Since the music’s earliest days, regret for leaving the childhood home and a longing to return have been among the most durable themes in bluegrass. From “The Fields Have Turned Brown” to “Old Home Place” and beyond, generations of songwriters and musicians have contrasted cold, uncaring city life to rural family traditions, sometimes in mournful laments and sometimes through deceptively up-tempo sounds. Now, with the release of “Sleepy Little Town,” award-winning sextet, The Grascals, are writing a new chapter in this long-running bluegrass story.
Co-written by IBMA Songwriter of the Year, Jerry Salley, “Sleepy Little Town” serves up its tale through distinctive melodic lines and phrases, as its narrator recalls “Dad’s old John Deere, cranking up at the crack of morning light,” gets family news in a conversation with his mother, and compares these touches of familiar life to a place where “the rats are winning the race.” “I’d give anything to wake up in that sleepy little town,” lead vocalist (and the newest Grascal) Chris Davis sings, as the song slides seamlessly from a half-time pre-chorus into a lush, harmony-rich chorus.
As they always do, The Grascals have created an arrangement that places the song and its message front and center, offering instrumental support that works this time out through deft, sympathetic touches rather than more conventional solos.
“When we came to cutting ‘Sleepy Little Town,’” Davis notes, “It was an easy pick. We instantly fell in love with both the melody and the lyrics. I left home at 18 myself, and I learned early on just how easy I had it with mom and dad. I know we all, at one point or another, wish we could go back to that ‘Sleepy Little Town.’”
Listen to “Sleepy Little Town” HERE.