Grassland began their journey in late 2012 when singer multi-instrumentalist Jody Daniels was ready to build a new band. Beginning as a bluegrass duo, then soon after as a trio with drummer Todd Ferguson, the pieces began to fall into place and Grassland String Band was born. A few years later, the band had grown into a multi-generational six-piece band that boasted members with master’s degrees in classical organ and guitar and a jazz-folk-pop and bluegrass influenced, improvisational live performance style -a hybrid the group called Amerigrass.
You would never have put together a band like this using a formula.
In the summer of 2014, GSB’s debut album Before the Feast was released and quickly brought attention to the band. The album was a first glimpse into the group’s palpable chemistry, strong songwriting and virtuosic musicianship. In 2015, a live performance from the EOP Red Clay Music Foundry (Duluth, Ga) was successfully released as their 2nd album. Clearly the band was in control of its unique sound and headed to success. Shows during that time included a performance at the Ted, the Atlanta Braves former stadium.
In the fall of 2016, the band released the Echo Mountain Sessions EP, recorded during an epic January snowstorm in Asheville. The album, named after the famed studio in which the recording took place, elevated the band to yet another level in its journey. The EP received much praise and recognition from noteworthy media outlets including NPR Atlanta, Stomp & Stammer, Flagpole Magazine, and the Alternate Root (Calif.)
In the spring of 2018, the band released Dreamers, a song supporting the children of immigrants and their fight to remain in the U.S. Dreamers debuted at number 4 on the Alternate Root’s list of top ten songs and was used by NPR Atlanta in a piece they aired about the struggles faced by DACA youth.
At live shows, every element of the band is turned up to eleven. This is not a show you’ll see fans chatting through. The crowd yells “woo”s of encouragement. They slap their thighs. They sing along. They dance. The band’s chemistry positively fills the room as they grin their way through the set, extending some of their tracks into improvised jams. Sometimes it looks a little like bluegrass. Sure, it has a banjo, a fiddle and a mandolin on occasion. But there is the electric guitar and a drum kit. It’s jazzy, bluesy, soulful, country and rock. It’s something much more, something modern and amorphous. It’s music that crosses generations, crosses genres, and will cross your soul. It just happens.
(Grassland is: Jody Daniels, banjo, guitar, mandolin: Kevin Fleming, Guitar, Lap Steel, Mandolin: Todd Ferguson, Drums: Adam Poulin, Fiddle, Guitar: Derek Warren, Bass: Leanne Daniels, acoustic guitar, vocals: Jason Badia, guitar, mandolin)