The Grass Cats Say Farewell


Members of The Grass Cats - 3 standing side by side behind a bench, 2 sitting on the wooden bench, outdoors in front of a  brick building. All 5 men wear dark pants and button down shirts in various shades of blue.For more than 20 years, The Grass Cats have combined the finest qualities of traditional and contemporary bluegrass in well crafted original songs and thoughtfully chosen covers. The Cats have always approached their music with a dynamism and attention to detail that’s resulted in a strong fan base and a catalog of critically acclaimed recordings - including five top 10 CDs, several charting songs and several number one singles, including, “The Old School Road,” the title track from their last album. They also played at The Grand Ole Opry earlier this year!

Late last month, The Grass Cats announced that their final show will be on Thursday, December 14 as part of the Bluegrass Kinda Christmas Festival in Raleigh. More information and tickets are available online at, or you can call the box office at 252-423-3039.

If you’re not planning to go to that event, your last chance to catch the band live all together will be at Mac’s Tavern in Cary this Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. Reservations are strongly recommended for this show - call Mac’s Tavern at 919-467-4114.

We wish all the band members the best in their future endeavors, and thank them for sharing their terrific music on various PineCone stages over the years as part of their travels. From The Grass Cats’ statement: “The Grass Cats will play their final show on December 14th at the Bluegrass Christmas festival in Raleigh. It was a hard decision. The Cats have prowled the stages of North Carolina and beyond for over twenty years, playing well over 1000 shows and recording nine CDs along the way. A hearty thanks to all the venues and folks that have booked us, our spouses and significant others that have been there for us as we played the music we love, and most of all the fans that supported us by attending our shows, buying our music and making it worthwhile. ... Thanks again for a really fun twenty years.”

Fiddler Chris Hill said, “I’ve played music for 35+ years so turning off the switch will be difficult.  I’ll see what opportunities arise and go from there. If nothing else, my wife and three children will keep me busy.”

Banjo player Rick Lafleur will continue to play periodically with Tommy Edwards and Alice Zincone in Carolina Lightnin’, as well as in a variety of other ensembles as opportunities arise. “It’s been great playing and recording music with the Cats over the past 8 years. I’ll miss it for sure. I’m still excited about bluegrass so I’ll be looking for opportunities to play and record the music I love.”

Guitar player and vocalist Bailey Coe will join Sideline as their new lead singer and will appear on the band’s upcoming Mountain Home recording.

Tim Woodall will still be co-hosting the PineCone Bluegrass Radio Show (alternating weeks with Larry Nixon), and he’s looking forward to spending more time with his daughter and granddaughter.

Band co-founder Russell Johnson said, “...For sure it’s kind of sad and was a really hard decision to make. Twenty years is a long time and I am really proud of what the Cats accomplished, but it was just a good time to bow out. You’ll still see some of the members in different bands and I’ll be out with Diamond Creek. I hope to play more guitar and bass along the way and maybe even do production (run sound or mix) for folks.”

Diamond Creek is starting their sixth year together, and they have plans to release their second CD in 2018. And with the new year, Diamond Creek will be taking over the first Thursday show at Mac’s Tavern in Cary. The Grass Cats were there for 164 months (more than 13 years)! Those monthly shows will maintain the same format: 7:30-10:30, no cover, outside weather permitting. Look for Diamond Creek at Mac’s Tavern on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018!