Bluegrass outfit Grasstime is excited to announce that after years of making a name for themselves, they'll continue in a recent habit of teaming up with notable chart-topping performer Kristy Cox. They'll tour together as Kristy Cox and Grasstime.
This change is a big one for them, and it's clear why Cox wanted to take to the stage with Grasstime; they're an accomplished bunch.
"In 2016, we started as one of the house bluegrass bands at the beautiful Arrington Vineyards in Franklin, Tennessee, that is located just out of Nashville and co-owned by Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn," explained Grasstime guitarist and vocalist Robbie Morris. "So, 2022 was our eighth year there. Also, in 2022 we had our third appearance at Pickin on the Plaza, Bluegrass Thursday Nights at the Ryman Auditorium."
"We are a different band now than when we started," Morris continued, "as we have had various good friends do stints in the band over that time. Naturally, when that happens, the music changes slightly. We play a lot of the same tunes, but they can take on different grooves and drive. But Grasstime is known here in Nashville as a hard-driving, traditional bluegrass band."
Morris said jamming with Cox this past June became a "lightning rod moment."
"It was super fun and easy," he explained. "Kristy is so great, and we extended another 20 gigs playing throughout the rest of the year. Kristy then had us out for her official shoot of her Good Morning Moon video. We played a PBS special and the County Line festival up in Maine. Kristy was selected as an official Ramble artist at the IBMA annual conference, where we announced ourselves to the industry that we are playing together. We ended the year playing a fundraiser gig at the world-famous Station Inn and sang for a Christmas Eve service to end the year. We did 65-plus gigs last year, so we were really blessed to work with a lot of amazing people and have a great and fun year," he added.
In 2022, Grasstime recorded Sunflower, its second studio album.
"We worked with our good friend Charlie Chamberlain and recorded here in Nashville at the awesome Forty-One Fifteen owned by Dewey Boyd," Morris said. "Each of those guys has amazing talents and great resumes. The stars aligned, and we were able to work with the fantastic, Grammy Award-winning David Glasser at Airshow Mastering."
Morris described the group's first real foray into recording; it was a great springboard and a fond memory.
"In 2015, we entered a competition put on by Dark Horse Studios, who, at that time, was the sound company for the Friends of Warner Parks, Full Moon Picking Party here in Nashville," he said. "We won a $15,000 recording package with Dark Horse Studios in Franklin, Tennessee, and we released a self-titled CD in 2016. Then did another recording in 2022, and by the time this hits, we will have begun working on the next release."
Morris said despite his bandmates all growing up in different places and coming from different "bluegrass roots," he feels they all share a "common music bond."
"We all found each other at the same time in life with similar interests in music and goals, and we love playing good music," he said.
Morris's love for music started at home.
"Like many bluegrass pickers, I was lucky enough to grow up playing bluegrass music with my dad Hensel, my uncle Benny and an incredible WWII veteran named Homer who knew every bluegrass song ever written," he reminisced.
His father played guitar, fiddle, and "a bit" of clawhammer banjo. His uncle played banjo. He said many other people he met along the journey also shaped him as a musician.
"In my case, I picked with many people that played different instruments in my early music developmental years," he said.
An early passion was the banjo, and he got one at age seven or eight for Christmas.
"But guitar was essential to every picking circle I've been in since day one," he said, "so that was also a natural draw for me."
Morris is lucky to have parlayed that early interest into a lifetime of doing what he loves. That passion he and the band bring to the stage they will display at upcoming gigs, including a few notable appearances Morris wants to mention.
"We will be back at the Station Inn on April 27, and in August, we will be at Podunk Bluegrass Festival in Connecticut and The Mountaineer Opry in West Virginia," he said. "We were asked last year to do several holiday-themed bluegrass shows in 2023, so we will start those in November and run through December. We will be announcing a lineup of more dates on the social media platforms soon."
They're excited to schedule dates as Kristy Cox & Grasstime, a partnership Morris said is "quickly becoming recognized for high, tight and soulful vocals with sweet multi-part harmonies, plus colorful and traditional hard-driving bluegrass music."
"Each performance is filled with high-energy, traditional bluegrass music fun."