Danny Roberts: Press Releases
The Grascals’ mandolin ace Danny Roberts has traveled the world enjoying a wealth of musical experiences in bluegrass, but this 4th of July weekend he soaked in a couple of moments that were extra special to him at the 45th Annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival.
First, the two-time SPBGMA Mandolin Performer of the Year was honored with the Blue Blaze Award for “actively cultivating a love of bluegrass music.” Sierra Hull and Darrin Vincent are the past recipients.
The Smithville, TN stage is familiar turf to Roberts who cut his teeth competing at the Jamboree and similar contests as a teenager.
“It kind of hit me starting here in these competitions just how blessed I’ve been,” Roberts said in an interview with Bluegrass Today following the awards presentation and performance. “God has been so good to me beyond anything I could ever imagine.”
Prior to picking up the special trophy, though, Roberts was feeling a bit anxious, but not for himself. It was the first real show that he’s played with his talented daughter, Jaelee Roberts, 15.
“I was kind of nervous for her,” Roberts said. “She can sing. She has sung with The Grascals since she was knee high, but she was always a little more apprehensive with fiddling. She was playing a bunch of new stuff she hadn’t played.”
“Getting up there with her and seeing the crowd reaction and watching her pull the fiddle playing off just great along with the vocal parts—there’s nothing like seeing your child do something like that. I’ve been fortunate enough to play all over the world. We’ve been everywhere and played with Dolly and Porter, been on the Grand Ole Opry, but still there’s nothing that means more to me than standing next to that little girl and hearing her sing and do her thing. That’s far and away above anything else.”
Roberts also was joined in a rare performance with his wife, Andrea Roberts and two Grascal bandmates, Kristin Scott Benson on banjo and vocalist/guitarist John Bryan. Before they hit the stage, another band performed that consisted of several former members of the group he co-founded, New Tradition.
“Watching those guys and seeing them watch me up there playing, I really started feeling nervous more for me than my daughter,” Roberts admits.
Returning to the Smithville Jamboree was a blast from the past for the veteran performer, who saw several musical buddies from his early days.
“Fred Duggin and I have played together forever,” he said. “We started backing each other on guitar contests when I was probably about 14, 15 maybe. We backed each other up until we started the band, New Tradition, together. “
“When I got out of high school, I moved to Murfreesboro in 1982, and he and I opened a music store there. He’s one of my longest, oldest friends. It’s special to see him here. Roy Curry was probably one of the biggest influences on my guitar playing coming up. I wanted to be Roy. I used to try to play like him. He’s not that many years old than me, but he was that far advanced when I came along.”
“Seeing those guys out there was like old home week. All those memories come flooding back. It made me a little tense, but I still had a blast.”
The Leitchfield, KY native competed in the Smithville Jamboree, but in Roberts’ day he had the added challenge of going up against more experienced musicians.
“I had to get in against the big guys from the get go,” Roberts said. “Having the competition for the kids to where they can compete against each other instead of having to battle against grown-ups, it’s invaluable for what it can do. My daughter, I think, was 5 the first time she played here. She’s placed in every competition. She’s won the singing here before. To have the experience to get on stage, it’s just amazing.”
“Now, most of these dancers out here are their kids,” Roberts said. “It’s like a big family. It’s a culture down here that grows and spreads. It’s very neat to be able to give kids something to do besides play video games,” he says with a laugh.
Grascals mandolin master Danny Roberts is no stranger to hard work and well-deserved accolades. He has won several awards both on his own and as a member of the Grammy®-nominated Grascals.
Even with this recognition, Roberts is not one to rest on his laurels. His second solo project, Nighthawk, out on Mountain Home, spotlights a seasoned and innovative player in his prime. The recording is a eclectic mix of sophisticated acoustic stylings from Bluegrass to Swing to New Grass and includes some of Danny’s Grascals bandmates as well as “musical idols, friends and family.”
“It was so much fun recording tunes that I have written accompanied by such outstanding musicians. I’m very excited about the special guests that came in to record with me and I am truly honored to have them be part of this.” The album line-up includes Kristin Scott Benson of the Grascals, Tim Surrett of Balsam Range, Tony Wray of Blue Mafia, and special guests include Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Aubrey Haney, Mike Compton and vocal appearances by Danny’s daughter Jaelee Roberts and his wife Andrea.
Nashville, TN — May 20th marks the release of Nighthawk, the new album from Danny Roberts.
A founding member of the multi-award-winning and three-time Gammy®- nominated group The Grascals, Roberts has won several awards in his own right. He is a four-time winner of the SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year Award. Danny is also a regular cast member of ABC’s Nashville, playing a member of the Rayna James band.
He is a true artist who continually strives for excellence and seeks new discoveries. His second solo project, Nighthawk (Mountain Home), spotlights a seasoned and innovative player in his prime.
The recording is an eclectic mix of sophisticated acoustic stylings from Bluegrass to Swing to New Grass and includes some of Danny’s Grascals bandmates as well as “musical idols, friends and family.”
The Nighthawk line-up includes Kristin Scott Benson of the Grascals, Tim Surrett of Balsam Range, Tony Wray of Blue Mafia, and special guests include Ronnie McCoury, Sam Bush, Aubrey Haney, Mike Compton and vocal appearances by Danny’s daughter Jaelee and his wife Andrea.
“It was so much fun recording tunes that I have written accompanied by such outstanding musicians. I’m very excited about the special guests that came in to record with me and I am truly honored to have them be part of this.”
For more information on Danny Roberts: http://www.facebook.com/DannyRobertsMusic