Track Premiere: Ernest T. Grass from Bluegrass at the Crossroads

Mountain Home Music continues to releases singles from its Bluegrass at the Crossroads album, a sort of ‘band scramble in the studio’ project that puts musicians and singers from different groups together to record both new and classic bluegrass.

This week the latest will be available, a new take on Ernest T. Grass, a modern banjo classic Sammy Shelor included on his 1997 record, Leading Roll. Written by Ronnie Bowman and Dan Tyminski, this catchy little number was a part of Lonesome River Band shows back in the day, and has since become a jam standard all over the world.

For this new version, Sammy is again at the fore, with a slightly modified arrangement of the melody, supported by Mountain Home label mate Carley Arrowood Thrailkill on fiddle, Wayne Benson on mandolin, Travis Book on bass, and Joe Cicero on guitar. It marks the first time that Shelor, long time leader of Lonesome River Band, and Benson, veteran mando man with IIIrd Tyme Out, have ever recorded together. They all mess around with the AABB structure resulting in a tasty track.

Carley’s reaction to this track perfectly capsulizes the impact this tune has had on young grassers.

“I heard and played Ernest T. Grass in jams when I was a teenager, and then got to meet Sammy Shelor for the first time and pick one-on-one at a festival several years ago when we had some downtime between sets. He’s such a great guy! It’s the coolest thing to be included among so many of my musical heroes on this tune. It brings it all together full circle when I think about playing it as a kid, and now playing it with the guy who made it famous in the first place. What a blessing!”

Have a listen…

The new Bluegrass at the Crossroads cut of Ernest T. Grass will be available on Friday, August 20, from popular download and streaming services. Radio programmers can get it now at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.