David Grissom Knows How It Feels to Fly
David Grissom is a guitar geek's dream, an inventive player who combines power, finesse, theory and good taste into a disturbingly virile mix that straddles the line between beautiful abstraction and full-tilt boogie. Grissom is, for the most part, always turned up to 11.
Photo by Jason Wolter David Grissom at Under the Volcano, October 2013
Now coming up on 30 years in Austin, Grissom has released four albums of his own material, the most recent album being How It Feels To Fly, a half-studio, half-live recording that he releases Wednesday night at Under the Volcano.
Grissom is both virtuoso and journeyman, sideman and leader, merciless road dog and insouciant studio gun-for-hire. While he still takes gigs with Joe Ely and other artists, these days he's concentrating as much as possible on his own project. Over the past two years, with a regular gig at Austin's Saxon Pub, Grissom has put together a top-flight ensemble consisting of Stefan Intelisano on keys, Bryan Austin on drums and locked-down-tight bassist Scott Nelson, who also books time with Houston favorite Mike Barfield.
Grissom, who claims he never knows what the direction of one of his recording projects will take "until I'm about half way through it," tells Rocks Off that he's tried for something of a balancing act with his latest.
"At the end of the day, I tried to strike a balance between not making a record for just guitar players, yet having plenty of guitar on there," he says. "I still believe the parts have to serve the song, always have. I also didn't want to make another version of my last CD. I try to keep moving."
The album begins with "Bringin' Sunday Mornin' to Saturday Night," an ode to Lightnin' Hopkins and other venerable blues legends: "Lightnin' Hopkins lightin' up the Third Ward / Tellin' each story with a low-down chord."
It also includes two co-writes with Nashville heavyweight Chris Stapleton. Grissom was with Houstonian Frank Liddell's Carnival Publishing for a number of years and notes that Liddell hooked him up to write with Stapleton, whom Liddell describes as "the most talented guy in Nashville."
Grissom reveals that Stapleton, who has stepped away from bluegrass supergroup the Steeldrivers to go solo, is "my favorite singer and writer in Nashville."
"I didn't know who he was at the time and he has grown so much in the last ten years," he says. "We wrote well together because I've always got a million musical ideas running through my head, and he is blazing fast with a lyric when he hears music he digs. Some of the tunes worked out where we both wrote half the lyric and music, others he was so damn fast I barely got a word in after I played him an idea."
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