The Vanguard and Brother's Houligan present
The Grascals - **CANCELED**
222 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK, 74103
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Great musicians will always find a way to make good music, but for great musicians to make great music, they must form a bond – one that, more often than not, goes beyond the purely musical to the personal. For The Grascals, that bond has been forged at the intersection of personal friendships, shared professional resumes and an appreciation for the innovative mingling of bluegrass and country music that has been a hallmark of the Nashville scene for more than forty years. As their releases 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 pop standard.
Vocally, the trio of 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 International Bluegrass Music Association's Best Bluegrass Album.
The Grascals are among the most beloved and acclaimed bands on today's bluegrass scene, having won SPBGMA's Bluegrass Band of the Year award in 2010, the International Bluegrass Music Association's Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2005 and earning its Entertainer of the Year honor in both 2006 and 2007.
For those who know them, the quick emergence of the group came as no surprise, for these are musicians whose roots and crossed paths reach back over more than two decades in bluegrass ensembles like the Osborne Brothers, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, the Sidemen and New Tradition. Their roots can also be traced back to Nashville's larger musical community, where The Grascals have been able to draw on legends like Bobby Osborne, George Jones, Vince Gill, The Jordanaires, Steve Wariner, Lloyd Green, Paul Craft and others for songs and for performances in the studio, on stage (including multiple guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry), and for national television appearances, including on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS's Early Show and Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends.
Thanks to those experiences and those friendships, The Grascals embody a profound grasp of and familiarity with country and bluegrass tradition that made them a natural choice for Dolly Parton to turn to for recording and tour support not long after the group was created in 2004. The group continues to push the envelope and, in 2010, The Grascals joined The Rowdy Friends Tour, traveling far and wide with Hank Williams, Jr., playing before huge crowds, expanding their fan base and exposing new audiences to the diverse and unique "BluGrascals" sound.
Terry Eldredge's soulful vocals and easygoing stage presence have earned him not only the loyalty of bluegrass fans and the appreciation of fellow bluegrass musicians, but the admiration of a stunningly wide variety of entertainers who have witnessed him fronting the Sidemen at Nashville's world-famous Station Inn. The Indiana native began his career with first-hand experience of the music of an earlier generation of country stars, playing bass with longtime Opry stars Lonzo and Oscar. He joined the Osborne Brothers in 1988, soon switching to guitar and adding a powerful lead and low tenor voice to the Brothers' legendary trios. Eldredge took up the bass again when he joined Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time at the end of the 1990s, earning a 2003 IBMA nomination for Bass Player of the Year and contributing mightily to the ensemble's success with dynamic tenor and lead vocals. During a hiatus from Lonesome Standard Time, he recorded and performed as a member of Dolly Parton's Blue-niques. In addition to two solo albums for Pinecastle Records and albums by the Osborne Brothers, Cordle, Parton and the Sidemen, Terry's recording credits include appearances on CDs by IBMA Hall of Honor members Benny Martin, Josh Graves and Chubby Wise, as well as country star Dierks Bentley.
Shared Indiana roots and a love for the Osborne Brothers' harmonies first sparked a friendship between Eldredge and Jamie Johnson, but when the latter moved to Nashville at the end of the 1990s, the two quickly discovered a vocal blend that rivals bluegrass' greatest sibling harmonies. Though he helped to found the Wildwood Valley Boys at the beginning of the decade, Jamie first drew attention to his soaring tenor voice as a member of the Boys From Indiana, with whom he performed in the mid-1990s. Stints with local bluegrass and country bands followed before he returned to the Wildwood Valley Boys, making his recording debut on their I'M A BELIEVER (2000). Following his move to Nashville, he began to find success as a songwriter – he
co-wrote the title cut of Bobby Osborne's WHERE I COME FROM (2002) – and as a singer, making his Opry debut as a member of Gail Davies' band, joining the Sidemen in 2001, and contributing leads and harmonies to BLUEGRASS - THE LITTLE GRASCALS: NASHVILLE'S SUPERPICKERS.
