The Grascals Interview: New Gospel Album In the Works!

Josh Bechler Writer for Rocking God's HouseIt’s hard to believe that it was 10 years ago in 2004 that Dolly Parton took note of a band called The Grascals and invited them on her bluegrass tour as her personal band and opening act.

Now fast forward to present day 2014 — three Grammy nominations later and 2013 television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Marie Osmond Show, and The CBS Early Show — the band has come a long way. They have recently released a new album When I Get My Pay through Mountain Home Music Company. The new album includes the hit “American Pickers,” a song written by The Grascals for pal Mike Wolfe of History Channel’s popular TV show American Pickers. The song highlights the travels of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz and their travels around the globe looking for rusty gold with the aid of their beloved assistant Danielle Colby. Mike Wolf actually appears in the music video along with another pal who performs on the track: country music superstar Dierks Bentley. Mike Wolfe also hosted a CD release party for The Grascals at his Nashville Antique Archaeology Store in celebration of The Grascals and their whirlwind ten-year climb straight to the top of bluegrass music. I had the privilege to interview mandolin player Danny Roberts — a founding member of The Grascals and 2006 and 2008 SPBGMA Award Winner for Mandolin Performer of the Year.

Tell us what is in store for 2014?

We got a lot of exciting things to keep the year rolling! The newest thing that is really exciting is our song “American Pickers” which is the new theme song for the TV show. A lot of touring with theatres and festivals. The new album When I Get My Pay just came out and it has already went to #1 on the Bluegrass Today Charts!

Do you think the new album will get a Grammy this year?

Ha! I don’t know. We were all hoping for it last year, thinking third time might be a charm, but it is just really awesome to be thought of and nominated. But I do hope to have a Grammy award sitting on the mantel one day! We are just really excited that our fans like our music enough for us to get nominated!

Is there a gospel album in the works?

We went in the studio initially to record two albums, but time and other various schedules got in the way and we haven’t started yet. We have all the material for a gospel album, so expect to get one from us soon in the future!

Kristen Scott Benson (banjo) sings for the first time on this album. She is a great banjo picker — how is she as a vocalist?

She is great! She has always sang harmony and is a great harmony singer backing up Larry Stevenson when she performed with him. Jamie Johnson (vocals, guitar) and his wife had written this tune called “Are You Up For Getting Down Tonight” and then she started singing the song as a duo with Jamie and we all decided she needed to do it and it has done really well. People seem to really enjoy it!

Do you think bluegrass as a genre is becoming more mainstream with appearances like The Grascals on The Tonight Show?

Anytime you can get a bluegrass band whether it’s us or anybody on major television like that it is always a positive thing. I think the genre will continue to grow in a positive direction. From Flatt & Scruggs on The Beverly Hillbillies to O Brother, Where Art Thou with Alison Krauss and Union Station — and even somebody like Alan Jackson recording a bluegrass album — there has to be something to it for this stuff to be happening!