve Wariner, George Jones, The Jordanaires, and Dierks Bentley. Their third album, Keep on Walkin', came out July 15, 2008.
- 1 Members
- 2 History
- 3 2011
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Terry was born on April 18, 1963 in Terre Haute, Indiana to Bud and Maryjane Eldredge. He has one sister Sheri, and two brothers, Grady and Payton. He is also a distant cousin of pop-country singer Brett Eldredge.
At about the same time, he and other young Nashville band members created the Sidemen, playing the Station Inn regularly on Tuesday nights. Terry took up the bass once again when he joined Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time in the late 1990s. This earned him a nomination in 2003 for Bass Player of the Year.
Eldredge also performed as a member of the Blue-niques with Dolly Parton. Terry recorded two solo albums for Pinecastle Records, as well as albums with the Osborne Brothers, Cordle, Parton, and the Sidemen. 1
Terry was in a car accident in 2001 that broke his ribs, shattered his left leg, ruptured his spleen, punctured his lung, and cracked a vertebra in his neck.
Jamie Johnson was born 16 June 1972, he helped found the group, the Wildwood Valley Boys in the early 90s. In the mid-90s, he joined another band, called the Boys From Indiana, where he sang tenor. He decided to rejoin the Wildwood Valley Boys. He made his recording debut in 2000 with the Wildwood Valley Boys' I'm a Believer
He began to find success in songwriting, when he co-wrote the title cut of Bobby Osborne's of Where I Come From in 2002. Of course, he also began to find success as a singer. In 2001, he joined Terry Eldrege in the Sidemen, and made his Opry debut with Gail Davis. Terry and Jamie soon found that they had a vocal blend which matched perfectly for bluegrass. 1 In April 2015, it was reported that Founding member Jamie Johnson left The Grascals, and was replaced by young North Carolina vocalist/guitarist John Bryan. He’s been playing and singing bluegrass since he was a teen, with a deep, family connection to the music. John’s grandfather, Willard Watson, was a first cousin to Doc, and a fine old time musician and dancer in his own right. Bryan was formerly with Larry Efaw and The Bluegrass Mountaineers.
Danny Roberts first started to play guitar to back up Jimmy Mattingly when they were growing up in Leitchfield, Kentucky. He began to win contests for his guitar playing, and eventually, mandolin. In 1982, he co-founded the New Tradition, bluegrass/gospel group that toured the country for close to 20 years. The band recorded 10 CDs, made "Seed of Love", the first bluegrass video to feature the banjo, and even reached number one on the TNN channel. The band broke up in 2000, but Danny still had a hand with musicians, playing with Marty Raybon, Larry Cordle, and Melonie Cannon. He also joined Ronnie Reno's band, the Reno Tradition. He then joined the Grascals, where he was reunited with Jimmy Mattingly. 1
Terry Smith born [June 15, 1960], Reidsville, NC. He moved to Nashville in his early teens, where he began in a family band with his mother (Hazel Smith)father Patrick Smith and brother, Billy Smith. Terry has even played with such legends as Jimmy Martin, Wilma Lee Cooper, and the Osborne Brothers.
Terry and his brother, Billy, recorded an album for CBS, which a number one video on CMT. This was followed by the 1992's Grass Section, and tributes to Bill Monroe and the Grateful Dead (Long Live the Dead) in 1996. In 1999, the brothers released Voices of the Mountains. After touring with Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snyder, Terry joined the Grascals.1
Kristin Scott Benson
Kristin Scott Benson grew up in South Carolina in a musical family. She was a member of the Larry Stephenson Band for seven years before replacing Aaron McDaris in the Grascals in late 2008. She won the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009. She and Ronnie Stewart tied for IBMA Banjo Player of the year in 2011. She is the SPBGMA Banjo Player of the year for 2011.
The Grascals are very pleased to announce the addition of fiddler Adam Haynes to the band. Adam has an impressive pedigree having played with some of the finest: Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, The James King Band, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Dailey & Vincent, Larry Stephenson Band, and most recently Grasstowne. Adam is originally from Norwalk, OH but spent quite some time in Eastern Kentucky where his family has roots as deep as bluegrass. Adam currently makes his home in Portland, TN with his wife, Janette, and two daughters, Bella (8) and Ellie (3). The Grascals are happy to have Adam in the band and look forward to their fans and friends being able to hear him play. Adam replaced Jeremy Abshire in 2013.
The Grascals were first made up of the four founding members, Terry Eldredge, Jamie Johnson, Jimmy Mattingly, and Dave Talbot. These four then asked Terry Smith and Danny Roberts to join the band. They played one of their first shows at the Station Inn that summer with special guest Bobby Osborne. An interesting fact to mention is that the band believed that this wouldn't really go anywhere, almost as a side job to add a little money for their families.
The Dolly Parton era
In summer 2004, it became clear that Dolly Parton began to show interest in wanting to play with the Grascals. The Grascals soon became Dolly's opening act, as well as her band. Performing at Dollywood and eventually, the Grand Ole Opry, the band quickly became one of the up-and-coming bluegrass bands of the year.
By the end of the year, the band and Dolly began to play a cover version of Elvis's song, "Viva Las Vegas". However, by the end of 2004, Dolly announced to the Grascals that at the beginning of the 2005 year she would have to let them go. The Gracals performed at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival in 2005.
