Alec Gross is a New York City-based singer-songwriter who performs his dark and heavy brand of original folk and country throughout the US and Europe. He calls his sound, “Cinematic Americana”, and frames his stories of madness, love, sickness, redemption, the planting and the harvest, with hauntingly beautiful soundscapes that recall both the acoustic guitars and plaintive vocals of Folk and Alt. Country, with unexpected blasts of raw, Stax-era R&B. All are graced by Alec’s soaring but vulnerable tenor, which has been described as being “so perfectly suited to the times” and “superbly bold”.
In Fall of 2011, Alec teamed-up with fellow singer-songwriters, Will Knox (London, UK), and Jake Hill (Plymouth, MA), to form Handsome Lady Records. Recording with a single microphone, a 1973 TEAC reel-to-reel tape machine, and some tape, the label now features many Handsome songwriters & artists, all in the name of collaboration, cross-promotion, & community. The label releases a new song and music every Monday & Thurs. at www.handsomeladyrecords.com.
Handsome Lady Records is thrilled to release Alec Gross’ latest recording, ‘The Sorry Sorry Sun EP’ on Oct. 16, 2012, his follow-up to 2011’s 11-track “Strip The Lanterns’, and 2009’s 5-song, ‘Rose Tattoo EP’.
What People Are Saying:
“Softened Rhodes pianos and an intricate mix of alt-country and Stax-era soul categorize this beautiful record from the New York singer.” --Spinner/ AOL Music
“Alec Gross takes all those little thematic threads you love about alt-country music — the perpetual heart- ache, the equally perpetual whiskey, the occasional killin’ — and filters them through a distinctly cosmopolitan lens. Blessed with a gorgeously expressive voice that recalls Ryan Adams in his refined moments, the NYC-based songwriter presents a unique blend of urban cool and raw, country heart.” --Seven Days
“True to the tradition of using music as muse as a storyteller’s medium, Carversville’s Alec Gross has carved out a nice niche for himself as singer/songwriter with a backpack of imagery that begs to be heard.” --Jewish Exponent
Americana/folk/country with catchy melodies, an earnest vocal delivery, interesting lyrics, and surprising outside-the-genre touches.” --Explore Music
“The second half of the album, the part Gross calls Side B and that is labeled as such to delineate a darker tone in the later songs, is the best; it kicks off with “Burning Grounds,” a song that definitely tips its hat to the Band, and also contains the quieter “Looking Glass Lies” where moaning harmonica echoes the disappointment-filled lyric. As the “night terrors” part of this album’s title hints at, this singer/songwriter’s specialty is weariness.” --Anti-Music
“Armed with a killer album, and a live show that juxtaposes heavy, swamp-drenched laments with beautifully vulnerable acoustic admissions, all topped with soaring and effortless vocals that leave audiences converted, Alec is poised to make some very big impressions in the coming year.” --Skope Magazine
“Album has drawn out vocals for emotional style of Americana” --Creative Loafing
“It is becoming increasingly rare that an artist is able to sit down with an acoustic guitar, crank out a couple of quality tunes, and really be able to transmit any powerful emotion without some severe studio help. It is becoming even more rare to find artists that can both do both that and more intense, orchestrated songs, put them all on the same album, and pull it off somewhat successfully. Singer-songwriter Alec Gross is a member of that dying breed.”
“Strip The Lanterns” returns to a newly juiced-up version of the pre-bridge for a powerful finish, giving us a movie that we’d gladly pay good money to see - or hear- the sequel to.” --Boston Band Crush
“From losing his heart to a girl wearing her mother’s necklace, to marrying a man in 1913 backed by a magi- cal realist-sounding jam that evoked Colin Melloy of The Decemberists, his brand of folk music achieved that rare trick of consoling without becoming too mushy.” --Bowery Boogie
“Alec Gross is not here to make you feel better. But he is here to make you feel. His emotional but never melodramatic music weaves stories that are vivid and direct: he goes straight to the heart of an idea and never lets go.” --Beacon Pass
voices, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, horns, mandolins, fiddles, etc.
