THE GRASCALS & FRIENDS, “Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin,” BluGrascal Records. 13 tracks.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is known for a lot more than food these days.
Since 2003, the 597-store chain of country-style restaurants in 42 states has been featuring bluegrass albums recorded expressly for sale in its stores.
Last year, Dailey & Vincent, the hottest act in bluegrass, recorded “Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers,” one of the year’s top albums, for Cracker Barrel.
And on Jan. 10, the stores will begin selling The Grascals’ latest collection, which features an all-star country lineup of guest vocalists.
In recent years, bluegrass has been moving closer to traditional country music and that’s understandable since it was once part of country music.
But the title, “Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin,” is somewhat misleading.
The album is more country than bluegrass with electric guitars, steel guitars, drums and piano. But it’s still an album bluegrass fans with country leanings will want to check out.
Brad Paisley joins The Grascals on Buck Owens’ “Tiger By The Tail,” Dierks Bentley fills in for Johnny Cash on “Folsom Prison Blues,” Darryl Worley takes over for George Jones on “White Lightning” and Joe Nichols substitutes for Jerry Jeff Walker on “Mr. Bojangles.”
Tom T. Hall joins the band on his “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died,” Charlie Daniels adds his vocals to his classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” and the Oak Ridge Boys recreate their “Leavin’ Louisiana In Broad Daylight.”
Dolly Parton sings “Pain of Lovin’ You,” one of her old duets with Porter Wagoner, with The Grascals as well as the new “I Am Strong,” a song written by band member Jamie Johnson, his wife, Susanne Mumpower-Johnson, and their friend Jenee Fleenor.
The song was inspired by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A second version of the song included as a bonus track features an all-star cast of Parton, The Oaks, Worley, Daniels, Terri Clark, Randy Owens, Steven Seagal, Hall, Nichols and Ansley McLaurin.
Cracker Barrel is donating a portion of the proceeds from the album sales to St. Jude’s.
Only three songs feature The Grascals with no guests — “Louisiana Saturday Night,” a “Born To Boogie/All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin’ Over Tonight” medley and the instrumental “Cracker Barrel Swing.”
It’s only available in Cracker Barrel stores and CrackerBarrel.com