Saluda songwriter scores number one hit on national charts

Published 12:16 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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By Reen Smith


Well-known singer-songwriter James Metcalf of Saluda, a descendant of some of Polk County’s earliest pioneers, and no stranger to the area’s music scene, scored a number one hit on the Bluegrass Today National Bluegrass Gospel Charts in early September.


His composition, ”The Devil’s Not Afraid of a Dust Covered Bible,” was released in July of this year as the new nationwide single for Cowpens-based bluegrass group, The King James Boys, who themselves are no strangers to the top of the bluegrass charts. The group previously scored two other number one hits on the chart.


The single was released by Pine Castle Records, relocated here in Polk county, by founder Tom Riggs from Orlando-Pine-Castle Records, one of the top labels in bluegrass and roots music. The song has also had its place on other charts in various postilions, including Cash-Box PRX, David Pugh’s Mountain Bluegrass Chart Weekly Top 12, where it was number one for two weeks.


Metcalf explains he wrote the song around 20 years ago and has recorded it with his previous group, The Green River Boys, and also on “Victory Day,” his 2019 solo CD.


The multi-talented musician served as a local radio personality for 25 years on WJFJ, Columbus- WWQT Tryon, as the Morning Drive Personality, and was nominated in 2004 and 2005 as one of the Top Ten Small Market DJs in Southern Gospel Music, according to Singing News Magazine. He has performed with the Bluegrass groups Green River Boys and Colt Creek in the region, performing in over 200 venues in the past.


He is also the author of over 200 songs, some of which have been recorded by other nationally-known groups including The Great Physicians Hand, recorded by Mike Upright in 2010, which peaked at number 18 in the Singing News Gospel Charts. The single spent almost a year in the top 40 and was also recorded on the Dove-nominated CD, “Snow-Covered Mound,” by the Principles in 2005. 


“The Devil’s Not Afraid of a Dust-Covered Bible” is now being widely-played worldwide on XM’s station Bluegrass Junction, as well as their Enlighten Channel and other Bluegrass and Gospel stations across the nation and world.


Metcalf and friends will be performing locally, this Friday, September 30, 5-7 p.m., at The Meeting Place Senior Center in Columbus, at a $10 Fish Fry Fundraiser for Polk County Meals on Wheels. He invites all to come join in the fun.