Old Dominion Barn Dance

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UPCOMING SHOW... SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2017  -- 2 SHOWS -- 2:00 & 7:30



Is it premature to see Hall of Fame material in a guy who's just releasing his first album?

Not if that guy is Tony Jackson. To put it plainly, Jackson is one of the most gifted singers ever to grace country music. His video “The Grand Tour” ignited an unprecedented 10 million Facebook views and 200,000 shares in just over 3 short weeks!


The respect Jackson has already earned within the music community is evident throughout Tony Jackson, as the new album is titled.  It features songs and/or performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members John Sebastian, Steve Cropper and Dr. John “Mac” Rebennack, Country Music Hall of Famers Vince Gill, Bill Anderson and Conway Twitty and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame luminary Norro Wilson.

But it is ease with which Jackson makes every song—even the familiar ones—distinctly his own that sets him apart.  Who else would dare to try and then succeed in bringing a fresh layer of emotional urgency to such a classic as George Jones' “The Grand Tour” or Conway Twitty's eternal “It's Only Make Believe”?

On the first-time and lesser known songs, Jackson mints his own classics.  With its sweeping steel guitar flourishes and ambient barroom clatter, he transforms John Sebastian and Phil Galdston's “Last Call” into the sweetest, most affectionate separation ballad imaginable.  With reverence and a twinkle in his eye, he enlists Sebastian and Vince Gill in revivifying (after 50 years) the Lovin' Spoonful's 1966 romp, “Nashville Cats.”  “When asked if we should recut the song,” Sebastian begins, “I said absolutely but we have to get Vince Gill, Paul Franklin and today’s real Nashville Cats in on the session and fortunately it was preserved on video,” he beams.

After capturing perfectly, the excitement of new love in Bill Anderson's “I Didn't Wake Up This Morning,” he moves on to a memory-stirring homage to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr. and Willie Nelson in “They Lived It Up,” a lyrical scrapbook from Anderson and Bobby Tomberlin.

Jackson shines as a keen-eyed songwriter in his own right with such memorable excursions as “Drink By Drink,” “Old Porch Swing” and “She's Taking Me Home." From start to finish, Tony Jackson stands out as a “discovery” album, the kind you listen to with such delight that you have to recommend it to friends.  And hundreds of thousands have done just that.

Jackson is currently a headliner on the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia, and is almost certainly the only major bank executive ever to abandon a prominent IT job in finance at a Fortune 500 company to embark on a career in country music.  But he didn't grow up a country fan. 

The son of a Navy man, he led a base-to-base existence, at one point living with his family in Rota, Spain for three years.  His early musical background was sketchy at best.  “I sang 'White Christmas' in the Christmas play in the sixth grade,” he recalls.  'Everybody seemed to love it, but I was a wreck. My mother forced me to sing in the church choir, but I was kind of buried in the voices along with everybody else.”  This was basically his entire musical resume until ten or so years ago when a friend whose band had lost its lead singer asked Jackson to try out for the spot.  “I did,” he says, “and I was hooked after that.”

Two weeks after graduating from high school, Jackson joined the Marines.  “I told my dad I was joining because I was sick of taking orders,” he says with a wry grin.  There was as much getting-ahead as gung-ho in Jackson’s enlistment.  “I was a computer and electronics geek as a teenager,” he says.  “When I talked to the recruiter, he told me the Marine Corps had just started a computer science school in Quantico, Virginia.  Fortunately, I scored high enough on the entrance exam to go to that school.” It was a smart move.  When he finished service, a prominent bank in Richmond snapped him up to work in its Information Technology division, initially assigning him the lowly chore of re-setting passwords.  “I was way overqualified,” he says, “so I got promoted fast.  I was a senior vice president by my early 30s.”

It was while in the Marines that he first started paying serious attention to country music.  “My mother listened only to gospel,” he says.  “My dad was into jazz, hip hop, R&B, new jack swing—stuff like that.  But Armed Forces Radio played everything.  When I was living in Spain—when I was 10 to 13—Randy Travis came over there on a USO tour.  Some friends and I were out there early when they were setting up the stage, and we actually got to talk to him before we realized he was the guy who’d be performing later.  He was really cool to us. In the Marine Corps, when my friends and I played music for each other, we were all homesick.   So when you’d listen to these country songs that talked about family and home and heartbreak, it would really grab you.” 

