grascals in mayberry

the grascals: danny roberts, jamie johnson, kristin scott benson, jeremy abshire, terry eldredge and terry smith.

The Grascals didn’t have to dwell long over the offer to record a set of songs popularized in – an inspired by – The Andy Griffith Show.

Like many Americans of successive generations, the band members grew up with the sitcom set along the smalltown streets of Mayberry. Even today, when the award-winning contemporary bluegrass troupe is on the tour bus or performing overseas, they invariably find themselves tuned into to reruns of the iconic program.

“When we toured Japan, we had the show on,” said founding Grascals guitarist/vocalist Terry Eldredge. “So we got to hear Andy in Japanese. He sounds a little bit different that way.”

But there was a bigger hurdle to handle before the band could commence on the EP disc, which was being designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show. They had to get the blessing of one key individual.

“Everything that has to do with the show, even today, has to go through Andy,” Eldredge said. “So he was sent some of our CDs, but I guess Andy already knew about us. When he was told about the idea of this tribute record, he said, ‘I’d love it. But I want The Grascals to do the music.’

“And so the man himself gave us the clear.”

With that, recording commenced on a seven-song EP titled Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot and Ravelin’. Bluegrass music goes hand in hand with The Andy Griffith Show’s lasting appeal. Featured regularly were the acclaimed bluegrass roots troupe The Dillards, which played the rural mountain music ensemble The Darling Boys on the program.

“The Dillards were on there a lot,” Eldridge said. “So were the players that became The Kentucky Colonels (which included celebrated bluegrass siblings Roland and Clarence White). Pretty much every episode had music on it.”

For The Grascals, the figurative trip to Mayberry began what has become one of the band’s most creatively and commercially fruitful years to date. Energized by a now-stabilized lineup that teams recent recruits (banjoist Kristin Scott Benson and fiddler Jeremy Abshire) with founding members (Eldredge, guitarist/vocalist Jamie Johnson, mandolinist Danny Roberts and bassist Terry Smith), The Grascals recently picked up four major nominations for this fall’s International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards.

Among the trophies the band will compete for: Entertainer of the Year (the IBMA’s top price, which it won previously in 2006 and 2007) and Instrumental Performer of the Year (for Benson) as well as Song of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year for I Am Strong, a song from 2010’s The Grascals & Friends: Country Classics with a Bluegrass Spin. The song offers a reunion with the artist that largely introduced bluegrass and country audiences to The Grascals – Dolly Parton.

The band toured extensively with the country legend in 2004 when her music took a detour into bluegrass. The Grascals did double duty at those performances, serving as Parton’s opening act as well as her backup band.

“The way it all started was we went into the recording studio to cut three songs,” Eldredge recalled. “We didn’t even have a record contract at the time. But as it turned out we were working at the same studio as Dolly.

“So we were in there one day doing some mixing and in comes Dolly. ‘I hear you guys are making an album,’ she said. ‘Let me hear it.’ So we only had those three songs. We played them for her and she said, ‘That’s exactly what I want.’

Determined to have The Grascals establish their own career, Parton, as Eldridge terms it today, eventually “cut strings” with the band. The Grascals’ self-titled debut album was released in 2005. Since then, there has been no looking back – excepting, of course, the opportunity to record again with Parton on I Am Strong.

So what were those initial performances like once The Grascals emerged from Parton’s wing?

“Well, money-wise it kind of hurt,” Eldredge said with a laugh. “But we just kept working at it. We knew we had the rocket all along. We just couldn’t get it off the ground. Thanks to Dolly, we found the fuel.”

If you go: The Grascals performs at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Elk Creek Vineyards, 150 Highway 330 in Owenton. Tickets are $20. Call (502) 484-0005.

North American Spine Adds Kenneth Alo, M.D. to Its Physician Group.

Health & Beauty Close-Up September 21, 2010 North American Spine said that Kenneth Alo, M.D. has joined to help further the advancement of minimally invasive pain treatment techniques used to both diagnose and treat inter-vertebral lumbar discs, spinal stenosis and many other causes of back pain. here forest park medical center

In a release, the group said that its physicians treat chronic pain of the spine using the latest technology and a procedure called the AccuraScope. North American Spine said that its trained physicians are the only doctors performing the AccuraScope procedure in Dallas/Fort Worth and now the Houston area.

Dr. Alo graduated from Texas A&M University College of Medicine and completed his General Surgery Internship, Anesthesiology Residency, and Interventional Pain Fellowship at The Methodist Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center. He is board certified and has been active in supporting the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Neuromodulation Society, the National Pain Foundation, the International Neuromodulation Society, The International Association for the Study of Pain, The American Pain Foundation, and the American Pain Society in various roles.

“North American Spine is excited to launch our services into the Houston market with an experienced expert like Ken Alo at the helm,” said Christopher Lloyd, CEO of North American Spine. “Dr. Alo is world renowned in the development and application of advanced interventional pain techniques and is known for his thought-leadership, clinical expertise and research.” Dr. Alo is specially trained on the AccuraScope procedure which allows physicians to examine the inside of the spinal canal and the discs of the lower back to identify, diagnose and treat any tears, ruptures, herniations, bulges or other abnormalities — many of which may be undetected or mis-identified by MRIs. Dr. Alo maintains progressive diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms by continuously studying, teaching, writing and participating in the latest clinical research. His goal is to systematically intervene and break a patient’s pain cycle accurately and promptly, so that rehabilitative techniques can begin the reconditioning process. Applying North American Spine’s minimally invasive spine techniques to this approach represents a logical step in the conservative course of treatments Dr. Alo has championed in his own practice for decades. here forest park medical center

North American Spine currently operates at Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and University General Hospital in Houston, Texas. North American Spine plans to expand its elite group of hand-selected specialists in key locations nationwide, including the recently-opened Houston location, Southern California and New Jersey, with expansion to select markets internationally also under way.

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