RBR Entertainment has announced the signing of Grascals guitarist and vocalist Chris Davis to the label, and have released a first single today from an upcoming album.
Chris has been active in bluegrass for many years, working alongside some of the biggest names in the music. Playing mandolin or guitar, he has worked in the touring bands of Larry Cordle, Melvin Goins, Larry Sparks, Junior Sisk, and Marty Raybon, and even did a stint with country artists Diamond Rio when former New South mandolinist Gene Johnson had to miss several weeks for health reasons. And it was as a vocalist that gained him notoriety, and his ability to make any ensemble sound better when singing harmony.
So why now for his own record? The answer is as simple as out is obvious.
“I’ve been playing bluegrass music as long as I can remember, and I just felt the timing was right to do a solo project.”
Billy Droze, President of RBR, agrees with the timing, and sings the praises of the newest signee.
“Chris is a perfect fit for RBR Entertainment. He is an awesome vocalist, phenomenal player of many instruments and just an all around cool dude. We are very excited to have him be a part of the RBR family.”
You can see the truth of Billy’s comment in this first single, Down South in New Orleans, written by the team of Jim Anglin, Jack Anglin, and Johnny Wright. This is the same crew that wrote Ashes of Love, which was a hit for Johnny & Jack, i.e., Johnny Wright and Jack Anglin, in 1951. The song became a staple in the rock and pop music world when it was recorded by The Band in the film version of their live concert as The Last Waltz.
Davis provides a rollicking treatment with both bluegrass and New Orleans jazz elements, by including an accordion playing in unison with the fiddle, giving the track an unmistakable flair.
Chris says that the song made its mark on him many years ago.
“When I was a youngster, a band from Southern Ohio called ‘The Powell Brothers with Red Spurlock recorded the song. My dad had the record and I just loved the song. I thought, ‘if I ever get a chance to record it, I would.'”
Chris plays guitar and sings the lead, supported by Ron Stewart on banjo, Jame Seliga on mandolin, Tim Crouch on fiddle, Josh Swift on reso-guitar, Jeff Taylor on accordion, and Greg Martin on bass. Swift adds backing vocals.
It’s a real humdinger.
Down South in New Orleans releases today from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.