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.
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.
If you stayed home and watched the “debate,” you missed out on the most glorious alt night of the season. Gram InterNational 2012 Chicago raised the bar. Ernie Hendrickson opened as the only solo performer, and I knew his songs and guitar style would fill the room and they did (and to me emphasized Gram’s folk period and songwriting). The Lawless Brothers proved to be one of the best country rock bands I’ve seen anywhere, period. Rivals of the Peacemaker and Majors Junction, wow; the former, jaw-dropping composition and execution, the latter one of the best times I’ve ever heard and seen. Trevor and Steve of the Hoyle Bros put a period on the night by covering a host of Gram material; probably the best thoroughly engaging duo I’d ever seen accomplishing so much with just vox/guitar and dobro. And of course Donna Frost and her “Chi-band,” what can I say about this great road warrior that I haven’t said. Martyrs’ may be our new home in Chicagoland.
Can’t wait for this year’s events (2013), celebrating 40 years since Gram’s first solo release and honoring him 40 Years Gone©.
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