Danny Roberts - My Brown Eyed Darling
  • My Brown Eyed Darling
  • My Brown Eyed Darling
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (04:15) [11.07 MB]
For over 30 years, mandolinist Danny Roberts has been a steady presence in the heart of the bluegrass mainstream, and he’s recently begun releasing new solo music for the first time in nearly a decade. “My Brown Eyed Darling” is a callback to Petticoat Junction, a band featuring Danny’s wife, Andrea, who sings on this track. Their daughter, Jaelee, sings harmony, making it a family affair. Danny was a founding member of New Tradition, a prominent bluegrass gospel group that toured widely throughout the 1990s, released eight well-received albums and served as a “school of bluegrass” for musicians who went on to work with artists such as the Lonesome River Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and the Special Consensus. Later, he helped to found The Grascals, the award-winning bluegrass sextet that quickly rose to the music’s top ranks when they earned the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song and Emerging Artist of the Year awards in 2005 and its top Entertainer of the Year honors in 2006 and 2007; he continues to serve as the group’s mandolin player and senior member.


After two songs that spotlight his emotive vocals and original songwriting, mandolin master and Grascals founder Danny Roberts returns with “My Brown Eyed Darling,” a new single that not only features a guest singer in wife and bassist Andrea Roberts — that’s a 1994 photo of her on the cover — but offers an organic example of the way songs from the bluegrass canon resonate across the decades.

“I’ve always loved this old song, written by Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Paul Williams and recorded originally by The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers in the early 1950s,” says Danny. “Larry Sparks recorded it, too, back in the 1980s. However, my favorite version was by my wife, Andrea, singing it back in the 1990s with her band, Petticoat Junction. When we started working on the album songs and jammed on ‘My Brown Eyed Darling,’ I knew immediately that we had to cut it — even though I had to twist her arm a little bit. She absolutely nails this vocal in her very traditional bluegrass-y way, and I love the groove of the track.”

Indeed, this husband-wife version follows Petticoat Junction’s lead by taking the song — a lament that begins with the memorable couplet, “I’ll never forget the morning you left me/I tried to smile, but instead I cried” — at a more measured pace and downbeat-heavy “mash” feel. With the solid playing of Andrea’s bass and Danny’s mandolin augmented by booming guitar and knowing banjo from long-time colleague Tony Wray, alongside bluesy, moaning fiddle from former Grascal Adam Haynes, this “My Brown Eyed Darling” is a true family affair, as daughter Jaelee Roberts — a Mountain Home Music Company recording artist in her own right and member of the label’s latest signing, Sister Sadie — adds a searing harmony vocal that puts the final detail on a recording that hits all the touch points of traditional, yet modern bluegrass.
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  • Profile Last Updated:
    10/11/23 09:51:40

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