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Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

bluegrass Delaware and Pennsylvania
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Photo Credit: photo courtesy of artist
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Artist

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass is a hard-driving, hot-as-a-firecracker bluegrass band with a sound rooted deep in the mountains of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. With Danny Paisley’s rich vocals, T.J. Lundy’s timeless fiddling, and Mark Delaney’s stellar banjo picking, the group has earned critical praise as one of the steadfast proponents of a classic style. While often performing under the radar of the mainstream bluegrass world, Southern Grass has always been a favorite of fellow bluegrass musicians. Dudley Connell, member of the Seldom Scene, writes, “Riding the wave of one of the greatest rhythm sections in bluegrass music, Danny’s vocals soar from powerhouse peaks to heart-breaking whispers. I believe everything that Danny sings, and that to me is the mark of a truly gifted singer.” Danny’s heartfelt singing garnered him long-deserved recognition as Male Vocalist of the Year in 2016 from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Southern Grass has historically been comprised of equal parts Paisley family and Lundy family. In the 1960s, two transplants from the rich musical region around Galax, Virginia, and Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Bob Paisley and Ted Lundy, teamed up in Delaware to form the Southern Mountain Boys. When Ted Lundy passed away in 1980, Bob renamed the band Southern Grass. Paisley and Lundy were just two of the many thousands who left Appalachia in the mid-20th century in search of work, migrating to industrial centers in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Northeast. These mountain families did not leave their traditions behind. For over half a century, the Southern Mountain Boys—and later Southern Grass—have brought the sounds of the Blue Ridge Mountains to their fellow transplants in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Danny Paisley joined his dad’s group in 1974 at age 15 and has toured with the band ever since. Ted Lundy’s sons, T.J. and Bobby, continue the Paisley-Lundy connection. One of the finest fiddlers in bluegrass today, T.J. is a master of the classic ’50s bluegrass sound. Bobby Lundy, who played banjo with the group for years, now provides the driving backbone on bass, in addition to singing lead and tenor vocals. Throughout the band’s history, several other members of the Paisley and Lundy families have played with Southern Grass. Danny’s 18-year-old son Ryan brings the tradition into the third generation, adding his dexterous picking on mandolin to the group. Banjo player Mark Delaney rounds out the ensemble.

Bluegrass is increasingly dominated by bands with slicker, more contemporary sounds. True stalwarts, Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass continue to perform their own traditional, regional style. Their impressive musicianship and dedication to this classic sound stands out from the crowd. The band’s most recent recording, That’s Why I’m Lonesome, released on Patuxent Records in 2018, is yet another testament to this dedication.

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