Cracker Barrel wins with bluegrass

Last week’s (12/29) Wall Street Journal Market Watch has reported on the success of the Cracker Barrel strategy of working with top bluegrass acts and labels – in this case Rounder Records.

Two of the label’s artists, the Grascals and Dailey & Vincent, each released a CD marketed by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. through their old country stores and restaurants. Both albums – The Grascals and Friends: Country Classics With a Bluegrass Spin (released in January; #6 on the chart) and Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers (released in February 2010; #17 on the chart) – have earned Top 20 places on Billboard’s Year-end top-selling bluegrass albums, ranked by sales data as compiled by Neilsen SoundScan.

A Cracker Barrel press release quotes their Marketing Manager Julie Craig…

“We are thrilled with the success that these two outstanding bluegrass groups have earned. This type of recognition reinforces our commitment to offer authenticity and quality through the Cracker Barrel exclusive music program. The Grascals and Dailey & Vincent are exceptional in the world of bluegrass and we are honored to work with them.”

While the Dailey & Vincent CD was released early in 2010, the sales rating is based solely on 2011 sales.

It will interesting to see how Cracker Barrel’s soon-to-be-released album The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent fares in the early months of 2012.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    …honestly, one could persuasively argue that Cracker Barrel does a nicer job presenting the music respectfully than Rounder does. Compare their edition of the classic J.D. Crowe album (0044) to Rounder’s: theirs is in a nice cardboard case, sounds great, has new liner notes and even a bonus track! Rounder’s is a pitiful thing, with no new liner notes, no bonus tracks, and was mastered with antiquated, early digital technology. Hardly the sort of royal treatment a milestone like that deserves.

  • jj


    Those original CB releases including the JD Crowe and Seldom reissues and that awesome Stony Point Quartet gospel record were produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts who are known for their always thoughtful productions. Once those original releases sold out, CB started to work with larger labels and bigger named artists. I am not sure if the quality of the production stayed as high, but I am sure they are selling a ton.

    • Darren Sullivan-Koch

      Good to know! That’s really interesting, and I bet things have changed since the NCTA is no longer involved…but it still doesn’t explain why a masterpiece like 0044 is still on the market in such an inferior edition!