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Grassland Announces: “It’s Tonya Scott!”

tonya 2Tonya Scott, an electrifying entertainer and brilliant vocalist from Atlanta, Georgia, has joined Grassland.  While fans can expect GSB to “stay at home” with their unique Americana sound, the room just got much, much bigger.  Bringing energy, passion, humor, and fun-filled playfulness, Tonya adds a rich array of musical repertoire, songwriting and show business savvy to a band already known for its multi-genre influences.

Tonya was signed to a publishing deal out of Atlanta with The Lowry Group Publishing (Sony/BMG) at the age of 24.  While there, she was developed as an artist and was sent to Nashville to write and work as a studio singer and session writer.  She has trained with top vocal coaches in Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles learning everything from pop, rock, Broadway, jazz and commercial jingle singing.  She has lent her voice for animated films and commercial voice over.  She works at numerous L.A. studios, including EggChair studios & Columbia Records, as a session singer and writer.  She created and appeared in a popular comedic torch song show where she brought the audience laughs and sizzle.  She has appeared on MTV’s “My Own”, played with Esteban on his HSN advertisements and for the last three years has brought her music, personality and comedy to cruise ships as a guest entertainer, dueling pianist, lounge piano singer, corporate entertainer and guitarist.  She performs regularly in Las Vegas at the New York New York and Harrah’s Casino in their dueling piano show.

With GSB, Tonya will handle lead vocals, play keyboard and occasionally the guitar.  While fans can obviously expect to hear a different sound, familiar songs will still be heard intermingled with fresh original material and the occasional cover.  But fans should also be ready for a Grassland experience like no other:  Tonya is an accomplished show-biz entertainer and knows how to bring a smile, touch a heart, get a laugh and get people dancing, interacting and up on their feet!   And it all begins on Saturday, September 29th at Hendershot’s in Athens!

Grassland To Announce Major Changes

software-box 4 copyGrassland String Band has completed a two-month search for a new band member following the departure of Michael Lesousky to Nashville earlier in the year.  The band will announce the identity of the new singer soon.  Longtime fans won’t believe their ears…or their eyes!

Rehearsals have begun, and while the band isn’t releasing details quite yet,  the word is that the change is dramatic and exciting.   The essence of the band remains steady however, holding true to the Americana blend that has popularized the band with people of all ages and demographics.

The band is also dropping the “string band” part of its name in marketing and ads.  While the GSB brand will continue to be legally known as Grassland String Band, LLC, the name has often led to a misconception that the band is more bluegrass than not.  The band will continue to blend in some of that bluegrass sound and the banjo, fiddle and mandolin will still be band staples.   But the changes that are coming will certainly eliminate all doubt that the band is far from mainstream bluegrass.  Technically, a band that has drums and a keyboard (your first hint) can’t be called a string band!

The debut of the new Grassland is Saturday, September 16 at Hendershot’s of Athens.

 

GSB Set to Begin Auditions

cropped-red-clay-august-26.jpgGrassland String Band is set to begin auditions for an open spot with the established Americana group.  The search for a new member began recently when singer/instrumentalist Michael Lesousky announced his decision to depart (see announcement here).

GSB is considering all options for the role.  However, the focus will be on vocal strength and songwriting consistent with the band’s unique blend of folk, bluegrass and soul.  Interested persons should check out the band’s work at our You Tube channel.  Contact the band by email at gsb@grasslandstringband.com.

GSB Announces Departure of Band Member

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Grassland String Band vocalist-instrumentalist Michael Lesousky has decided to leave the band.   While we are sad to see him depart, we are excited for his future.

As one of the founding members of GSB in early 2013, Michael played a key role as a leader and songwriter in the band, contributing to the production and success of three GSB album releases.  We are deeply grateful for his contributions over these past four years and our friendship and mutual desire for each other’s success remains strong.

As most of you know, Michael and his wife, Kaitlyn, moved to Franklin, TN in the late summer of 2016.   Shortly after moving, Michael landed a wonderful job as Ticketing and Hospitality Coordinator at The Franklin Theater.  He is excited about his work in the music industry and the experiences he is gaining. Despite his desire to continue performing with GSB, especially as the band continues to gain momentum, the distance and new job limited Michael’s ability to remain in his role.  He will of course continue to develop his bright future as a solo artist.

Meanwhile, GSB is alive and well.  Several singer/songwriters have emerged as strong candidates and new shows will be announced soon.  Thanks to all of you, we can look forward to many more years of continued success.

Michael’s final performances with GSB are March 24th at Hendershot’s (Athens) and April 15th at EOP Red Clay Music Foundry (Duluth).  We hope you will join us at those shows and celebrate new beginnings for all!

*****Special Statement by Michael Lesousky*****

It is with a bittersweet emotion that I announce my departure from Grassland String Band. Over the past four years the band has meant so much to me, and it will remain a touchstone in my career as a musician.

Before I met Jody Daniels, I was lost in the wilderness of youth and heartbreak. When we formed GSB, it was with the spirit of a new beginning. We both were searching for a something fresh and clear. I’ve spent many nights in the car with Adam, Kevin, and Jody laughing uncontrollably and having conversations that have helped shaped my perspective as a musician – and, more so, as a man. Over numerous rehearsals and shows, I’ve shared life’s changes and growth. GSB was there when I proposed to my beautiful wife at Hendershot’s and GSB was in my wedding party when I got married. Despite all the love and memories, I leave for something new – what exactly it is, I don’t know yet.

