The Grascals work hard. That’s the only logical conclusion we can make when we seek to explain the success and continued upward trajectory of one of bluegrass music’s most in-demand modern acts.
The Grascals consist of Jamie Johnson, vocals; Terry Eldredge, vocals and guitar; Terry Smith, vocals and bass; Danny Roberts, vocals and mandolin; Jeremy Abshire, fiddle and Kristin Scott Benson on banjo and guitar. Since 2004, this fruitful union of prodigious individual talents has conspired together to produce an exciting new bluegrass sound that somehow manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
If you like bluegrass music and haven’t heard of Tony Rice, the chances are you haven’t been paying attention. Tony is one of very few musicians who, in a career spanning more than forty years, has left a legacy not just of phenomenal recorded music but has also inspired countless musicians to absorb his guitar playing techniques and imitate his style. It’s hard to overstate the impact Tony’s unique way of playing has had on bluegrass as we know it today. Countless musical ‘licks’ and phrases that today’s guitar players consider ‘classic’ or ‘standard’ bluegrass runs can be attributed to Tony Rice.
After the Gibson Brothers’ show in Poughkeepsie last May, more than a few audience members - impressed as they were with the show in general - were inspired to ask specifically about the (relatively) new recruit playing the mandolin. “Who is this guy?” seemed to be the question of the night. Well, now we know. ‘This Guy’ is Joe Walsh and, though known among mandolin devotees for some time now, his inclusion in the current Gibson Brothers line-up has brought his tasteful, melodic and dynamic playing style to a much broader group of music lovers. Always impressive yet never flashy, his thoughtful approach to both rhythm and lead playing makes him a valued member of this - and any - band.
Junior Sisk is determined to be the anchor of tradition in bluegrass music. Spurning over production in his recordings, to sparse down to the instrument simplicity, his recordings are fresh as if the band were playing in your living room. His clean mountain voice rolls easily through a choice of songs you won’t get tired of. Junior is appearing at Sugar & Spice, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., sponsored by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association for the first time on September 4th.
D: What will the audience expect when Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice perform on Sept 4th?