Striking bluegrass gold!

Published 6:56 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

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Grindstaff songs hit top of chart; two more coming next week

By Lynn J. Richardson

 There is absolutely no (blue)grass growing under Daniel Grindstaff’s feet these days.

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The Elizabethton musician and critically-acclaimed banjo player has barely had time to catch his breath since two of his songs have hit and held the top spot on the Bluegrass Today chart.

Now his record label, Bonfire Music Group, is ready to release even more singles from his upcoming album, “Heroes & Friends.”

“I have two more songs from the project releasing before the full project comes out,” Grindstaff said. “I have a song featuring Trey Hensley, the 2023 IBMA Guitar Player of the Year and a friend of many years, coming out next week. The song is entitled ‘I’m Looking at the World Through a Windshield’ and it’s a fun upbeat song I think folks will enjoy. Trey is one of the most talented people I have ever been around.”

Grindstaff will also have a gospel song releasing, featuring his friend Jeff Tolbert, entitled “Child of the King.”

“I love the lyrics of the song and it has strong ties to my family’s church home as well,” he added. “I really hope it will be a blessing to folks.”

Both songs will be released on Monday, March 18.

Grindstaff’s first two songs have gone gangbusters, with both shooting to Number One on the Bluegrass Today chart, with “Forever Young” holding the spot long enough to take “Number One for the Month” in October 2023, and “Finnland” taking the same honor in March 2024.

Grindstaff’s first single, released on July 25, “Forever Young,” took the bluegrass world by storm. His reimagining of the song, made famous by Rod Stewart, featured two of the best in the business — Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton.

“When I released “Forever Young,” my goal was and still is, for as many people to hear and enjoy the song as possible. I felt I was entrusted with something very special, and I wanted to get the song out as soon as possible but also make sure it was not rushed.

Timing was everything for the release, Grindstaff said, as Brewster hadn’t recorded anything new in a couple years.

Add in having the iconic Dolly Parton wiling to be part of the recording — which Grindstaff says “is still very surreal to me” — and support started rolling in from fans and radio.

“I believe “Forever Young” is one of the most touching songs lyrically of all time,” Grindstaff said. “That song and the experience I had recording it will always be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I believe with everything in me the Lord had his hand in bringing it all together. I am very thankful radio and music fans have supported the release, bringing the song to the #1 spot on the Bluegrass charts for the entire month of October.”

On December 12, Grindstaff was at it again, this time with a toe-tapping instrumental called “Finnland.” The piece features an upbeat musical ‘conversation’ between banjo and fiddle, inspired by his oldest son, Finn, and “that beautiful mind of his that’s always thinking, always spinning and always inspiring.”

“At the time “Forever Young” was continually gaining airplay so I wanted to release something that wasn’t a vocal song,” Grindstaff explained. “I brought in my friend and incredibly talented friend Andy Leftwich to be the fiddler on this one, along with Kent Blanton (bass), Trey Hensley (guitar) and Jesse Brock (mandolin). We had such a good time recording the song, and I loved hearing a tune I wrote come to life in the studio.

“You always hope what you record will be well received enough to make it to the top,” he added. “It was sure a surprise and very humbling to know radio liked “Finnland” enough for it to arrive at #1 for the month of March.”

It has been an exciting time in Grindstaff’s career. There have been many interviews, primarily about the full project and especially about the back story on how “Forever Young” came together.

“Those interviews have been a blast,” Grindstaff said. “One of the coolest things that has happened was that this version of “Forever Young ” made it over to rock-pop legend Rod Stewart. He was kind enough to give us a shout out on social media when the song went to #1. That was really an unexpected moment for sure!”

Number one hits. Teaming up with and getting notice from mega-talented musicians. It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

But wait. There’s more.

Grindstaff’s full “Heroes & Friends” project is set for release on May 17, and physical copies of the album will be available locally at a couple of different outlets which Grindstaff will announce once they are available.

“I am looking forward to everyone hearing the full project,” he said. “Every track is special.”

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