Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

Grascals to headline Spring Bluegrass Festival at Sertoma Youth Ranch

SPRING LAKE

They've won just about every noteworthy music accolade imaginable, from the International Bluegrass Music Association's coveted Entertainer of the Year honor to four nods as Grammy Award finalists, and have appeared on a multitude of nationally televised TV shows. So it's fairly safe to note that the Grascals rank as one of the country's best-known bluegrass acts.

For a group that's only been around 10 years, that's saying a lot. But founding member Terry Smith will tell you there's a lot of hard work and effort behind it all.

"Not to say there hasn't been a good bit of luck involved, but we've always made the most of every opportunity that's come our way," Smith said from his Nashville home last week. "Success won't come your way if you don't."

The band, which headlines Saturday at the Sertoma Youth Ranch's Spring Bluegrass Festival, is made up predominantly of former sidemen for other bluegrass artists. But the call to the forefront was deserved in that all of them aspired to put together a group that was going to be around for a while, Smith said.

"I think we realized early on that there was good music chemistry between us," he said. "It was something that we all knew we could build on for a long time."

Others saw it, too. Not long after the band formed in 2004, country star Dolly Parton popped into the studio where the band was laying down tracks for its first album. She liked what she heard and invited the Grascals to tour with her, both as an opening act and to back her for an acoustic portion of her show.

Smith said that much of the band's onstage delivery was honed during the two years they spent on the road with Parton.

"We learned a lot about presentation from that," Smith said. "You have to be believable to the audience, and make them feel like they're a part of what's going on up on the stage."

To that end, the Grascals have always endeavored to be an everyman kind of act, whether delivering fun remakes of pop songs such as Viva Las Vegas, I'm A Believer (which they recorded with Parton), Last Train to Clarksville or original new tunes such as When I Get My Pay, the popular title track from their eighth album.

Said Smith: "We love it all, the old stuff, the new stuff. If it's bluegrass, it's all good to us."

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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