Photo courtesy of so much MOORE Media
Grascals guitarist/vocalist Jamie Johnson, who co-wrote the song with wife Susanne Mumpower-Johnson and fiddler Jenee Fleenor, says he has felt that magic since he first saw the "I Am" board at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Right in the middle of the board -- filled with messages from young patients completing the sentence that begins with "I am" -- were the words that would become the song title.
"The bottom line when we did the video was we wanted to convey the message in the song," Jamie tells The Boot of the video, which also features the Grascals' long-time mentor, Dolly Parton, and several young patients at the hospital. "The main thing was that we didn't want to take away from the children. The whole reason for this is the children."
Watch the exclusive premiere of 'I Am Strong' below.
A portion of the proceeds from the song 'I Am Strong' -- one version recorded with the cast of the video and another version recorded with all the guests on the band's CD, 'The Grascals + Friends: Country Classics With a Bluegrass Spin' -- will go to the hospital. The song and album are scheduled for January 10 release as part of the exclusive music series by Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.
The Grascals and their young video co-stars filmed most of the video in the temple at the research hospital, not far from where founder Danny Thomas and his late wife Rose Marie are interred. Dolly took a break from recording her as yet untitled album with Queen Latifah -- scheduled to be released next year -- and filmed her portion of the video at her own studio, says Jamie.
"We interacted with the children and their parents and it was just a magical moment," says Jamie of the band's 1 1/2 days at the Hospital. "Hopefully this song will take off and help us raise money to fight the battle ... Hopefully these kids will live forever."