Be sure he means what he says ‘cause we need it, this planet’s obviously used by another as an insane asylum. Originally from Stockton, California and currently moored in Nashville, Tennessee, Grant-Lee Philipps is Creek Native Indian on his mother’s and on his father’s side Blackfoot and Cherokee and he’s been married to one wife close to 25 years. A philosopher and jokester (he’s worked with comedian Margret Cho), he studied at UCLA before dropping out and working as a roofer. And went on to turn into the artistic Renaissance man he is today. Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor (he appeared in the Gilmore Girls), movie composer, visual artist is what it says on his palmares, mightily crowding it. Loaded with talent, he then fronted the by now near mythological Grant-Lee Buffalo in the ’90s, earning himself the Critic’s Choice Award in 1995 for best male vocalist. Like fine hooch, his voice is more refined now and gentle in expression and you know you’re in for something special
Grant-Lee initiated his alt-Americana solo career in the much-ballyhooed year of 2000, exhibiting a penchant for hard work and a maniacal side with tireless touring and by dropping 9 albums on the way, «Widdershins» being the ninth and latest. The title’s an old expression meaning things are moving counterclockwise, against the course of the sun, spiraling backward. As the album unfurls with 15 songs and lets you in on its mysteries, it combines grandeur with a raw punch and it makes one thing obvious also: the gut’s just as intelligent as the brain. «I’m drawing on the urgency of the moment. The things that eat away in the late hours…». It takes a tough man to make this kind of tender music.
Grant-Lee Philipps, live at El Lokal. Think, cry, laugh, get blasted. But listen good.