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  • Elizabethton Star

    Local musician set to release first album — ‘Heroes & Friends’

    By Contributed Content,


    By Lynn J. Richardson

    In the works for nearly two years, local musician Daniel Grindstaff’s record label, Bonfire Music Group, is about to launch his first album.

    Since June 2023, Grindstaff has been teasing the public, releasing one song at a time from his upcoming “Heroes & Friends,” album, and so far, each cut has been successful beyond his dreams. On May 17, everyone will be able to enjoy the completed project.

    Beginning last summer, Grindstaff released “Three Arrows,” an instrumental number he composed. It reached Number 4 on Bluegrass Today’s National Chart in June 2023. “Forever Young” – featuring Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton – followed, hitting Number 1 on both the Bluegrass Today National Chart in October 2023 and #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited National Chart in April 2024. Grindstaff’s bluegrass arrangement of the pop classic was Bill Cody’s Pick of the Week on Nashville’s legendary WSM Radio and also garnered praise from legendary pop icon Rod Stewart who first recorded the song. He reached out to congratulate Daniel, Paul and Dolly when the song hit Number 1.

    Two more Number 1 hits followed in March: “Finnland,” another original composition by Grindstaff and featuring Andy Leftwich, topped Bluegrass Today’s national chart. “Child of the King,” featuring Jeff Tolbert, was ITunes top Bluegrass Song on March 18 on PopVortex, as well as finding its way into top 10 status on the Bluegrass Today chart.

    Grindstaff’s most recent release, “Looking at the World Through a Windshield,” featuring IBMA Guitar Player of the Year and Jonesborough native Trey Hensley, has also climbed into the top 10 on the Bluegrass Today chart.

    Five other yet-to-be-released songs on the album are “I Still Write Your Name in the Sand,” “When You’re Smiling,” “Colleen Malone,” “Jesse James,” and “My Last Old Dollar.”

    The project has been a massive undertaking. More than 20 musicians and vocalists contributed their talents to the project, and every song was arranged and produced by Grindstaff.

    It was a juggling act for the banjo-playing musician who is also a family man and a full-time insurance agent. “The entire project took me a year to plan and then another year to record,” Grindstaff said, “but I always keep my time and obligations with my family as my main priority. I feel like if I do that everything else will fall into place, and it has. That’s not to say I don’t stay very busy making it all work. I do. But I am thankful for the opportunity to do it.”

    When the album was finally complete, Grindstaff said being in the studio and hearing his ideas coming together was “a blast.”

    “The best example of that is ‘Forever Young’ featuring Paul Brewster and Dolly Parton,” Grindstaff said. “I’ve had that song in mind to record for several years now. I could hear Paul singing it, and I knew he would be the perfect voice to translate this reimagined version into a more acoustic setting. Having Dolly join in was simply amazing.

    “That entire recording was a very emotional experience for me, and I am so thankful the Lord brought it all together. That recording is the recording of a lifetime for me.”

    So now, Grindstaff has May 17 circled on his calendar – the day Bonfire Music Group will release “Heroes & Friends” – which will be available anywhere music is streamed.

    On that same day, Sirius/XM Bluegrass Junction (Channel 77) will air a special presentation, live from their studio in Times Square downtown New York City, celebrating the release of the project.

    Physical copies of the album will be available locally at the Coffee Company in downtown Elizabethton and can also be purchased on Grindstaff’s website

    He will also be appearing for a hometown concert celebrating the release of this project at Elizabethton’s annual Covered Bridge Days festival Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. and copies of the albums will be available at that concert as well.

    It is all “just a dream come true,” Grindstaff says – and one he looks forward to sharing with music lovers all over the world.

    “Everyone involved with this project I consider a ‘Hero and Friend,’” Grindstaff said. “I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to collaborate with all these incredible artists. For example, I’ve listened to Doyle Lawson, Paul Brewster, Jimmy Fortune and Dolly Parton for as far back as I can remember. Their impact on me musically and professionally can’t be measured.

    “I have been friends with and have admired every musician on this project,” he added. “The most humbling part of the entire project is how everyone involved was willing to lend their time and talents to make my dream and project come to life. I will never forget their kindness. It has been an experience that will stay with me forever.”

    The post Local musician set to release first album — ‘Heroes & Friends’ appeared first on .

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