"Rollicking original compositions inspired by our musical heroes from the days of yore".

Grampadrew’s sound is a mixture of country, punk, indie rock and folk... alongside grampadrew, cellist Dr. Erin Browder rocks. Literally. And rocks hard.

Make sure to see Grampadrew, the project of local singer-songwriter Drew Douglas. He recently dropped an album of lush, reflective folk-rock that features contributions from a bunch of great San Diego musicians. -If I Were U: Recommended shows

Singing from the top of his lungs, “I will give you all I have,” Drew Douglas opens the Grampadrew album Cut From the Cloth with a bold declaration.  And for the next 13 songs, he manages to follow through on this decree by presenting a personal journey through a landscape that is not only easy and accessible to follow, but one that entertains on many levels. I like the way a soft violin segway from Marta Zaludova (Transfer, Republic of Letters, Silent Comedy) opens up the second number “Paper Hurricane.” If the declaration of the first song came wrapped in a passionate vocal statement, then “Paper Hurricane” represents the compass on the road map. The second track points squarely at the foundation of Cut From the Cloth. The album is built on Drew Douglas’ passionately delivered lyrics and vocals, classically trained cello from Erin Browder, stirring, gripping, lovely violin from Marta Zaludova, and the steady beat of Matt Lynott (White Buffalo) on drums.

Grampadrew

Within the first three songs you start to get a taste for Douglas’ vocals. His tone can be a spot dry and his delivery slow, but after a few listens it has a way of sneaking up on you and drawing you in, especially on the fourth track “Myra Says” where Douglas’ vocals are wrapped in a moving string arrangement that demands you pay attention.  The stirring acoustic number builds gradually before slowing into a perfectly placed gripping middle, creating one of the best tracks on the album.

Halfway through the record on track six “Only Kids,” Douglas unexpectedly jerks the wheel and sends the first part of the record off down a more rollicking up tempo path. The song’s universal message about war seems a little forced and maybe a bit trivial, though the pace shift works to create some space in the record. It’s obvious Douglas is putting together an album that is more than just a few singles flung together in hopes of harmony. Cut From the Cloth works as an album, meant to be played in it’s entirety and enjoyed as a whole.

The second half of the record starts with “Above Beneath” and serves as a line in the sand; one that puts the album back on track and flings the door wide towards its triumphant finish. Douglas opens up his vocals and delivers one of his most touching performances.  It’s almost like he was just teasing us earlier on in the record, giving us a peek at his vocal range, and is now saying here comes the grand finale. Stand out lyrics, stand out vocals, and a stand out delivery really push this song to the forefront of the album’s best. Two songs later a trumpet announces “Undersized T-Shirt,” an innocent frolic down memory lane. “Skinny kid in an undersized T-Shirt/showing off my geek physique/I don’t care if you think I’m popular/if I’m uncool, I’ll wear it on my sleeve/and hang out with the other kids/in their undersized shirts like me.” “Undersized T-Shirt” has the most pop accessibility and would work as a great single on the record without giving away any of the depth this record personifies.

Grampadrew

As the album gets close to its finish, Douglas works up a Johnny Cash delivery on the title track “Cut From the Cloth” as a nice tribute to his grandfather. It’s one that’s pushed along eloquently by another Marta Zaludova violin piece and a nice touch of a nylon string classical guitar. “I put on my grandfather’s shirt/ and it fit me to a tee/ there’s more to that man than I will ever know/ inside of me.”

Obviously there is more to Grampadrew also, and Cut From the Cloth gives a good glimpse into this San Diego musician’s wealth of talent.  The 13-song collection has a way of latching onto you, leaving you with a handful of memorable melodies and an appreciation of the heart felt lyrics that are not easy to ignore.

Recording session photography for Cut From The Cloth provided by Jeff Wiant 

 

 

“I’m a singer-songwriter with alt-country leanings, but a punk rock spirit,” says acoustic troubadour Grampadrew, aka Drew Douglas. “Think John Prine and Neil Young, jamming on a sawdust-floor hoedown with Wilco.” Grampadrew was nominated Best Alt Country and Best Songwriter at the 2008 San Diego HAT (Honoring Acoustic Talent) Awards.

