By Floyd Whiting
Via Wyoming News Exchange
BUFFALO — On Friday nights, David Stewart sits behind a mic alone with his guitar at the Occidental Saloon. His backdrop is a wall covered in photos of friends and performers who have performed with him over the years. Last Friday, a new memory was added to the wall a gold record.
Stewart earned the gold record for writing "Why Can't Bluegrass Be True Grass Again," performed by bluegrass artist Lorraine Jordan and her band, Carolina Road.
The track spent four months on the top of the Bluegrass Survey. The monthly survey is released by Bluegrass Unlimited, a magazine dedicated to all things bluegrass.The recording released also featured prominent bluegrass musicians Junior Sisk, Danny Paisley and
When Jordan invited Stewart to a presentation in Raleigh, North Carolina, he wasn't sure he could make it. Stewart owns and operates the Occidental Hotel, and he's been busy getting ready for his summer season.
"When she told me that date, I thought, 'You know, that's before the season so I can definitely make it down there,’” Stewart said.
Stewart expected to be given a small plaque in celebration of the song’s success, but Stewart came home with more than that. During the celebration in Raleigh, Jordan presented Stewart with a full-size golden record.
Stewart wrote “Why Can’t Bluegrass Be True Grass Again” in his apartment at the Occidental. The song was the title track of Jordan’s album, “True Grass Again.” The band was also presented a golden record from Pinecastle Records.
“I love the fact that I can put it here in the saloon here in Buffalo and know that I wrote that song right here in the Occidental,” Stewart said.
Writing a successful song takes more than just talent, it takes knowing the right artist to make the song great, Stewart said. Stewart starts his song writing process by finding a subject he is passionate about. For his song, “Why Can’t Bluegrass Just Be True Grass Again?” it was all about tradition.
Known as the “Lady of Tradition,” Jordan has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, has two national No. 1 hits and won bluegrass song of the year in 2015.
Stewart and Jordan have collaborated before, and it was after they had finished another song
that Stewart decided to share the new title with Jordan.
“I laid it down with just a guitar and vocals in my apartment,” Stewart said. “I sent it to her, and she got back with me right away.”
She understood the message clearly and felt that it was the right song for the times.
“I don’t think that bluegrass should be changed drastically,” Jordan said. “It is sacred. Bluegrass has always been true to its roots, and we’re getting away from that. So when David put this song together and offered it to me, it’s exactly how I feel about the music.”
Stewart said he chose the perfect woman to sing his bluegrass anthem and is grateful to the other big names that collaborated as well.
“Without Junior, without Danny, without Randy and without Lorraine, this gold record would not have been possible,” Stewart said. “When I sent that song to Lorraine, she was the one I knew could take ‘True Grass’ if anybody could.”