'The Sorry Sorry Sun EP' - October 2012 available:
Strip The Lanterns - August 2011 available: www.alecgross.bandcamp.com/album/strip-the-lanterns
Rose Tattoo EP - 2009 available: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/alecgross3
Alec Gross – “Strip the Lanterns
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On 07.27.11 | In C.D. On Songs | by C.D. Di Guardia This thing of ours is called “C.D. On Songs” an...On 07.27.11 | In C.D. On Songs | by C.D. Di Guardia
This thing of ours is called “C.D. On Songs” and I assume you’re on board with the format. But once upon a time, back in June, we did
a special feature called “C.D. On Videos,” and I bet you can guess what happened there. That’s right, my friend Casey Desmond sent
over a sweet video, and we reviewed it and shared it with you. Now our buddy Alec Gross has recorded a video for his fantastic song
“Strip The Lanterns” that we featured way back in May. Gross is finally releasing his record to the world in less than a week (August 2),
and he’s celebrating it with a rooftop record release party on Saturday night in New York City. Wow, it’s just like the opening titles on
Saturday Night Live. And it will be Live. On Saturday night. Will Andy Samberg and Abby Elliot be there? Not sure. But Alec Gross will,
and that oughtta be enough for anyone.
Alec Gross – “Strip the Lanterns”
[Download The Song!]
A series of high-contrast monochrome shots open up the video, like unfrozen, not-so-still-life pictures animated subtly by nature. Flags
flap in the wind, water shimmers and other bits of subtle motion color these black and white images with life. The initial shots are tasty
and cinematic; establishing the video as a bona fide expression of vision. What these initial shots do is provide a demonstration of this
video’s unique lens; sort of drawing us in and making us interested in whatever story this lens might have to tell us. Our first glimpse of
Alec Gross (via his booted foot on an old couch) demonstrates that this video, much like the Gunslinger, lives in two worlds – or at least
depicts two worlds.
The story of two worlds has a protagonist that travels through both worlds – both the black and white “otherworld” as well as
the colorful “real world.” This protagonist is the major character in the video, and he is introduced in what we can only assume is his
own native world – the stark, high-contrast world established in the opening shots. We’ll call him Roland. No reason. Roland stands at a
river and immediately tosses his stylish hat inside, as if he’s done with this one life and is ready to move into the other one. This grizzly
man appears somewhat world-weary. We’d almost be tempted to say he has the thousand-yard stare look to him, but his eyes appear
to see everything. We would bet this guy does not miss much.The video tells the story of this character’s journey, and while he clearly
represents his “home” world, he is aware of our own, as if he hears the music through the dimensional void. The music is coming from
Alec Gross and his band, set up in front of a colorful wall of graffiti, seemingly to give us more visual reference that Gross and friends
are in our own world. Gross perches on the edge of a ratty old couch (in precisely the way we are betting his parents told him not to do),
acoustic guitar in hand and cowboy boots on his feet. While his appearance is obviously of this world, the camera’s deliberate shots of
his booted feet might lead us to believe that Gross is mobile between the worlds of graffiti and gunslingers as well. The band is also
dressed in modern-world garb and sunglasses, even their drummer, who we’ll call Lou Cheech. No reason.
The camerawork in “Strip The Lanterns” seems to keep up with the pacing of the song. As the song’s power grows, so does
the energy in both the physical camera work as well as the story. For the most part, it seems to mimic both Gross’s and Roland’s gaze,
sort of glancing at times yet very still at others. The pacing picks up in the song’s key moments, such as the big vocal parts in the
bridge, as well as the solo sections.
It is also in the solo sections where the director makes the most egregious musically factual error that one might possibly make in a
video that would someday be reviewed in this column. It happens during the organ solo. That is (somehow) played on a Wurlitzer 200A.
Maybe this is the kind of thing that just bothers guys like myself and maybe Aaron Rosenthal or Joel Simches. Maybe it’s just me. But if
you aren’t going to keep us happy, then you’re going to be in deep trouble. Because it hurts my head to see this, so I am going to
concentrate on the part of the video (AKA the rest of the video) that does not mortally offend me.
