A Van Halen bluegrass record?

This post is a contribution from Brad Davis. Brad is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and recording engineer who has worked with a literal who’s-who in bluegrass music. Visit Brad online at braddavismusic.com.

Not long ago, I was called to cut some bluegrass tracks on an upcoming CMH Records release of a Van Halen tribute project. The songs I was scheduled for were going to be produced by John Jorgensen and they were Cradle Will Rock, Jamie’s Crying and Jump.

David Lee Roth got information about the project through his sister, Lisa Roth, who works at the CMH label in Los Angeles. He informed her that he would like to sing on one of the three songs on the project, and requested that John Jorgensen email mp3s for him to hear and approve as soon as the three tracks were completed.

The session was at Master Phonics in Nashville, TN. The players were Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Charlie Chadwick on bass, Scott Vestal on banjo, John Jorgensen on mando and harmony vocals, John Cowan on scratch/lead vocal track, and myself on flattop and high harmony vocals. John Jorgensen’s clever arrangement of these classic rock tunes fit so perfectly with the sound of bluegrass instruments. The old classic rock hits came to life again with a grass roots-sounding attitude.

The mp3s were sent and David Lee Roth was very happy with the tracks, so happy that he suggested him singing all three tunes, two of which John Cowan was scheduled to sing lead on originally. Through the CMH grapevine, we hear that David Lee Roth is interested in performing this new Van Halen bluegrass on The Tonight Show and/or Letterman Show sometime in the near future.

It’s truly amazing the variety of people bluegrass music reaches everyday. Bluegrass really does make a difference in this huge industry called The Music Business.