"Grampadrew began as a screen name when I worked as a chat moderator for Napster servers. Actually, for their open-nap server equivalents, who were run, DIY style, from people's bedrooms all across the world. It was that experience, and the revolutionary free exchange of music through mp3s that reignited my passion for playing music. The concept of direct distribution, without major record labels, lured me back into performing and recording, which I had turned my back on for nearly 10 years."

"In the spirit of that free exchange, and the idealism and promise that, unlike Metallica and the RIAA, I would always allow people to access my music and trade it as they see fit, I will be giving away my entire record in MP3 format."

Every day, starting on Monday, September 3rd, Grampadrew is providing on his Facebook page a link to a song, along with a story surrounding it. "13 songs. 13 stories. 13 days. The last song and story will conclude on September 15, and will culminate with a live show at the Whistlestop [on Fern Street], for the San Diego Music Thing."

http://www.facebook.com/grampadrew

You can listen to and read about Monday's song "All I Have" athttp://soundcloud.com/grampadrew/grampadrew-01-all-i-have-1/s-F7xi6

Douglas cut his teeth performing at the Whistlestop. “Sam the owner is fantastic about supporting and nurturing the local scene, so they pretty much put South Park on the map with the arts. And I mean no disrespect to Judy the Beauty on Duty, the proprietor of the Big Kitchen who worked tirelessly for decades to better our community, pretty much alone.”

He took a shot at forming a local-based record label, mainly for his own releases, though he found the music biz still clinging desperately to the near-obsolete major label model of A&R “discovery and development. “I was sitting at a lunch counter at LAX on my way to Austin for SXSW, and my label at that point was just a website and a fancy business card. To my right is Jeff Buckley’s mom, on the phone with the President of Sony Records negotiating the release of her son’s box set. Between phone calls, she asks for my fancy business card and insists I call her Mary.”

“On the flight, Mary tells me about a show I have to go to. When I arrive at the gig, she isn’t there, but everyone keeps staring at me and clapping with suspicious enthusiasm, all the while looking back at me and smiling and nodding. Finally, the singer’s manager walks up to me and says ‘Mary told us you were coming,’ and starts pitching his band to me like I’m the head of Capitol Records. I handed out my fancy business card, waited until nobody was looking, and slipped out as quietly and inconspicuously as possible.”

As for non-musical endeavors, he says “I'm a registered Reverend who’s performed five weddings and a funeral. That’s one more than the movie Four Weddings and Funeral. So far.”

His ministerial cred comes into play with Monday's song and story for "All I Have," which -- eventually -- concerns a local celebrity musical couple of sorts...

"An acoustic balladeer who sings direct, honest music delivered alternatively with the fire of a street preacher or the quiet of a gravedigger" -INsite Magazine (Austin, TX) 3/09

"grampadrew tears his heart out and leaves it on the stage....he does crazy things with a loop pedal too". 

"grampadrew will drink you under the table with his tales of broken hearts and loves lost! Whiskey, wine and women go good with this man! Tell him a tale and he'll sing you a song! grampadrew will be your hangover cure, or the cause of it! Don't forget to sing along..." - DJ Tim Pyles, FM 94.9.

Occupy San Diego: Bands Add Rhythm to the Movement

San Diego is a conservative town, but it also has a strong creative community, and it is no surprise that our artists are struggling harder than ever to survive in the currently shitty economic climate. The Occupy Wall St. movement has come to San Diego, and people from all walks of life have pitched tents in the plaza at the San Diego Civic Center since October 7th, demanding the voice of the people be heard by Washington D.C.

There are plenty of hard facts and staggering statistics that prove the need for changes in this country, but art has the power to reach people in a way that connects the mind to the heart, and can create momentum to sustain a movement through grueling protest marches and cold nights occupying tents in city squares. These are a few of the San Diego musicians who have given voice to the grievances that are driving the 99% into the streets.

Occupy San Diego start of march

The start of the Occupy San Diego march from Civic Center to Children's Park, October 7th

 

The man behind Grampadrew has seen the destruction wreaked on the housing market by the recklessness of Wall St. See the video: Grampadrew \”Paper Hurricanes\” for Occupy Wall St

Wear your boots to this one and prepare to stomp.

Electronic Victrola

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