The planets seem to be lining up nicely for The Grascals this year. The band is putting the finishing touches on a new album, and the ink is still drying on their one-record deal with Mountain Home.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Jamie Johnson told me. “I hope it shows on this record. I think we created some magic.” The not-yet-named project is nearly complete – just a few vocal tracks and the mixing remain – and is on track for a March release.
After the band’s huge success during its first seven years, it’s no surprise that Mountain Home and a few other labels came shopping to handle the new record. And, Jamie said, it should come as no surprise that The Grascals chose Mountain Home. The label already boasts Balsam Range, Doyle Lawson and The Boxcars, a lineup “that helped our decision.”
Plus the label has a reputation of letting bands keep creative control of their projects, which was important for a band used to making decisions when they recorded on their own.
A recording deal is smart, Jamie said with the enthusiasm of the newly converted, “unless you really want to get involved in a whole lot of time out of your life and a whole lot of money out of your pocket. We can focus on the music and let somebody else do the other part of it.”
The contract with Mountain Home is for one record. “But the door is wide open,” Jamie said. “At this point we’d be crazy to look elsewhere.”
The new project will include a couple of covers, but most of the songs are band-written originals or other songs that haven’t been previously recorded. Jamie and the band are keeping specifics under wraps for a bit longer, but he did say that two songs by the late Harley Allen and one by James Taylor are in the can.
“We’re really excited,” Jamie said. So, no doubt, are a lot of bluegrass fans.