Rick Diamond, WireImage
"When I was a kid if the weather was just right we could hear WSM [AM] playing," Steven tells The Boot. "My dad would tune it in. We'd be driving home from the store and I remember him saying, 'Son, that's the Grand Ole Opry!' You'd hear Lester Flatt or Bill Monroe play their songs and my dad said, 'That's where music comes from right there!'"
Deep Roots was a labor of love for Steven, a five-time Grammy winner, who is the Gospel Music Association's most awarded artist with 57 Dove Awards to his credit. In addition to his dad and brother, the album also features Steven's son Caleb, his daughter-in-law Jillian Edwards Chapman (who is married to his son Will Franklin) and longtime friend Ricky Skaggs.
"I always said, 'One of these days I'm going to make a bluegrass record,'" says Steven, who co-produced the project Brent Milligan. "It's such a part of me, so I finally gave myself permission to go, 'I'm putting banjo on every part of this record, and fiddle and mandolin and dobro. Every song is going to have three part harmony.' It's all that music that I grew up with, listening to my dad playing with the Village Singers every Friday night at Kentucky Lake."
The album features such beloved hymns as "Blessed Assurance," "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and "How Great Thou Art" as well as some of Steven's classics, including "His Eyes" and "Cinderella." Steven, his dad and brother also join forces on the Bill Gaither classic "He Touched Me." "I'm so excited that people will get to hear my dad sing," Steven says of the project. "He's a great singer. In his day, he could have given Glen Campbell a run for his money. He had that real smooth voice. He's a crooner. The women would be weeping when he sang 'Green, Green Grass of Home.'"
It's that voice that fans will get to hear for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. "To think I stood on that same stage for so many Dove Awards," Steven continues. "My dad has watched me receive Dove awards and perform on the Opry a couple of times. To think I'm going to get to do that with my dad, that's really a special gift for me, and honestly I feel like I have Cracker Barrel to thank because they gave me the opportunity to do that."
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