Again and others, Grascals to perform this weekend
Milan musical talent to be showcased
Whether you like bluegrass or
gospel music, Milan is the place to be this weekend to hear both.
Two Milan natives, Jamie Johnson, who now performs with the nationally
known contemporary bluegrass group, The Grascals, and Matthew
Johnson, who performs with Born Again, a well-known group on the
gospel circuit, are no relation, but they both have God-given
musical talent that makes one think they could be brothers.
First, on Saturday evening, a gospel concert will feature not
only Born Again, but Safe In The Harbor and Tom and Joyce Holt
and Friends at the Milan High School Cafetorium. On April 25 at
6 p.m. the concert, that offers free admission, will begin. The
doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and there will be food, drinks and
wonderful homemade desserts available.
Matthew explained that the desserts are made by the Arrows For
Christ, homeschool group and they are fantastic.
A love offering will be taken during the concert to promote Seedline
Ministries, a group that distributes Bibles to remote areas in
Matthew explained that a member of Born Again, Cole Barnett, is
connected to Seedline Ministries, through his father, Harlan,
who is one of the people heading up the ministry group.
The three-year project to get a Bible in every home in the Arctic
Circle will be completed after the group travels to Alaska this
June. They have already distributed several and now will be going
to Kotzebu, which is the second largest Eskimo village in the
region, home to about 1500 Eskimos, according to Matthew.
Matthew is excited because not only will he get to perform with
the group he has been a part of for its entire existence, ten
years, but then will be able to see the end result of actually
taking the Bibles to the area where they are needed. Its
a great feeling, he told The Versailles Republican.
Travel plans will change once the group gets to Fairbanks, Alaska.
They will then take a much smaller plane, piloted by a missionary
bush pilot, into the Arctic Circle, which is about three and a
half hours by plane north of Fairbanks. There they will hold evangelistic
services nightly, with Harlan Barnett preaching and Cole and Matthew
ministering in music. We will be walking door to door handing
out Bibles each day, Matthew noted, saying the area is extremely
remote with no roads.
Matthew encourages the community to get behind the effort, come
out to the concert and enjoy some great food, fun and fellowship
for a cause that could make a world of difference to someone who
has never had a Bible.
More music on Sunday
I dont take it for granted, I never will, Jamie
Johnson told The Versailles Republican in an interview from Tennessee,
where he now makes his home. He was referring to the fame that
The Grascals has escalated to since their music first hit the
sound waves in 2004.
The Grascals will be in concert at the Milan VFW at 2 p.m. Sunday,
April 26. The group is comprised of Danny Roberts, mandolin; Terry
Eldredge, guitar; Jeremy Abshire, fiddle; Kirstin Scott Benson,
banjo; Terry Smith, bass; and Milan native, Jamie Johnson, on
The phenomenal group has numerous awards for their multiple talents
of performing and song-writing to their credit. They hit the road
running when they recorded their debut album and were invited
by Dolly Parton to open her fall tour that year.
The Grascals have earned Grammy nominations for their first two
releases, were named Emerging Artist of the Year, and International
Bluegrass Associations Entertainer of the Year to name a few of
their awards. They make regular guest appearances on the Grand
Ole Opry, have appeared on Opry Live, The Late, Late Show with
Craig Ferguson, and the TV Guide Channel.
They have shared the stage with music greats such as Hank Williams
Jr., Dolly Parton, Brooks & Dunn, Patty Loveless, Mac Wiseman,
Dierks Bentley, J.D. Crowe, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Steve
Wariner, Vince Gill, the Jordanaires and many others.
Sometimes I cant believe its really me,
Jamie candidly noted, saying he doesnt feel like a music
star. Earlier in the month of April The Grascals were performing
at the home of movie star Steven Seagal in California. That was
one of the highlights of the career for Jamie. Can you believe
Steven and I were doing a duet? he laughed.
Another famous moment was when the group performed at the going
out of office party for President George W. Bush at the White
House in Washington, DC. It was indeed an honor, he
Although the path Jamie took led him straight to the top, he says
he still believes education is imperative. He has a college degree
he can always fall back on if he needs to do something else, which
he hopes never happens. He absolutely loves the music he sings,
and says its much more than just a performance.
Its something that comes from the heart making a one hour
performance seem like only a few minutes.
Jamie goes from signing autographs to getting autographs. He laughed
at himself saying he is the first in line to get everything signed
from music stars he looks up to such as George Jones. The pendulum
swings from one fast pace to another with Jamies career,
that now includes signing a publishing deal as a husband/wife
team with, as he refers to her, my beautiful wife, Susanne.
Its hard for him to believe hes best friends with
Bobby and Sonny Osborne, famous for "Rocky Top".
But, hes never out of touch with his roots. I love
coming home to Milan, seeing my mom and dad, (Paul and Gail Johnson),
and my mamaw, Irene Johnson. He said its nice for his mamaw
to turn on CMT and watch him perform. Speaking in front of the
graduating class at Milan High School last year was the
top honor in my life, Jamie noted. He said while he was
more nervous than performing in front of thousands of people,
he was honored to be asked to speak.
Jamie says he hates to admit it but he didnt even care for
bluegrass/country type music as a kid growing up. But, his brother
Brad loved it. After he died in 1991, Jamie wanted to feel close
to his brother and began listening to his music. Someone heard
him and the rest is history.
Jamie is looking forward to the concert in Milan, seeing family
and old friends who are dear to him, and doing what he loves,
performing from his heart. Its just incredible to
come home, he concluded. Oh, he does have another love in
his life, his nine-month-old son, Cole Train. Now thats
special, he said of being a dad.
Jamie Johnson, former
Milan resident, with Steven Seagal at his home in California.