Steve Grozier – Flying the flag for Americana in Scotland

Steve Grozier and his new band work within a rather niche musical market; Americana.

While popular in other countries, is not seen quite as often on our shores, that said, the music Grozier produces is warm and beautiful, invoking the alt country ghosts of Whiskeytown and Jay Farrar’s Son Volt.

Rave Child spoke to him just before his gig at King Tut’s to fid out more:

Hi Steve, how would you describe your sound and who influenced you when you started out?

I’m influenced by a lot of different things. I studied the beat poets at university, so in terms of song writing, I draw on those kind of syncopated rhymes and writing from a first person perspective, usually about everyday things.

Musically, I grew up listening to songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. I really got into country music and punk rock as a teen. I like that diy ethos and attitude applied to country music.

What’s the Americana/alt country scene like in Scotland/Glasgow?

Is there one? I wouldn’t say there was a scene, not in the sense of a coherent group of people collaborating and supporting each other. I don’t think that exists. The Fallen Angels Club books and promotes what they’d call Americana music, but the vast majority of those acts are American, or English. There are very few opportunities for Scottish musicians that are playing Americana music. For example, the AMA UK award ceremony 2017 has zero Scottish acts featured.

You’ve just released a new album, Take My Leave, what influenced this collection of songs?

Take My Leave is a collection of old songs that originated while I was living and traveling in Canada and the US almost ten years ago. I hadn’t played them in years and hadn’t, beyond rough demos, recorded them with a band. This collection of songs was written about those travels and my leaving home. It’s a kind of reflective and nostalgic record for me.

How are you feeling about tonight’s gig in King Tut’s?

Tonight will be the first time I’ll have played Tut’s with this new band. I’m excited. The sound has to be good on stage or I won’t have a good show. I’ve played Tut’s a few times and I know they’ll get it right. I’m looking forward to catching the other bands and hanging out. Having a few drinks and a good time. Strangers in a room together enjoying the music. That’s something you can’t get from a record.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would you most like it to be?

I answered this question for an interview a couple of months back, and I said Ryan Adams, I think. Although, I might have said The Band.

There are a load of musicians I really respect but I’m really lucky to play with the guys I do. They’re great players and great guys. I’m lucky.

You’ve got a great backing band. How long have you guys been a band and how did you come together?

I’ve known Roscoe Wilson (guitar) for about ten years and we’ve played together on and off over those years. The bass player, John Dunlop (Dunny) I met via Roscoe a couple of years ago and the drummer Pete Colquhoun I met via Facebook a couple of months back. The previous drummer left due to other commitments and Pete worked out straight off the bat.

It’s early days, but I think we’re evolving into a real nice collaborative approach of working. I’ll write the lyrics and the chord progressions or maybe the melody and maybe a few leads lines and the boys fill in the rest. Putting meat on the bare bones of a song.

What have you got coming up in 2017?

For 2017, we’ve studio time booked for February to begin the recording of the follow up EP to Take My Leave. We’re going to cut it in the same studio, La Chunky in Glasgow, with Andrew Graham who also produced the last EP. We record live as far as possible and work through an analogue desk. It’s not the way people generally make records these days, but it’s how I like to work.

I’ve a couple of solo shows in the diary for 2017, but nothing with the band as of yet. Festival performances in the summer are more than likely and an EP launch show. The rest will depend on the reaction to the record and the relationships I build with people and other bands. I’d like to put together a UK tour, but it might have to be solo depending on the commitments of the other members of the band.

Take My Leave by Steve Grozier

Words: David McPhee

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