Davis is a bluegrass guy from way back. Both his father (Danny) and grandfather (Elzie) were lifelong bluegrass performers in and around their home in Dayton, OH. Chris played grass in the Dayton area until he got his first touring gig with Larry Cordle in 2006. Since that time, we’ve seen him as a member of Melvin & Ray Goins, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Wildfire, and Marty Raybon & Full Circle. He even had a stint as a country star with Diamond Rio when their mandolinist (and former grasser), Gene Johnson, was recovering from surgery back in 2014.
For Chris, this is something off a dream job.
“I’ve always wanted to play guitar and sing lead in a band, and I never dreamed it would be with The Grascals! I am so excited for this change in my music career, and I can’t wait to hit the road and get in the studio… this is going to be GREAT!”
And Grascals banjo gal, Kristin Scott Benson, already knows him well from their time together with Cord.
“I traveled with Chris for five years prior to The Grascals, and I always enjoyed working with him — musically and personally. I’m really stoked that he’s one of us (The Grascals) now!”
But while they welcome Davis to the band, there is some sadness in seeing Eldridge depart, something Kristin recognizes as well.
“I grew up watching Terry Eldredge play and sing. He’s a hero of mine and it has been an absolute privilege to stand beside him for eleven years.”
Terry had worked a good bit as a sideman before helping create The Grascals in 2004. His first major gig in bluegrass was with Lonzo & Oscar while he was still in school. He joined The Osborne Brothers in 1988, first as a bass player, moving eventually to the guitar spot. Later he worked with Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time. It was his work as a member of Dolly Parton’s bluegrass backing band in the late ’90s that led to the formation of The Grascals, when Dolly moved away from bluegrass after a number of albums in our genre.
Grascals bassist Terry Smith worked with Eldridge in several bands prior to them starting one together, and says that the stage will be lonely without him.
“It has always been hard for people to think of one Terry without thinking of the other. After nearly 30 years of performing together, it’s tough for me to even imagine being on stage without him. I have never had a better friend or a better band mate than Terry Eldredge. I will certainly miss him and I wish him the very best.”
Davis starts with the band May 18 at the Mayberry in the Midwest festival in Danville, IN. You can see their full tour schedule online.
Chris and The Grascals are current working on a new album for Mountain Home, which they hope to release later this year.