Since his father’s passing in 2004, singer/guitarist Danny Paisley has preserved and advanced the tradition of classic bluegrass begun by his dad, Bob Paisley, who, along with Ted Lundy, performed originally as the Southern Mountain Boys, then later as The Southern Grass, the latter of which became quite popular on the festival circuit. The band was made up mostly of Paisley’s and Lundy’s sons.
Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass have carved their own niche in the bluegrass world, producing consecutive chart-topping albums. The group has been given over 15 Bluegrass Music Award Nominations and won the 2009 IBMA Song of the Year for “Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away.” In 2021, Danny Paisley joined an elite group of vocalists to be awarded the IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year for the third time, an achievement attained by only five others in Bluegrass music history.
Concerning the ongoing “family band” nature of his music, Danny says, “We just keep passing the tradition on…Ryan [his 22-year-old son and the band’s mandolin player] has different ideas than I do, and I had different ideas than my father did, so we each put our little mark on the music, and just keep on going. I think that’s what music is all about.”
While holding to the traditions of bluegrass, Danny embraces the need for changes that can speak to the current generations of listeners: “We can’t expect young people to be drawn to music singing about cabins and old mountain homes…a young person today doesn’t relate to living a hard life deep in the mountains and growing up in a cabin…” For Danny, putting together new recordings is all about finding a balance of the old and the new. “It’s hard in today’s age to find fresh songs…a lot of my fans like to hear the old ones that I’ve been playing for 30 years…but to bring in new people I have other songs…”
The band’s latest release is Bluegrass Troubadour, which features 10 tracks by 10 different writers, including “Fancy Gap Runaway” by Ryan Paisley.