A song that particularly appealed to Jackson was George Jones’ heartbreaking 1974 hit, “The Grand Tour.”  When Jones died, Jackson and some friends went into a Richmond studio and recorded it.  In the process, they also made a performance video that eventually wound up on YouTube.  By sheer accident, singer Donna Dean Stevens saw the video and instantly decided Jackson should do “The Grand Tour” on the Old Dominion Barn Dance, which she had just resurrected.  After she witnessed Jackson’s standing ovation—an honor that hadn’t yet been accorded to any of the show’s headliners—she offered to co-manage and co-produce him with noted talent manager Jim Della Croce. A commanding performer in her own right, Dean Stevens recorded for Mercury Records in Nashville as Donna Meade. She is also the widow of Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean and a zealous guardian of his vast musical legacy. 

Dean Stevens and Della Croce then whisked Jackson to Nashville, where he recorded most of Tony Jackson at the hallowed RCA Records Studios.  In one of his best-loved songs, George Jones considered the dwindling ranks of country superstars and asked plaintively “Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes.”

Tony Jackson volunteering for duty.                    

Along with our Guest Bluegrass Band...

Recognized as one of Virginia's fast rising new bluegrass bands, Josh Grigsby and County Line was awarded the 2015 Bluegrass Band of Virginia Championship by the Virginia Folk Music Association. The VFMA is the only organization in Virginia sanctioned by the Governor of Virginia to hold Virginia Bluegrass, Gospel and Country Music “Championship Contests” and to induct Virginia Artists into the VA Country Music Hall of Fame. In addition to winning the Band Championship, Josh Grigsby was voted first place Male Vocals and, Judge Parker was voted third place Male Vocals.  


The band was also the winner of the 2014 band competition at the Bluegrass by the Bay Festival in Gloucester, Virginia.


Band members are Crystal Grigsby (vocals), Mark Mills (guitar, vocals), Whitney Perkins (resonator guitar), Robert Kidd (bass), "Judge" Parker (banjo, vocals) and, of course, Josh Grigsby on guitar and lead vocals.


The band's second CD, 'Ruby Lane Memories' has shown to be a fan favorite.  The title cut was written by Crystal Grigsby and is based on true happenings at Josh's childhood home in Virginia.  Two other originals are featured on the CD; one written by Josh Grigsby titled 'It Happened to Me' which is a gospel song he wrote as his own testimony.  The other original was penned by Judge Parker many years ago, and he brought it to the band and they fell in love with it and grassed it up a bit. The Title is 'These Places' and is requested at many venues.  Also featured on the CD is a song written by renowned tunesmith, David Norris, who has penned songs for some of bluegrasses' best.  'Our Old Home' is one of those songs you just sit back and the image of "home" comes into your mind. The band is excited about this release and really enjoyed creating it with recording engineer, Aaron Murphy.  The tracks from this CD have been played by DJs all across the USA. 

Their first CD "Changes in the Tide" has done well for the band and features many of the songs their fans love. The title song was written for Josh's late father who was a waterman in the Northern Neck of Virginia his entire working life.

JGCL is currently working on their next release for 2018 and are excited to provide a CD full of originals and fan favorites.

And our guest youth artist...

Bethany Gates is a 21 year old singer/songwriter from Chester, VA, whose passion for music is combined with full time academics at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has had the privilege of opening for national acts such as Lee Ann Womack, Ashley Monroe (Blake Shelton/Lonely Tonight), and Larry Gatlin, at The Beacon Theatre, and recently American Idol Season 5 Winner Taylor Hicks at Richmond’s Capital Ale House. Additionally, she has trained under the guidance of Nashville’s Bernard Porter, President of PCG Universal, providing the opportunity to perform at Nashville’s Opry Mills Mall.

Much of Bethany Gates life has been dedicated to using the arts to touch lives. She spent many childhood years in formal dance training in the Chesterfield area, attended Appomattox Regional Governors School for several years, and is a 2013 graduate of Thomas Dale High School.

Gates devotes much of her time in service to others as an advocate of Grace Home Ministries, which helps young pregnant women. In addition, each Thanksgiving she volunteers to assist The Giving Heart, which provides meals and supplies to people gathering at the Richmond Convention Center.

Singing her very 1st National Anthem at the Virginia War Memorial on Memorial Day 2016 was an incredible privilege for Gates. The audio portion can be heard many mornings on WRVA, and the video can be seen on www.youtube.com/bethanygates1 or her website www.bethanygates.com. She had the honor of singing the Anthem in June for The Combat Veterans Battlefield Bash in Lanexa, VA, which raised over $20,000 last year for veterans and families who have lost loved ones to combat.

More information can be found regarding Bethany Gates on her Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/bethanygatesmusic). To see where you can find her next you can click on Events via her website, and she especially hopes to see you on August 12 for her first appearance at the Old Dominion Barn Dance!