Our sixth year in Nashville was glorious. Two full nights of bands and singer songwriters, all solidly in the legacy of this group’s namesake on the 40th year of his passing. Along with Gram covers, an extraordinary level of individual and group talent was displayed. This after that Wednesday’s wonderful Gram InterNational 10 x 3 Cleveland, hosted by Brent Kirby at Brothers Lounge, with just a travel day between.
I was lucky to have my daughter Kira Meade in tow for a second year, so between us we captured quite a bit of video clips. Last year I built a page here to display them. This year I began one, then realized how much easier if would be to just link to my Gram InterNational YouTube channel, rather than all that copy and pasting embed code. Additionally, video from our Toronto show this year resides on the same page, as well as past shows from Boston and Chicago.
So, here you go, enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/user/graminternational/videos
Of course it’s still all for the cause of inducting Gram Parsons into the Country Music Hall of Fame. As Tommy Hall demonstrates here, they left an empty spot next to Emmylou’s plaque all set for his! http://gramparsonspetition.com, over 11,000 signers so far.
What is Gram InterNational? Well, it’s an annual international festival to recognize the genre-bending musical contributions of a man who died 40 years ago this year but who seems to have more fans with each new generation.
Who was this artist?
Clues: He’s consistently listed in Rolling Stones’ “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” but one of only a handful on that list not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He died 40 years ago but made cover stories in two of the premiere music magazines first thing this year (Uncut and Mojo). He has had more books written about him than just about any person in history who died by age 26. And there is a petition to induct him into the Country Music Hall of Fame with over 8,600 signatures and comments so far from ardent fans around the world.
The answer: Cecil Ingram Connors III, better known to the knowing as Gram Parsons. This year marks 40 years since his first solo album release (GP), and his death and posthumous release of his final masterpiece Grievous Angel.
Gram Parsons InterNational is purposely not labeled a “tribute” concert in that, while you’ll hear plenty of Gram’s songs, bands are chosen that are judged to be in the legacy of this seminal artist and what he was trying to do, and bands are considered that have followed in his footsteps.
All that sounds a bit arcane. There is nothing arcane about a Gram InterNational. It’s one of the biggest parties of the year. We are Critic’s Pick every year in Nashville; and we’ve received nothing but glowing reviews and comments in every city that has been so gracious to host our events.
On the long drive home from Nashville (2011), the year Gram would have turned 65, with the endless November landscape of Ohio rushing by me, and perhaps a few truckers, kickers and cowboy angels, I began thinking about how much I’ve learned from the past four years, and especially the three one-night festivals I organized and managed within a couple months this fall in Toronto, Boston and Music City USA. I also began to think about all the good though similar questions asked from bands, fans and venues. By the time I was skirting Cleveland, I decided it was time to put it all together in one place, especially for bands interested in playing and for venues to clarify the concept and what’s involved (and not involved) in such a one-night festival, and discuss needs and expectations from both sides. That is now the Want to Play page here; all interested performers should read it.
Gram InterNational V (2012), Nashville’s fifth consecutive annual festival commemorating Gram Parsons and the Petition to Induct him into the Country Music Hall of Fame, was a tremendous success. Bands included: James Scott Bullard & the Late Night Sweethearts w/ guest vocalist Rebecca Morning, Harmondale, The Burritos w/ Walter Egan, Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels, Donna Frost, Rich Mahan & the Cocktail Heroes, The Devious Angels, Chris James & The Gram Band, and special guest Bob Buchanan, Gram’s bandmate with the International Submarine Band and co-author with Gram of “Hickory Wind.” Jock Bartley of Gram’s Fallen Angels tour and guitarist for Firefall was there and gave us quite a show. Author Bob Kealing’s new book “Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock” provided the theme of the show. The title of that book was also the theme of 2012′s Gram InterNationals. Video of Nashville show at: http://www.nodepression.com/group/gramparsonsprojectBB/forum/topics/video-clips-from-gram-international-v-nashville-more-to-come.
Performers at Gram Parsons InterNational VI Nashville:
Jock Bartley (Firefall, Gram’s Fallen Angels) w/ his band inc. Rick Shell, ex of Pure Prairie League).
The Burrito Brothers®.
Zach Ryan & the Renegades
The Devious Angels.
Ray Harris & the BSOBs.
Rich Mahan & the Cocktail Heroes.
Charlie Pate & Friends.
Jerry Mincey (childhood friend of Gram’s and Florida singer/songwriter).
Main deal, sign here: http://gramparsonspetition.com! (Hint, especially bands that may want to play a GIN one day; it has a look-up feature!)
Why? See here: Nomination Proposal to Induct Gram Parsons Into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Also, more discussion links on right of pages.
Cheers, Will James