ETSU didn’t make much of a splash in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament last week, but they have a real winner in David Grindstaff, a student in their Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music program. His debut CD, Here & Now, was released on March 1 and it shows Grindstaff to be a polished, expressive vocalist with tremendous potential in the bluegrass world.
David is set to graduate in December 2010 with a degree in Sport and Leisure Management, concentrating in Parks and Recreation, with a minor in bluegrass music. He has attended ETSU on a four year performance scholarship, during which time he has taken the stage with the ETSU Bluegrass Band across the region, performing at major events like Ralph Stanley’s 81st and 82nd Birthday Celebrations. He is currently focusing his musical energies with his band, The Troubadours.
Here & Now not only showcases Daniel’s prodigious talents, but also that of the wider ETSU bluegrass community. Instructors Tim Stafford, Will Parsons, Hunter Berry and Adam Steffey provide accompaniment, as do current students Haley Stiltner and Colby Laney. The album was produced by Dan Boner, Interim Director of the program, and includes the material new songs from Stafford, Parsons and former student Daniel Salyer.
All that being said, Grindstaff is the star of the show. His voice evokes that of a young Ronnie Bowman – agile and accurate, with a passionate, plaintive quality that is very appealing. Listen to him on the opening track, The Tinker Man, written by Will Parsons.
The Tinker Man [http://media.libsyn.com/media/thegrasscast/tinker_man.mp3]
Dan Boner says that he was pleased to have had a hand in this album…
“David had been talking about recording a solo project and asked if I would produce and engineer it for him. Since our brand new recording laboratory at ETSU had just been completed I thought it would be a great opportunity for David – and also a good excuse for me to ‘test drive’ all of our brand new equipment! When David began recruiting musicians like Tim Stafford, Adam Steffey, and Hunter Berry I knew were all going on a fun run together!
The musicians are spectacular on the album, and I just had to involve Dylan Seals with the mixing of the project. He did such a great job on my album, The Gospel Way, and on Rhonda Vincent’s, Destination Life. It’s always a pleasure to hear how he treats acoustic music in his mixes.
David is gifted with a unique voice that sounds exceptionally mature for his young age of 22. I think he has a bright future ahead of him and I can’t wait to see where he goes after ETSU.”
Here are a couple more audio clips, first I’ll Never Let Her Go, a lovely ballad from Bobby Starnes and Tim Stafford which demonstartes the maturity Boner mentioned.
I’ll Never Let Her Go [http://media.libsyn.com/media/thegrasscast/never_let_her_go.mp3]
And a grassy barn burner, Jack Up The Jail, from Daniel Salyer:
Jack Up The Jail [http://media.libsyn.com/media/thegrasscast/jack_up.mp3]
Here & Now is a very strong project overall, regardless of the age and experience of the artist. Whether or not you pick up a copy, remember the name David Grindstaff.
Audio samples from all 13 tracks can be heard at CD Baby.