Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

April 8, 2011

Milan native has been a little lucky along the way

-- — Jamie Johnson has made his mark on the music business as a member of The Grascals.

He has traveled to various venues around the world, but says, “I never once forgot where I came from – Milan, Ind. .... (and) I love that state and everything it stands for.”

His parents, Paul and Gail Johnson; brother Lee; and sister Joyce still live there.

The Hendersonville, Tenn., resident is one of the founding members of the bluegrass group that got its start seven years ago.

He says his inspiration for getting into the music business was his brother, Brad Johnson, who passed away in 1991. “I took his records and put them on tape and listened to the music to remain close to him .... I thought I was going to be Garth Brooks.”

The songwriter was also encouraged by the work of popular icons, including Keith Whitley, the Osborne Brothers, George Jones, Buck Owens and Dolly Parton; fellow Milan native Aubrey Holt; and Harley Allen, who recently passed away. He wrote several songs for The Grascals.

“I’ve been lucky” to have many memorable appearances, such as “the first time on the Grand Ole Opry and the 100th time .... performing for President Bush at the White House; performing on stage with Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton ... being at the Grammy Awards twice. That was really incredible.”

Johnson and his band have obtained numerous awards, the most recent being named 2010 Instrumental Group of the Year at the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America in February. “It’s very humbling, very flattering when you win an award .... to be honored by your peers and fans,” he says of receiving the honor.

What are his future goals? “To be members of the Grand Ole Opry. Hopefully, we’ve earned our spot. I cherish that place and would perform for free there every day of the week .... maybe winning Vocal Group of the Year at the Country Music Awards, and I would love for The Grascals to be a household name, not only in the United States, but across the globe.”

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