If you like Kenny Chesney and contemporary country music...you will HATE Grant Peeples. If you watch Duck Dynasty or American Idol, you won't enjoy Grant Peeples' music. If you voted for George Bush, this is probably not your singer/songwriter. If you don't believe in global warming, you probably aren't going to believe this guy. If you don't know what a metaphor is...just move on to somebody else. HERE'S THE SKINNY A new release called "Punishing the Myth" Gurf Morlix (yea, that IS his real name) produces There's a Side A and Side B (go figure) A Greg Brown song, trumpets, B-3 organs A state execution duet with Eliza Gilkyson A vehement poem: "High Octane Generation" A love song to a long-dead lesbian aunt A Texas diatribe: "It's too Late to Live in Austin" A 'who-the-hell-is-that?' chick singer: it's Sarah Mac A Buddhist's epiphany and a patriot's lament A soft stab at nostalgia with an M-1 carbine HERE IT IS SONG BY SONG SIDE A 1 You're a Slave to Your Imagination The artist's muse is the stuff of poetic legend, but nobody talks about the 'anti-muse.' She's the one that whispers in your ear that you are wasting time and gasoline; that nobody wants to hear the shit you're singing, that your pursuit of audience with song is vain and frivolous. This is a duet, song with Sarah Mac. Longineu Parsons plays a coronet that he got from Cannonball Adderly. Taking a cue from Tom Waits...there's only one chord in the entire song. 2. Who Woulda Thunk It? The only cover tune on the record. A 1985 song from Greg Brown. I updated the imagery some, wrote a bridge, and made it a duet that Gurf Morlix sings with me. 3. The New American Dream The title of the record lies is imbeded herein. 4. The Morning after the Coup My favorite song on the record. The one that was most difficult to write, to not let it run off the page in the process. 5. She was a Wildflower A love song with the opening line: 'When ever I see a wildflower I remember watching her swing from the barrel of and M-1 rifle.' SIDE B 6. Aunt Lou We all knew about my grandmother's sister, Aunt Lou. And nobody ever said a word about it. 'The truth wasn't something we ever even whispered, and so we just buried it with her.' 7. The Hanging This is allegory. Of course. A duet with Eliza Gilkyson. Since a very early age I have had this innate and visceral understanding that the execution of a citizen by the state was just wrong. 8. Training in the Charnel Ground. In Tibet, when you die, they can't bury you because the ground is always frozen. So they take your body to the Charnel Ground and let the buzzards and jackals feed on it. And it is here they take young monks to challenge their ability not to run when the going gets tough. I took this metaphor and tried to apply it to being an artist in the modern world. 9. High Octane Generation A poem I wrote as an allegory to Baby Boomers, a generation who had so much within reach....and then reached for something else. 10. I Can't Imagine Him Carrying a Carbine An ode to millennials, progeny of the Baby Boomers, a soft, sequestered generation with soft hands and weak shoulders. 11. It's Too Late to Live in Austin This is a talking blues of sorts. The only song on the record that was done in front of a live audience. Sarah Mac sings the small but important part of a woman presently on her way out of town. HERE THE BIO ON GRANT I was born in Tallahassee in 1957. It was there I learned to crawl and walk and talk and ride a bike, tie my shoes. I went to school and learned to read well and spell badly, and to crawl under the desk when Khrushchev fired a missile at us. I hunted, fished, rode horses, read books about Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln. By the time I was twelve I had learned the words to every Roger Miller song. Then I grew some hair, raced motorcycles, smoked pot, threw a cast net for mullet in the wee hours, scribbled a lot of bad poetry. Kissed a girl or two. Life was linear. Days were cards dealt mechanically from the top of the deck, pages turned in a cosmic novel, replete with plot and intrigue, and mystery and campy dialogue that I started to take a liking to. One day just birthed another, like amoebas under the microscope in science class. The shear exigency of it all warranted a big smile, and I gave the world one. There were textures and colors, and they all found their rightful places on the big canvass that kept rolling out before me like a big throw rug. I didn't understand much of it at all, but still-somehow- it all made sense. Even the war that was going on at the time. Then one day, around 1972, my friend Hugh Roche rode over to my house on his Bultaco motorcycle with a guitar strapped to the back fender and played "Desolation Row" and "Just Like a Woman" and "Girl of the North Country," and I was forever and irrevocably changed. I could sense the magic; BLACK magic. After that, everything-I mean every God damned thing-was different. Especially me. That whole sensible linear cosmology I had embraced so naturally was transformed into a metaphoric island hub, where I stood with a thousand roads before me, spoking and forking and forking again into infinite space, challenging and confounding the grasp of my newly hatched imagination. The colors, the textures, the meanings of words were all now immediately subjective. It was revelatory to the point of vertigo. I saw ideas as the mortar mix of my inner identity, the defining components of something I tentatively called my soul. Activities, and actions were the bricks held together by this mortar, forming astute walls that separated the good from the bad, truth from lie, redemption from oblivion. I was fifteen years old. And in a word, what I felt was a budding responsibility-the cornerstone of artistic sensibility. But I wasn't smiling like had been before. It wasn't too long after all this that I picked up a guitar and started writing my own songs. They weren't any good but it didn't matter cause nobody really heard them except for me. All around me people I knew were joining bands, painstakingly learning guitar riffs, bass lines and the popular hits, playing out and doing that scene, but I wasn't pulled to that. All I cared about were the songs. I studied other peoples' songs like Torah, but didn't really learn any to such a degree as I could play them start to finish. I wasn't after that. No, as soon as I heard a song I liked, I took it apart, just like some dope kid who gets a new bike for his birthday, and then starts unbolting and unscrewing it before he ever takes it for a ride. Some years went by. I was serious about songs, but in a lighter moment I wrote a horribly