Summertime funshine & the June buzz!

Hey everybody – welcome to summertime! It’s Kristin again, for another installment of the latest and greatest updates from Grascals-land.

First, we wanted to wish Andy Griffith a happy birthday! You may have seen our video tweet Tuesday – but if not, you can watch the video we recorded here:

May ended up being quite the busy month for us! We travelled to East TN and up to the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, got rained out of Louisville, and had another opportunity to play our favorite stage – The Grand Ole
Opry (104th appearance!!)

The end of May marked our yearly return to Branson, MO for Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ festival, and even with the sub-prime weather, the turnout was great! I was especially thankful that my husband and the rest of IIIrd Tyme Out stayed safe, since they were in Branson, during the deadly storms in nearby Joplin. Our prayers are with those folks.

Next, it was back east to Big Stone Gap, VA, where we were joined by Danny’s daughter, Jaelee, and Jamie’s wife, Susanne Mumpower-Johnson (aka Iodine). Both sang a song and the audience was quite receptive. Jaelee is 10 years old and each time I hear her sing or play, she’s like a different musician! Kids are amazing. And Susanne’s new record is getting magnificent reviews from the likes of Music Row’s Robert K Oermann! We are very proud of our extended Grascals families. Smitty’s clan went to Branson with us…Granddaughter
Allyson may be the most agreeable baby ever.

We ended the month celebrating Memorial Day with Sirius XM – Smitty and El stopped in for a chat with Kyle Cantrell. Sorry for the company, Kyle.

Finally, we continued to remember our servicemen and women with the fine folks in Indianola, Iowa (just south of Des Moines). We played a warm set on the courthouse lawn and recorded the video greeting (above) to Andy Griffith! Did you know it’s the 50th Anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show this year?

We’ve got some of our own birthdays coming up this month! Smitty and Jamie share the same (June 15th) and we’ll celebrate with all of you coming to see us in Bean Blossom, Indiana… then we’re off to Nova Scotia for a few days. We have tons of shows in Canada this year and look forward to meeting new friends.
The Grascals want to send a special shout-out to Dr. Tom Bibey, the popular bluegrass blogger and author of The Mandolin Case. He is battling a serious illness, but like his family, we are full of hope, in Christ, for a full recovery!

Don’t forget Father’s Day June 19th – we certainly have plans to take care of all our dads. For mine, Fred Scott – thanks for buying me banjos, banjo lessons, taking me to festivals, being my biggest fan, and mainly, for being such a fine Papa to Hogan.

– Kristin Scott Benson

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New Year, New Album, New York!

from Kristin Scott Benson
“Introductory Disclaimer”

So, the ‘Powers that Be’ told us Terry E got the MOST responses ever in his latest edition of the Grascals newsletter. Sorry folks, but I’m not nearly as interesting as El. I certainly don’t have upcoming wedding plans that include monks in hula skirts! Nonetheless, life is very interesting for the Grascals these days… so we’ll focus on that.

“Grascals & Friends”

We are thrilled to announce the release of our new record, available exclusively at Cracker Barrel! We collaborated with some of our favorite country artists, such as Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley & many others. The partnership we’re most proud of, however, is with Cracker Barrel itself. They represent the best of American life – fine food, fellowship around a table, and a sense of family that often times gets lost in our busy society. Just stepping into one of their restaurants can be a calming experience that helps you slow down, just for a little while. In many of my phone interviews, I’ve talked about this element and everyone totally agrees. CB is a brand that embodies a way of life that fits perfectly with bluegrass music and the Grascals!

“I Am Strong”

The highlight of the album is “I Am Strong,” cowritten by our very own Jamie Johnson. Inspired by a trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the song speaks to the spirit that these kids exhibit everyday. You can see the new video on CMT, GAC, and our website. It features Ms. Dolly Parton, but the real stars are the kids. We want to thank Darrel & Phyllis Adkins, for introducing the bluegrass community to St. Jude, in honor of their daughter Mandi. We also want to shout out to 3-year-old Ansley McLaurin, wishing her well and thanking her for her guest vocal at the end of the song. A portion of the sales for each album benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the single for “I Am Strong” is available for radio broadcast.

“On the road again”

We have quite a trip planned to promote Grascals & Friends. We started in Florida on Tuesday and end up in NYC on Saturday, making stops all along the way. Mix in shows in KY, MD, GA & FL, and January becomes a very busy month for us!

“And the winner is….”

We are constantly humbled by everyone’s kindness and support. Thanks for the band’s 10 SPBGMA nominations!

“Last, but not Least”

We hope you had a great holiday season and are looking forward to 2011. We are very blessed and give all the glory to Christ. The hardest part of being a Grascal is the time away from our families. So, we hate to see the holidays end, but realize how lucky we are to share the gift of music with all of you. Please come see us and stop by your nearest Cracker Barrel to pick up a copy of The Grascals & Friends. Thank you!

Kristin’s reading/watching/listening:

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger / Star Wars: Episodes 4, 5 & 6 / Andrew Peterson: Counting Stars / The Beatles box set

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