Number 1! Local musician’s song hits top spot
Published 3:03 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023
By Lynn J. Richardson
On July 25, local musician Daniel Grindstaff’s record label, Bonfire Music Group, released a song – “Forever Young” – which Grindstaff calls “the song of a lifetime for me.”
Only five weeks later, the Elizabethton banjo player and bluegrass musician has a huge hit on his hands – a Number 1 hit.
The song is the reinvention of Rod Stewart’s 1988 hit tune “Forever Young.” He is joined in its recording by two great industry talents – Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton.
“Forever Young” has steadily climbed the Bluegrass Today charts and it landed in the number one spot on Friday. It is a dream come true for Grindstaff, to whom the song has always had great meaning.
“I have loved it since I first heard the song, and it was actually played at mine and my wife’s wedding,” Grindstaff said. “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 I’m working on, ‘Heroes & Friends,’ for my boys. Producing this song was an honor.”
In addition to the obvious national and international attention the song has received, Grindstaff says he is also thankful for all of the local and regional support.
“On a local level, I couldn’t be more humbled by the support,” Grindstaff said. “The Elizabethton Star was one of the first articles about the release and Elizabethton’s own WBEJ’s David Miller was one of the very first to spin ‘Forever Young.’ He has been a friend for many years and very supportive of my music career. Not only that, he is one of the most knowledgeable people I know about the history of country music.”
The song “Forever Young” is just one piece of Grindstaff’s entire project, “Heroes & Friends,” which 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.
The individual song, “Forever Young,” is truly a Tennessee creation – heavy on East Tennessee talent – bringing together some of the best in the business, including Telford’s Trey Hensley, who was just honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association as Guitar Player of the Year.
“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.
“I am so very thankful for the support surrounding the release of ‘Forever Young’ – it has been very humbling. It charting as the #1 most played song for the entire month was something I had hoped for but didn’t expect.
“What a wonderful feeling to tell my wife and boys, and to be able to experience it with them,” Grindstaff added. “When I released this song, my primary goal was to record this for my boys and for the song to be an encouragement and enjoyed by listeners.
“A heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes to all the musicians that joined in the studio – Stephen Burwell, Andy Leftwich, Trey Hensley, Kent Blanton, Josh Swift, Derek Deakins, and the great Paul Brewster and iconic Dolly Parton. It is still surreal to me, and certainly a dream come true.”