Q&A | Danny Roberts, mandolinist extraordinaire

If Danny Roberts has his way, the 5,000 people expected to attend Saturday’s Forest Fest ‘‘11 at Jefferson Memorial Forest in Fairdale will walk away happily whistling the iconic theme song to “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Roberts and his bluegrass bandmates from the three-time Grammy-nominated Grascals recorded a seven-song EP — “Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot and Ravelin,” a tribute to the show’s music — that was released digitally in March and will be officially released as a CD on June 7.

Roberts, a native of Leitchfield, Ky., is the band’s mandolinist extraordinaire who was honored in February as the Mandolin Performer of the Year at the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards in Nashville. The Grascals also were recognized as the Instrumental Group of the Year and member Kristin Scott Benson as Banjo Performer of the Year.

Grascals’ founding member Roberts is challenging all Forest Fest visitors to “stump the band” with Andy-Opie-and-Barney trivia questions. “I don’t think they can stump us but if someone does, they’ll get a free CD,” he said during a phone interview.

 

We picked Roberts’ brain about the Grascals and the mighty mando-picker obligingly plucked back.

Who among the founding fathers of bluegrass influenced the Grascals the most?

Of course, everybody has to be influenced by Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs because they started the music. But probably the biggest influence on our band was the Osborne Brothers from Kentucky.

 

 

You’ve performed in France. Does bluegrass music translate well there?

It was really cool to look out and see people that didn’t speak English mouthing the words to your tunes. It means that they’ve got your CD and are waiting on you.

What are the band’s goals?

We’ve played at the Grand Ole Opry more than 100 times, but it would be a huge thing to be officially recognized as a Grand Ole Opry member. We’d also love to win a Grammy. I’d love to have one of those little record players.

Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley and Charlie Daniels sang on “The Grascals & Friends” CD. Do you ever hang out with them?

In the next couple of weeks, Jamie Johnson and I are going over to Dolly’s house. She loves to see our kids.

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