He has recorded with Dolly Parton (harmony vocals on 2005's Those Were The Days and Backwoods Barbie), alternative country singer Trent Summar (on the Davies-produced
Caught In The Webb), Ricky Van Shelton, hit songwriter Jerry Salley, and has enjoyed further songwriting success with cuts by The Grascals (including the title tracks to LONG LIST OF HEARTACHES, KEEP ON WALKIN' and THE FAMOUS LEFTY FLYNN'S), the Lonesome River Band and bluegrass-country singer/songwriter Ronnie Bowman.
Danny Roberts began playing guitar to back up his friend Jimmy Mattingly (founding member, The Grascals) when the two were growing up on adjacent farms in Leitchfield, KY. Soon he was winning contests on his own as a guitarist and, eventually, mandolin player. In 1982 he co-founded the New Tradition, a dynamic, ground-breaking bluegrass/gospel group that toured the country for close to 20 years (the last ten on a full-time basis), recorded ten CDs, made "Seed Of Love," the first bluegrass video to feature the banjo – it reached #1 on the TNN channel – appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and helped to bring the bluegrass sound and gospel message to a new generation of fans. When the group dissolved in 2000, Danny went to work for Gibson Musical Instruments, where he rose to the position of plant manager at the company's Original Acoustic Instruments luthiery. Still, he kept his hand in as a musician, giving workshops with mandolin colleagues like Sam Bush, Chris Thile and Bobby Osborne, making guest appearances with artists such as Marty Raybon, Larry Cordle and Melonie Cannon, and touring and recording with bluegrass/country veteran Ronnie Reno as a member of his band, the Reno Tradition, before reuniting with Mattingly in The Grascals in 2004. His solo recording, MANDOLIN ORCHARD, received extensive airplay and was touted by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Top 10 Bluegrass Releases of 2004. Roberts was also honored with the 2006 and 2008 SPBGMA Award for Mandolin Performer of the Year.
Another veteran of the Osborne Brothers' band, bassist Terry Smith grew up in North Carolina before moving to Nashville in his early teens. Beginning in a family band with his brother, Billy, and his parents (Hazel Smith, Terry's mom, is a songwriter and renowned country music journalist) he graduated swiftly to stints with bluegrass and country legends Jimmy Martin, Wilma Lee Cooper and the Osborne Brothers. He also found time to pursue a separate career with his brother, recording a 1990 album for CBS that generated an early #1 video on CMT, following it with 1992's GRASS SECTION disc (made with friends and colleagues like Ronnie McCoury and Glen Duncan) and a 1996 Bill Monroe Tribute that included some of the Father Of Bluegrass's last recorded appearances. In 1999, the Smith brothers issued VOICES OF THE MOUNTAIN, with original songs that found a place in the repertoire of bluegrass favorites like the Del McCoury Band and the Lonesome River Band. Terry has worked as a staff songwriter for EMI and Major Bob Music, and recorded with Marty Raybon, Vern Gosdin, IBMA Hall of Honor member Kenny Baker and more. After a long tour of duty with Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snider, Terry joined The Grascals in 2004.
Fiddler Jeremy Abshire burst onto the bluegrass scene as a member of Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap (winners of the 2006 SPBGMA International Bluegrass Band Championship), and came to The Grascals' attention as a member of IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley's band. His style is both fluid and hard driving, owing to the influences of Benny Martin, Scotty Stoneman, Chubby Wise, Bobby Hicks, Kenny Baker, and Stuart Duncan – whom Abshire cites as his favorite fiddle player. As for joining The Grascals, Abshire explains "It was an easy choice for me. I had been around the guys, and the personalities meshed really well. The thing that excited me the most was the fact that when I went out to play with them, they didn't want me to play like anyone else. They just said, 'Play what you feel,' and when I did, it brought everything together. I couldn't have picked a better group of guys to hang out with ... I'm out there having a blast!"
Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year (2008, 2009 & 2010), Kristin Scott Benson is the newest member of The Grascals. Raised in a musical family in South Carolina, she made her stage debut, on mandolin, at the age of five. Given a banjo as a Christmas present when she was 13, Kristin honed her skills through the rest of her teenage years. Since then, she has performed with many outstanding artists, including Laurie Lewis, Josh Williams, IIIrd Tyme Out, Jim Hurst, Roland White and Rhonda Vincent. Kristin was named SPBGMA's Banjo Performer of the Year award in 2009. Of her membership in The Grascals, she says, "I've been in the business long enough to realize how rare it is to be in such a successful band and I feel blessed that they offered me a chance to be a part of what they've already established." Kristin's solo CD, Second Season, is on the Pinecastle label.
Whether being light-hearted and jovial or soul-searching and reflective, The Grascals are at the very top of their game. Though it is still - at least in bluegrass terms - a new group, the web of friendships, band memberships, recordings and personal appearances that binds The Grascals together has produced an ensemble of unsurpassed cohesion and focused artistic direction. Whether in the studio or on stage, The Grascals honor the past and forge into the future, bringing fresh yet familiar sounds to the bluegrass world and beyond.
Jaida Dreyer didn't grow up intending to become a country music artist, but to hear the story of her crooked road to Nashville, it's clear she was meant to be here all along. Her unmistakable voice, bubbly personality, and eclectic, insightful songwriting scored her a publishing deal with Grammy Award-winning producer Byron Gallimore (Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sugarland) at the precocious age of 19; this February, Gallimore announced the creation of his own label, Streamsound Records, and threw his full support behind Dreyer's career. "I'm proud for her to be our flagship artist," says Gallimore. "She's the real deal. I couldn't feel stronger about anybody." Building on the success of Dreyer's spunky, self-reliant debut, "Guy's Girl," her second single, "Confessions," goes to radio this month.
Dreyer was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and raised in Latimer, Iowa, where the population sign still reads 303. "We didn't have a stoplight, we had one stop sign," she says. "Literally." Her dad worked the family grain elevator, and her mom was a horse trainer; naturally, young Jaida gravitated towards the latter. She was a "horse-crazy" little girl who grew up showing competitively and won her first of many world championships at 5, getting an early education in the sort of work ethic required to reach success. And although her family wasn't musical, per se, music was always a part of Dreyer's life. "Early as I can remember," she says, "from church to school honor choirs to singing along with the radio at three in the morning trying to stay awake on long-haul drives cross-country to horse shows, it was always just there."
She credits her eclectic taste in music to her mother, who introduced her to classic artists like Kitty Wells and Hank Williams, Sr., as well as then-current hitmakers like Tanya Tucker, Keith Whitley, and Patty Loveless. As a pre-teen, Dreyer also found herself drawn to a variety of singer-songwriters like Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, and Steve Earle. For her twelfth birthday, Dreyer's parents gave her a guitar. "It was the last birthday present they bought me together," she remembers. "I messed around on it a little bit. But my parents got divorced, and I grew to hate that guitar." The divorce also led to Dreyer putting on her "gypsy boots," as she calls them, as she and her mother set out across the country, moving wherever their equine work took them.
Before she turned 18, Dreyer had lived in seven states, including Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, with the bulk of her time spent between Texas and Georgia. During those gypsy years, Dreyer says, music remained a constant, and when she hit California, 14 year old Jaida finally found a reason to pick up her abandoned guitar: She and her mother were between jobs and briefly living out of their car when they were taken in by a rock band. "The lead singer taught me my first few chords on the guitar: C, D, and G," Dreyer says. "That's when I officially learned to play." She'd also been keeping a journal on the road, writing stories and poems about the "vast array of dysfunctional characters" she and her mother met on their journey. As she grew more comfortable on the guitar, Dreyer began crafting melodies, and upon settling in southern Georgia, she decided it was time to try the songwriting thing for real. A local singer-songwriter friend helped Dreyer record her first song, a one-take guitar vocal they recorded together.
No matter how crooked the road, fate has a funny way of pointing us in the direction we're supposed to go: Just as Dreyer began to take her music seriously, her career as a horse-show champion came to an end. At 17, at the top of her game, she was forced to retire by an injury that would only worsen by further submitting her body to the wear and tear involved in training horses. It was the biggest risk of her life. "The only other thing I knew how to do was write songs," Dreyer says. "I looked back at all the songs I had written on the road, and I didn't know if they were any good, or if anybody wanted to hear what I had to say. But I wasn't scared of moving, obviously. I decided to make a couple trips to Nashville and just check it out." Shortly thereafter, Dreyer's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which resulted in her decision to leave their horse-breeding business in Georgia. The two moved to Music City. Dreyer was 18.
