The Grascals, Bobby Osborne combine old, new sounds in June 17 show at Renaissance Center
Release Date: 6/2/2004. Expired: 6/17/2004
One of the hottest new acts and an all-time legend in bluegrass music will share the stage of The Renaissance Center on June 17 when The Grascals perform with special guest Bobby Osborne of The Osborne Brothers.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
Just signed with Rounder Records, The Grascals is a new quartet whose members have played for The Osborne Brothers, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, the Sidemen, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton and many others.
Since he first sang on the radio in 1949, Bobby Osborne has been making bluegrass music with some of the genre’s greatest players, but is perhaps best known in this area as vocalist and mandolin player on The Osborne Brothers’ 1967 classic Rocky Top, adopted as a state song by the Tennessee legislature and an anthem for any University of Tennessee sports fan.
“The talent that will take to the Performance Hall stage for this show is just unbelievable,” said Elaine Sherrill, senior director of Music for The Renaissance Center. “When you add Bobby Osborne into the mix for a concert in the state of Tennessee, it just makes it practically historical.”
The Grascals is a new group made up of musician friends who have played in various combinations for a number of artists.
Fiddler Jimmy Mattingly and vocalist/bassist/guitarist Terry Eldredge met in 1991 as part of The Osborne Brothers’ band for the bluegrass festival season. Eldredge and vocalist Jamie Johnson had been boyhood friends in Indiana sharing a love of bluegrass harmonies. Banjo player David Talbot, a Canada native, got to know Eldredge when both were members of Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.
The four of them bring impressive credentials to the new group.
Eldredge’s soulful vocals and easygoing stage presence have earned him not only the loyalty of bluegrass fans and the appreciation of fellow musicians, but also 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 by playing bass with Grand Ole Opry stars Lonzo and Oscar. He joined The Osborne Brothers in 1988, switching to guitar and adding his powerful tenor to the harmonies. He and several other Nashville musicians formed the Sidemen and began a regular Tuesday night gig at the Station Inn that continues to this day. He returned to the bass when he joined Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time in the late 1990s, earning a 2003 IBMA nomination for Bass Player of the Year. During a hiatus from Lonesome Standard Time, Eldredge performed as a member of Dolly Parton’s Blue-niques.
Johnson helped found the Wildwood Valley Boys in the early 1990s, but began to draw attention to his soaring tenor voice as a member of the Boys From Indiana in the middle of the decade. After a brief stint with Union Springs and a return to the Wildwood Valley Boys, Johnson made the move to Nashville and began to find success as a songwriter. He co-wrote the title cut of Bobby Osborne’s Where I Come From and made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Gail Davies’ band. Johnson joined the Sidemen in 2001 and contributed lead and harmony vocals to a collection of songs called Bluegrass - The Little Grascals: Nashville’s Superpickers, which featured two other current Grascals members. Johnson has recorded with Trent Summar and Ricky Van Shelton and made his Ryman Auditorium debut when he was selected to organize a supporting band and sing harmonies for Skaggs Family Records artist Melonie Cannon.
Few fiddle players have been seen or heard by more people than Jimmy Mattingly, thanks to a widely aired Dr. Pepper commercial that featured him accompanying his long-time employer, Garth Brooks. Mattingly was a member of Brooks’ band from 1995 until the superstar retired from the road, playing before millions of people on world tours and performing on three of Brooks’ multi-platinum albums. Despite his success in mainstream country, Mattingly’s first love has always been bluegrass. The Leitchfield, Ky., native played fiddle in contests as a youngster, culminating in a National Grand Championship victory. He joined progressive bluegrass pioneers Spectrum in 1981 and later played with the Forrester Sisters and Steve Wariner before touring with Parton 1989-93. During a break in Parton’s touring, Mattingly joined The Osborne Brothers and met Eldredge, with whom he was reunited in Parton’s Blue-niques in 2002.
Only in Nashville for five years, Canadian banjoist Talbot is already one of the hottest commodities in bluegrass and beyond. Playing with Eldredge in Lonesome Standard Time, he was a part of the group’s Grammy-nominated album Murder on Music Row. He has played with bluegrass greats like Aubrey Haynie and Bryan Sutton, as well as country superstars like Reba McEntire (featured on her recent hit Iím Gonna Move That Mountain), Dolly Parton and Americana kingpin Jim Lauderdale.
Except for a stint as a Marine in the Korean War, where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart, Bobby Osborne has been making bluegrass music for more than 50 years.
He made his first radio appearance in 1949 when the 17-year-old sang Ruby on WPFB in Middletown, Ohio. The station received 50 telegrams requesting Osborne sing it again, so the station brought him back. Ruby became the first recording by The Osborne Brothers and one of their signature songs. They sang it when they became members of the Grand Ole Opry and they sang it in the East Room of the White House at the request of President Nixon.
After that radio debut, Osborne, along with Larry Richardson, joined the very first Lonesome Pine Fiddlers band after its switch from western swing to bluegrass. The next year, Osborne and Jimmy Martin started a group called Jimmy Martin, Bobby Osborne and the Sunny Mountain Boys. They worked at the famous WCYB radio station in Bristol where Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Jim and Jesse and The Stanley Brothers also performed.
Osborne and younger brother Sonny made their debut as The Osborne Brothers on WROL in Knoxville in 1953. They would later move to Detroit as a featured act on WJR before going to WWVA in Wheeling, W.V. They released their first record on the MGM label in 1956 and became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964.
On Christmas Day 1967, the group released a record called My Favorite Memory. The B side was a song written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant called Rocky Top. In 10 days it had sold 85,000 copies. Fourteen years later it had become the second-most programmed bluegrass song in history (after only Foggy Mountain Breakdown). Today, Rocky Top is the most recorded song in bluegrass music history and was named an official state song of Tennessee in 1982.
The Osborne Brothers were named Bluegrass Group of the Year for 10 straight years (1970-79) by the Music City News Awards, adding a Vocal Group of the Year Award from the Country Music Association in 1971 to become the only group to win both awards in the same year. They have received four Grammy nominations and were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor in 1994.
The Osborne Brothers have had more national chart records than any other bluegrass band in history and were the first bluegrass band to perform in the White House, at Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, at a college (Antioch College in 1960) and performed Rocky Top for a crowd of 102,000 in Neyland Stadium at halftime of the 1985 Tennessee-Alabama game, backed by UT’s Pride of the Southland Band.
“It is indeed an honor and exciting to have a legendary musician such as Bobby Osborne and the gathered talent of The Grascals playing at The Renaissance Center,” Sherrill said.
For more information on the concert, call (615)740-5600. To purchase tickets, call (615)740-5570.
The Renaissance Center is an arts and technology education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.
Visit the Events - Concerts and Recitals page for more about musical performances.
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