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This article is about the bluegrass band the Grascals, if you are looking for the Grascals debut album, look under The Grascals (album)

The Grascals

From left to right, Aaron McDaris, Danny Roberts, Terry Eldredge, Terry Smith, Jamie Johnson, Jimmy Mattingly.
Background information
Origin Nashville, Tennessee.
Genres bluegrass
Years active 2004 to present
Labels Rounder Records
Terry Eldredge
Jamie Johnson
Danny Roberts
Terry Smith
Kristin Scott Benson
Jeremy Abshire
Former members
Dave Talbot
Jimmy Mattingly
Aaron McDaris

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.[1]

The Grascals have released two albums, both on Rounder Records. The first self-titled 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.



Terry Eldredge - guitar/vocals
Jamie Johnson - guitar/vocals
Danny Roberts - mandolin
Terry Smith - upright bass/vocals
Kristin Scott Benson - banjo
Jeremy Abshire - fiddle

Terry Eldredge

Terry was born on April 18, 1963 to Bud and Maryjane Eldredge. He has one sister Sheri, and two brothers, Grady and Payton.

Terry Eldredge first began to play bass with Opry stars such as Lonzo and Oscar. In 1988, Terry joined the Osborne Brothers, and soon switched to guitar.

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

Jamie Johnson 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. [2]

Danny Roberts

Danny Roberts first started to play guitar to back up Jimmy Mattingly when they were growing up. 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 Ronny Reno's band, the Reno Tradition. He then joined the Grascals, where he was reunited with Jimmy Mattingly. [3]

Terry Smith

Terry Smith grew up in North Carolina. He moved to Nashville in his early teens, where he began in a family band with his mother (Hazel 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 disc", and a Bill Monroe Tribute in 1996. In 1999, the brothers released "Voices of the Mountains". After touring with Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snyder, Terry joined the Grascals.[4]

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.

Jeremy Abshire

Being the youngest member of the Grascals, he has already made a name for himself by working for Dale Ann Bradley. Many refer to him as one of the best fiddle players currently in the bluegrass circuit. He replaced Jimmy Mattingly in Spring 2008.



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 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 guest: 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.

IBMA 2006

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. [5]

IBMA 2007

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. 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 will be the replacement in the banjo position following the departure of McDaris.


A majority of the members are influenced by the traditional bluegrass acts, as well as traditional country acts. Although some people consider the Grascals to have a rock n' roll aspect about them, mainly in the song White Lighting by George Jones. Also in Viva Las Vegas. The list of people who have influenced them go from George Jones, the Osborne Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, while the list goes on.

The Little Grascals

The Little Grascals have two meanings. The first and most common meaning is the actual children of the members of the Grascals.

The second meaning is a hypothetical band in the future, which would have to be, not only of the next generation, but, would have to be the children of the Grascals, or at least have a couple children of the Grascals in it.

There was also a band called the Little Grascals, containing many of the same members as the original Grascals line-up. Many people call this the precursor to the Grascals.


  • The name actually comes from the Little Rascals, although they did try to have an Andy Griffith Show reference, but could not find one.
  • Some people consider the Grascals to be a supergroup of the bluegrass world, mainly because the members were already established musicians throughout the bluegrass world.
  • Although there were bands similar to the Grascals before they came out (Third Tyme Out, Blue Highway, and Mountain Heart), people say the Grascals have started a new trend of actual bands in bluegrass.
  • Normally, there are two types of bluegrass, traditional bluegrass and Newgrass, the term has been coined that the Grascals are Neo-Traditional Bluegrass.


Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Bluegrass US Country US Heat
2005 The Grascals 3 Rounder
2006 Long List of Heartaches 1 70
2008 Keep On Walkin' 1 43 24


  1. ^ Index of IBMA award recipients

External links



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