"I originally had no aspirations to be an artist," says Dreyer. "Not because I didn't want to be, I was just a realist. I knew that I didn't sound like the female country singers I was hearing on the radio at the time, and I just figured my place was as a songwriter. I was okay with that. Little did I know that someday people would actually like my voice for the exact reasons that I thought they wouldn't." In fact, it was the worktape she'd recorded back in Georgia that caught the attention of renowned songwriter Robin Lee Bruce, who found it on Dreyer's Myspace page. "She reached out and said she'd never heard anything like me before, and she wanted to help me plug into the scene," Dreyer says. "She introduced me to the songwriting community, who embraced me and welcomed me with open arms. The next thing you know, people were offering me publishing deals." She laughs. "At that point I was so naive I didn't even know you could get paid to write songs full time. I was nannying for a family with five kids, and I was like, 'You can get paid to do that? Sweet!'"
Her first live performance in Nashville was at a Tin Pan South round; she soon moved on to rounds at clubs like the Bluebird and Douglas Corner. For a while, she played down on Broadway, and learned the ever-important skills it takes to impress drunken strangers. Most of all, though, Dreyer wrote. "I would write up to three times a day sometimes, with anybody and everybody that would write with me," she says. "I was trying to learn different tools and put them in my toolbox. Making it up as I went along. I had no formal vocal training. I had no idea what I was doing." Well, she knew one thing: When asked which Nashville producer she'd want to work with, she said Byron Gallimore. "I remember thinking there's no way in hell I'll get to him," Dreyer says. But about a year after moving to Nashville, she got a call from the general manager of Gallimore's then-publishing company. Dreyer had been writing with his wife, and he'd passed along some of their worktapes to Gallimore, who liked what he heard, and set up a meeting. "From the moment I shook Byron's hand and looked him in the eye, I knew I was home," Dreyer says.
Gallimore was equally impressed. "Her voice is unique," he says, "and her songs were just way better than the average bear. She is possibly the most talented female writer in Nashville who's also an artist. I'd put her up with anybody to write. She's young, but she's lived these songs." For her debut album, due later this year, Dreyer and Gallimore have worked hard at honing the honest, authentic sound already apparent on "Guy's Girl," and while Dreyer admits that her lyrics can sometimes be edgy, her songs are firmly rooted in the traditional, whether she's writing with Guy Clark or Kings of Leon producer Angelo Petraglia. Most impressively, she has written or co-written every song on her upcoming record. "I've always found solace in music, whether creating it myself or by being a member in the audience," Dreyer says. "I want people to experience a variety of emotions through the rollercoaster of songs on my record, to immerse themselves in the feelings each song evokes. To find comfort."
Suddenly, the woman who never intended to be an artist is on the verge of breaking into the spotlight in a big way. She's coming to terms with it. "Every little girl wants to be a movie star or a rock star, stuff like that," Dreyer says, "but coming from where I did, it was never tangible. And now that it's all happening, I guess I just proved myself wrong." Naturally, this means more traveling; luckily, Dreyer's a pro. She's already toured with Eric Church and Luke Bryan, and opened for Dierks Bentley in arenas on his Jägermeister tour, taking a title loan out on the truck her late grandfather left her in order to pay her band. "It was really important to me if I was going to do this that I could be the whole package," Dreyer says. "I wanted to be out in front of the fans."
That commitment to doing whatever it takes for the sake of her craft is just another way that Dreyer's work ethic – the one she developed on the back of a horse at 5 years old – has prepared her for this moment. "Growing up on the road, I learned that life isn't a fairy tale," Dreyer says. "It gave me a lot to write about, and a story that most 17 year old girls don't have. I think some people could use the hand that they've been dealt and be bitter and jaded, but I haven't done that.
"I look at it as a blessing," she concludes. "My crooked road has given me a career."
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