As GSB continues on without me, I see this moment as a turning point in a new direction. I’m so excited to see how the band continues to grow and amaze people with live performances. This isn’t the end of me and it isn’t the end of GSB, it’s something different. It just happens and it always will. Even though nothing in this life is certain, you can be certain that whatever it’s gonna be, it’ll be beautiful.

 

 

GSB’s 2016 Top Ten Moments

Beginning on December 21,  2016, GSB  listed it’s top ten moments of 2016!

At number 10,  flash back to April when we shared a Georgia Theatre night with Old Crow Medicine Show, and Miss Margo Price right after her Saturday Night Live appearance!

At no.9 on our top ten 2016 GSB events: Our August 26th Echo Mountain EP Release day interview with Rose Scott on Atlanta NPR!

Coming in at no.8 on our 2016 Top Ten List! Athfest in July, and Yeah, it was HOT!

Number 7 on the GSB Top Ten for 2016: that time Stomp & Stammer reviewed the Echo Mountain Sessions EP and compared it to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band!

Number 6 on GSB’s Top Ten Moments of 2016: Flagplole Magazine Premieres GSB’s “Diamond”!

We are proud to be a part of the Athens music scene! 5th on our Top Ten 2016 GSB moments was our nomination for Flagpole Magazine’s music awards.

Highlight no.4 from our Top Ten moments of 2016: The Alternate Root (Calif) selects GSB’s Diamond as a TOP TEN SONG (8-20-16)

Number 3 on our Top Ten GSB moments of 2016, When artist Jackie Dorsey included GSB in her exhibit “Sound Check” celebrating Athens music, along with portraits of Patterson Hood, Sam Burchfield, Wrenn, Michael Stipe and more!

Number 2 on the Top Ten GSB moments of 2016: recording the Echo Mountain Sessions in a January snowstorm, Asheville!

Drum roll please! And our number 1 GSB Top Ten moment in 2016 was…. playing Memorial weekend at an Atlanta Braves game at The Ted!

Bassist Derek Warren Joins GSB

derek-warren

In the Summer of 2016, When GSB’s original bassist Nathan Elder moved to Virginia where his wife Angela took a teaching position at Virginia Tech and Nathan coaches the men’s row team, Derek Warren joined Grassland String Band.  In November 2016, he became a full-time member!

Stay tuned for more about Derek!

Artist Jackie Dorsey Paints GSB in Athens Music Tribute

gsb-paintingJackie Dorsey, an Athens watercolor artist, has included GSB among her works now on exhibition at Hendershot’s Coffee House.  The exhibit is titled “Sound Check” and is Jackie’s tribute to many well known Athens musicians and her love for the town.

Among the featured artists are Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley of Drive-By Truckers,  Sam Burchfield, Wrenn, and Seth Hendershot.  The event was covered by Barbette Houser of Flagpole Magazine:

Jackie Dorsey’s ‘Sound Check’ Is an Ode to the Athens Music Scene

Grassland String Band is honored to be included!

 

GSB Song “Diamond” in Top Ten: The Alternate Root (Calif)

alt root“Diamond”, penned by Michael Lesousky, made it’s debut into The Alternate Root top ten Americana songs this week.  This is particularly exciting news for GSB ahead of the song’s official release on the The Echo Mountain Sessions EP August 26.

The Alternate Root “is a multi-media company dedicated to the development and advancement of American Roots music and the artists, composers and producers that that comprise the format. The American Roots format is a watering hole of traditional American music that draws from elements of folk, country, bluegrass, blues, gospel, jazz, ethnic and rock musical styles.”

In their words:  “Grassland String Band offers a cut from their recent release, The Echo Mountain Sessions. They strum campfire Country with a gentle Alt Country Gospel sway and rock’n’roll swagger as Grassland String Band digs through the dirt to uncover “Diamond”.

Grassland extends it’s appreciation to Danny McCloskey and the staff of Alternate Root for this thrilling honor!

 

 

GSB Releases New EP Friday August 26!

red clay august 26GSB’s new EP, “The Echo Mountain Sessions”  will be released on Friday August 26th surrounded by some of the busiest days the band has ever faced.

Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville back in January during an epic snowstorm, the album includes “American Flag” (previously released on the Athfest 2016 compilation CD), “Give Me A Reason”, “Boom Boom” and “Diamond”.  In advance of the release, the recording process is featured in a mini-documentary produced by Jake Gee, an Athens-based videographer.

The release of the album will be supported by GSB at four shows; August 23 at Madison, Georgia (outdoor concert); The Wildwood Festival kickoff show on August 25 at The Caledonia Lounge in Athens, Ga (with Darnell Boys, Radiolucent, Cicada Rhythm);  at EOP The Red Clay Music Foundry-Duluth, Ga on August 26 (with guest Grant Cowan); and at The Foundry-Athens on August 27 with Sam Burchfield and guest musician Chris Costigan on saxophone. On Sunday August 28, frontman Michael Lesousky performs a solo show at the World Famous to support his new album, “Deep Shade of Blue”.

In addition, the band is scheduled to appear on Atlanta’s NPR radio station WABE (90.1 FM) at noon on Friday August 26.

Fans can buy the album at all major music retailers, including iTunes and Amazon.