“Well the trailer smells like cat piss.”
As I prepare to write this blog about the upcoming Grant Peeples Alien Carnival House Concert at my house on June 13, I realize that I have become an evangelist for Grant Peeples. I hope this blog can explain why.
Earlier this year I had never heard of Grant. Right before I went to Thomasville, GA for the funeral of a close friend, I found someone on Facebook who lived there and was sponsoring an amazing house concert featuring Sam Baker and Gurf Morlix with Grant Peeples opening. I had seen Sam Baker and heard of Gurf Morlix, but not Grant. Out of curiosity, I contacted Donna Mavity, the woman bringing this amazing music to the small town. She invited us to drop by, so May and I went to visit her. She gifted us with three CDs recorded by Grant. Since my iPod was broken, I put them all three in the cd changer for the return trip to Columbia.
Now at first I was not sure what to think about Grant. His vocal phrasing and rhythm is not what one would call conventional. I remarked to May that I was not sure how people sang with him, although they seemed to do just fine. Long pauses at unusual times, words seemed almost out of place, and a rough and gravely voice which drove the words home. Drove them home hard.
As has often been my experience, you have to keep listening to something until you “get” it, especially if it is not like anything you have heard before. He started to get my attention when he opened a song with the lyrics, “Leaving her was easy, once she done throwed all my shit out in the yard.” Alright Grant, you got my attention. And I identified with him even more when he said, “I know why the poets drink and smoke, shoot dope and die young. At least poets used to. Nowadays you can’t count on poets much.” That struck a nerve with me for sure. I mean he was putting it out there,. For example –-“I don’t think much of you poets these days.” Then, the next song came on, Real Country with its opening lyrics, “Well the trailer smells like cat piss.” Now that sounded like real country to me.
So, on the car ride I became a convert and a lover of Grant Peeples’ songs because they are real, they are gritty and they are as honest as any music I have ever heard. The phrasing and rhythm to his songs at first threw me off. Then I realized it was the rhythm and phrasing of his soul.
Fortunately, I got to see him perform at Springfest in March of 2012. (Met him at the urinal in the bath house that morning. Can you say “Awkward!”) Seeing him play his songs live and in person was another revelation. Grant Peeples puts all of himself into the presentation of his children, the songs. It is personal. It is down to the bone. It is, to borrow from myself, Real Music.
Which leads me back to my duty as an evangelist – to get the good news out to Columbia. I hope to convince Columbia’s songwriters and lovers of good music that if you are not present at this concert, you are going to miss an opportunity which you will regret. It is not my nature to tell another songwriter she needs to listen to someone or hear a particular artist, but in this instance I am telling you. Be here on Wednesday, June 13.
Grant Peeples has released five albums since 2007. His biography on his web site tells the story of his journey and it is an interesting journey which includes ten years of not writing a song. His albums are:
- 2007 Down Here in the County
- 2008 It’s Later Than You Think
- 2009 Pawnshop
- 2011 Okra and Ecclesiastes
- 2012 Prior Convictions
The songs on these albums cover a lot of ground. They describe very well a liberal and free thinker’s life in a conservative South and in the uncertain times post 9/11. These songs also tell the stories of those people who live in the rural areas of the Florida panhandle. He reflects a slice of this life very accurately, right down to the smell of the cat piss.
So, what am I preaching about is just a simple house concert. However, if you fail to attend, you will regret it. Maybe not today, but soon. Very soon. Cause Grant Peeples is real and so much more than just country. He is a shining hope for the possibility of the future of our country expressed through honest music. As Grant says, “My people come from the dirt … Okra and Ecclesiastes.”
Date: June 13, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM, music at 7:00 PM
Reservations are required. For reservations call or email Bentz Kirby at:
Suggested donation, $15 and 100% goes to Grant Peeples