vulgar one about a fat girl. I don't know where it came from. But by way of boats and the Bahamas and my brother and a story too long to tell, Hank Cochran heard the song and said, "Hell, come to Nashville and I'll introduce you to the folks around Tree Publishing." I was finishing college at the time, so I moved to Nashville. The day I was driving into the city, pulling a U-haul trailer, the radio jock said: "Here's a brand new one from George Jones." And he played "He Stopped Loving Her Today." I realized just how far I had to go, could see in a flash how much I didn't know. But I kept driving. Hank introduced me around at Tree, just like he said he'd do, but everywhere I went I was known as the guy that "wrote the song about the fat girl." I couldn't shake it. It was like this curse I brought upon myself by trying to be cute. (I've never forgotten this lesson.) I went to a song-pull one night at Dave Kirby's house and I played the fat girl song. People laughed. I saw tears in Whitey Shafer's eyes. Later on that night, when I squeezed in an opportunity to play again, everybody insisted I play that song again. I left Nashville the year after I got there. A few years down the road I owned a night club that did live music. We had everybody come through there, from BB King to the Judds, The Temptations to George Straight, Jerry Lee Lewis to Dionne Warwick. I was still writing songs, but I was pretty much keeping them to myself. I kept thinking maybe I ought to pitch my songs to some of these people I was hiring to play in my club, but I only did that once, and that was to Bonnie Raitt. She wrote me a nice little note on a photo she gave me, saying "I liked your songs.' Yea, right. Jerry Jeff Walker was playing one night, and I went to the airport to pick him up. I had a tape of a couple of my songs there in the truck that I was going to play for him. But after I picked him up we talked about fishing and I didn't put the tape in or say anything to him about it. Jerry Jeff wrote the song 'Mr. Bojangles. Maybe that's why I didn't push my tape in. I did do a show there at my club one Sunday night. Got a bunch of my local musician friends to play a long set of my songs. I didn't sing any myself because I wanted to be able to sit out in the audience and see what they sounded like. I wanted to know if they worked. They were okay. Then it was over. And shortly after that I went flat ass broke in the night club business. A few years after that, I spent some time with my old friends from the Wakulla Band. Snorri, Susan and Will Solburg, who had a recording studio in Sopchoppy called the Possum Club. We laid down some tracks of some things I had written. Will, a metaphysical bass player with a possum grin, was very encouraging to me. "You got something," he told me "You need to just go on and a make a record." He offered the studio and the time of the band, but shortly after that I moved to a remote island in the Caribbean off the Coast of Nicaragua. I moved there for various and sundry reasons. Mostly, it was an experiment. But I figured it would be a great place to write songs: no phones, no cars, no distractions. I took my Martin guitar with me when I made the move in 1995. Unbeknownst to me, I was beginning the longest non-songwriting period of my life. Go figure. Then fast forward ten years. I started thinking about songs again, and so opened the case of my guitar. It was ugly in there. The bridge was pulled up, the neck twisted, the tuners were so rusty I couldn't turn them. Too many years of salt air, tropical heat and humidity. I thought the guitar might be ruined but I decided I would take it with me on a trip back to the States to see about getting it fixed. By then, I had started writing some stuff down again. Not songs, not even ideas for songs, really, but images and phrases, word associations, word rhythms, some couplets, the mechanical nuts and bolts that build songs. I could feel something beginning to stir again, and like an explorer gathering provisions, I was assembling things that I knew I could use on the journey. Maybe. I had also started wondering about some of the stuff we had laid down at the Possum Club, which was the last work I had done. I had no copies of anything we recorded during those weekends we had worked down there. But there was a song I had written called "The Well" that I remembered us recording. Susan had sung it, and though I couldn't remember the words or the melody I still knew, somehow, the song. And I wanted to get to it, to see if it had survived and--subconsciously, I believe-I was thinking it might serve as a kind of jumping-on place for me to start writing again. A month after opening that sad guitar case I was in the States for a couple of weeks. The day before I went back to the island I called Will Solburg. It had been a couple of years since we had seen each other, over ten since we had done the recording. We talked, caught up on things. He asked if I had been writing and I told him no, (which was kind of a lie) but that it was starting to feel like I might again soon. Will laughed at that. I told him I had been thinking of a song we had done ten years back at the Possum Club called "The Well," asked if he thought there might still be a tape of it in the studio, that if so, I'd like to hear it because I didn't have the words and the melody was gone, too. He said he remembered the song. And then right there on the phone, ten years since he himself had heard the song, Will sang that song to me. I was stunned. A week later, when I was back on the island, I got an email telling me that Will was gone. Killed by a drunk driver on the way home from the Possum Club. When Snorri wrote, he said that before his brother had gotten in his truck to leave that night, they had dug up the tape that had "The Well" on it, and they had played it. The impact was as physical as it was emotional. I'm not superstitious, but I believe in signs. And I took all this as one. That very day my wife was on the way to Managua, the capital, to do some shopping. I asked her to bring me a guitar. Any guitar. She bought one for $100 and brought it back to the island. Within a year, I had moved back to the States. I haven't done an honest day's work since. And this is now my fifth studio record "Punishing the Myth."
1) You're a Slave to Your Imagination
2) Who Woulda Thunk It?
3) The New American Dream
4) The Morning After the Coup
5) She Was a Wildflower
6) Aunt Lou
7) The Hanging
8) Training in the Charnel Ground
9) High Octane Generation (A Poem for Jimmy Roche)
10) I Can't Imagine Him Carrying a Carbine
11) It's Too Late to Live in Austin