The first album
The Grascals began recording their first album in early 2005, which would simply be a self-titled album. On this album, it featured such songs as "Me and John and Paul", "Where Corn Don't Grow", and the popular cover song, "Viva Las Vegas", which featured Dolly Parton. During the course of the 2005 year, the Grascals appeared numerous times on television spots on the Opry, usually with Dolly Parton. The first album made it on to the Billboard charts, as well as many country and bluegrass charts. Also on the album covers, Dolly is quoted saying, "One of the greatest albums I've ever heard." One other big moment while the album was coming out, is the company Vietti began to put the Grascals picture on some of the Vietti chili cans.
IBMA 2005 and the music video
The IBMA Awards took place in October 2005. During this awards, the Grascals won two awards. The first, Song of the Year, was won for the song, "Me and John and Paul", written by Harley Allen. The second award, Emerging Artist of the Year, was thought to either have been won by the Grascals, or rival bluegrass band Cherryholmes. The Grascals did win this award, while Cherryholmes went on to win Entertainer of the Year. The Grascals were also nominated for Best Album of the Year, but did not win. In summer of 2005, Rounder began to talk with the Grascals about making a music video for the song "Me and John and Paul". The video was released in early 2006 and was on circulation on the GAC channel. Late in the 2005 year as well, Dolly Parton asked the Grascals to open dates for her by the end of the year.
Long List of Heartaches
At the SPGMA Awards in February 2006, the Grascals won four of seven awards. Also, the Grascals were nominated for a Grammy, but did not win. In early 2006, recording began for the Grascals second album, Long List of Heartaches. The album featured many guests: George Jones, The Jordanaires, Steve Wariner, and Dierks Bentley. As a treat for letting certain guests on this album, Dierks Bentley asked the Grascals to be a guest on his 2006 release, Long Trip Alone. The album came out a couple months before the 2006 IBMA Awards, but, because of the time of coming out, was not able to qualify, however, they did qualify for the 2007 Grammy and the 2007 IBMA Awards.
For the 2006 IBMA Awards, the Grascals were nominated for two awards, Best Vocal Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. The Grascals lost Vocal group to Doyle Lawson. However, right after their performance, the Grascals were awarded Entertainer of the Year by Vince Gill. Immediately following them getting the award, Sirius Satellite Radio got an interview, which went on the bluegrass station. Soon after the IBMA Awards, the Grascals got to go to Japan for a bluegrass festival.
A line-up change
Throughout 2006 and even into 2007, Dolly Parton had been using Dave Talbot and Jimmy Mattingly, not only to open shows, but to play in her band. In late 2006, Talbott was told by the Grascals that he had to choose between them or Dolly. Dave left the Grascals by the end of the year. Mattingly however chose to remain.
Almost right after Dave left, the Grascals began to search for a new banjo player. Before the 2007 year even began, the Grascals recruited Aaron McDaris as the new banjo player.
Aaron McDaris learned much of the Grascals material quickly as the band began to play across the country. Once again, they were nominated for a Grammy, but Ricky Skaggs won the award instead.
At the 2007 SPGMA Awards, the Grascals managed to win two awards; Instrumental Group of the Year, and Bluegrass Artist of the Year. During the summer of 2007, the Grascals became sponsored by Mayberry's Finest, a food company. In August, the Grascals would have a permanent bus with their name on it. The Grascals made a jingle, very similar to the Andy Griffith theme song, and can be heard on the Mayberry's finest website. 
The IBMA Awards were held October 4, 2007, at the Grand Ole Opry. The Grascals were up for two nominations: Gospel Song of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. They lost Gospel Song to Doyle Lawson but won the Entertainer of the Year honor, winning it two years in a row. Sonny Osborne presented the award to the Grascals.
Keep on Walkin'
The Grascals went into the studio to record their third album which has been called Keep on Walkin'. It will be released July 15, 2008. The album is different from the previous one since instead of having many guests as with Long List of Heartaches, only one guest will be featured, (Vince Gill). While recording Keep on Walkin', fiddle player Jimmy Mattingly left the band and returned to playing in the Garth Brooks band, as well as other session work. He was replaced by Jeremy Abshire. Again, because of timing, this album will not qualify for the 2008 IBMA Awards but will qualify for the 2009 Awards.
Latter Half of 2008
Following the release of their third album, the Grascals became faced with a couple new problems. At IBMA 2008, they were nominated for two awards but did not take home either. Soon afterwards, it was announced that Aaron McDaris would leave the Grascals to join Rhonda Vincent beginning in January 2009. Kristin Scott Benson is the replacement in the banjo position following the departure of McDaris.
The Grascals entertained at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Awards event in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2011.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|US Grass||US Country||US||US Heat||US Indie|
|Long List of Heartaches||
|Keep on Walkin'||
|The Famous Lefty Flynn's||
|Country Classics with a Bluegrass Spin||
|Dance Til Your Stockings Are Hot and Ravelin'||
|Life Finds a Way||
|When I Get My Pay||
|And Then There's This...||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2006||"Me and John and Paul"||Lark Watts|
|2010||"Last Train to Clarksville"||Marcel Chagnon|
|2011||"I Am Strong" (with Dolly Parton)||David Corlew|
|2013||"American Pickers" (with Dierks Bentley)||Zack Wilson|
- Index of IBMA award recipients
- Bush, John. "Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "About Brett Eldredge". Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival", Strings, newsletter of the Pineridge Bluegrass Folklore Society, October 2005
- Grant, Haydee, "A First Hand Report on this year's S. P. B. G. M. A. Awards", Strings, newsletter of the Pineridge Bluegrass Folklore Society, March 2011
- The Grascals, official website
- Mayberry's Finest, official website
- The Grascals, "The Famous Lefty Flynn's" by Billboard