Local musician joined by industry icons on soon-to-be released recording

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, July 20, 2023

By Lynn J. Richardson
Be sure and circle July 25 on your calendar.
It’s going to be a really big day for Elizabethton musician Daniel Grindstaff.
That’s because on July 25, Grindstaff’s record label, Bonfire Music Group, will release a song Grindstaff calls “the song of a lifetime for me.”
Grindstaff has reinvented the Rod Stewart tune “Forever Young” — bluegrass style — and is joined in its recording by two great industry talents — Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton.
“This song has been a favorite of mine for years,” Grindstaff said. “It is a classic hit for rock/pop legend Rod Stewart, who released the song in 1988. It quickly became a classic.”
“I have loved it since I first heard the song, and it was actually played at mine and my wife’s wedding. When our children, Finn and Owen, came along it took on an even more special meaning. The timeless lyrics speak of a parent’s love, overcoming adversity, embracing the good times and good memories. In all sincerity, it is something I wanted to have on the project for my boys. Producing this song was an honor.”
The entire project is truly a Tennessee creation — heavy on East Tennessee talent —bringing together some of the best in the business.
“A wonderful cast of heroes and friends joined me in the studio to capture the vision of translating the song over from the rock version to this acoustic setting,” said Grindstaff. “There are so many ties to East Tennessee in this recording. Paul Brewster is from Knoxville, and of course Dolly is from Sevierville, I’m from here in Elizabethton; Trey Hensley played guitar, and he is from Jonesbourgh; Derek Deakins of Kingsport did the strings and arrangement of the strings, and Stephen Burwell, the Engineer and fiddle player lives in Knoxville.
There was also some help from Middle Tennessee. Andy Leftwich played the mandolin, Kent Blanton took care of the upright bass and Josh Swift added his talents on the resophonic guitar and percussion.
Grindstaff, a professional banjo player, has a legacy of music, with a grandmother who sang and loved bluegrass and country music, and his Dad is a banjo player. He started playing at age 12 with a goal of playing at the Grand Ole Opry, and has been playing professionally since he was 18, performing at the Grand Ole Opry with bluegrass legends Jim and Jesse McReynolds.
At age 21, he got a call to play with the legendary Osborne Brothers, longtime members of the Grand Ole Opry and best known for their familiar hit and Tennessee state song “Rocky Top.” His last few years of traveling full time was with Grammy Award-winning artist, Marty Raybon.
With “Forever Young” on his short list of songs to record, Grindstaff kept “hearing” Paul Brewster’s voice as being a perfect fit for the song. Brewster worked with the Osborne Brothers for several years, and spent the last 25 years working for county music legend Ricky Skaggs.
Grindstaff had become friends with Brewster from spending time at the Grand Ole Opry, so he called him and told him about the “Heroes and Friends” project.
Brewster agreed to record “Forever Young,” and also made a suggestion that caught Grindstaff off guard.
“It was a few days after he was at the studio, Paul called me with the idea of having a female voice for the song,” Grindstaff said. “He said, ‘Man, what do you think about trying to get Dolly on here?’ I said ‘Dolly Parton? Well, Paul, every song needs Dolly!’
“He made a phone call and put me in touch with a guy that works with Dolly and has for years. He played the song for her and she agreed to be part of the recording.
“Words can’t explain how amazing it was for Paul to agree to sing the song and then Dolly coming on board is still surreal to me,” Grindstaff added. “It’s a dream of a lifetime; that’s the only way I know to word it. In all sincerity, this is something the Lord worked out, I couldn’t have done it. The kindness and encouragement of not only the lyrics but the story behind how the song came together is what I hope conveys to the listeners.”
Grindstaff’s record label, Bonfire Music Group, is releasing “Forever Young ” featuring Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton as a single on July 25th. It will be available on all music streaming platforms; iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more. Locally, David Miller at WBEJ Radio will be playing the tune on the morning of July 25th. Sirius/AM Radio Channel 77 will also premier the song nationally throughout the day on July 25. The “Heroes & Friends” project — in its entirety — is set for release early next year. Each person on the project is a “hero and friend,” Grindstaff says. The full album will include ten tracks, with six of the songs as vocals and four instrumentals, two of which Grindstaff has written.

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