The color/monochrome motif – that you first saw in The Wizard of Oz - is utilized well at all points in this video, especially as the lines
become blurred. We see Roland’s trip from his own world to ours and the challenges it presents to him. Most of his shots are still in
black and white, although they are clearly in the “real” world” – this shows us his own dissonance, as he tries to process our world
through his lens. We even see inside his head, as he wistfully remembers his own world – and throwing away his cowboy hat, which
now seems like kind of a bad move.
The Traveler finally finds his own colorization when he reaches Alec Gross’s band setup. We can tell he’s there not only by the
color, but by the urban artwork in the background. He has a brief moment of respite, before being thrown into a panic of sorts, running
away from unseen enemies and finally bowing, defeated on a street corner. He eventually dissolves into the ether; leaving Gross and
band to wrap up the final minute or so of the video.They do, but not without a caveat. For its final trick, the video pulls away from the
band, desaturating the image as it goes until we (the royal we) find ourselves in a black and white world. This final act of blurring the
lines makes us ask if there really are any lines, and if so, are they really straight “do not cross this line”-type lines. From the story of the
video, it would seem as if they aren’t really as cut-and-dried as we think they are.
“Strip The Lanterns” is a success in that it brings the story to silent-movie life. And it doesn’t just “tell” us the story, so much as it “gives”
us the story, which is a much more difficult – and admirable – thing to do.
Alec Gross – Strip The Lanterns: Album Review
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The debut album from singer-songwriter Alec Gross shows off his refreshingly classic rock sound I...
The debut album from singer-songwriter Alec Gross shows off his refreshingly classic rock sound
It is becoming increasingly rare that an artist is able to sit down with an acoustic guitar, crank out a
couple of quality tunes, and really be able to transmit any powerful emotion without some severe
studio help. It is becoming even more rare to find artists that can both do both that and more
intense, orchestrated songs, put them all on the same album, and pull it off somewhat successfully.
Singer-songwriter Alec Gross is a member of that dying breed. The first two songs of his début fulllength Cinematic Americana album, Strip The Lanterns, display his versatility in full force, as the
opening song “Dancing Music” introduces him as a classic troubadour-style acoustic crooner,
followed contrastively by the powerful second song “If You Don’t Mind (Baby Go Ahead)” that at
times adds a full backing band to really drench his sound in a fuller, bluesy type backdrop.
The concept behind the début album is, as far as we’re aware at least, relatively original. While you
wouldn’t know the background just from listening to the album without some prior context unless you were paying extremely close
attention, the album is actually a fictional story told from the point-of-view of a man named Ron Avery (the full title of the album is in
fact, Strip The Lanterns: The Night Terrors of Mr. Ron Avery). Avery is supposedly a mid-western gas station attendant who is “tormented
by his mediocrity and the shadows of what could have been”. You might regularly hear from people talking about their favorite singersongwriter the phrase: “He’s really good because he’s so good at telling a story through his music”. Well, Gross took it to the next level
by deciding to well and truly tell a fictional story through his music, and he does it in as powerful a way as if you were reading the words
right out of a Steinbeck novel. The album moves along a little sluggishly at times, as if it’s almost building up to a climactic moment of
intensity that never really comes, but there are a bunch of interesting twists and turns along the way.
“Burning Grounds” is as close as Gross gets to pure country blues, with the backing organ really giving that classic gospel style sound to
the music, and it may be the most musically exciting individual track of the album. The addition of harmonica on a few tracks, most
notably perhaps on the concluding song, “Emily Postcard,” gives him that true classic country rock sound that has been willfully ignored
by a lot of artists for the last decade or so. The first reaction to Alec Gross can potentially be that surely the music is too simple to
compete in such a heavily produced market these days – but then when you think about how taken for granted such simple music is
taken these days, it becomes easier to appreciate what Gross is going for. That is not to say that the production of the album was an
insignificant part of the eventual sound – far from it. Producer and recording engineer Will Hensley (Coldplay, KT Tunstall, The Kooks,
John Mayer) did an outstanding job transmitting the sound of an artist that had already found great success on the live music scene
from a promising concept to a real, great product.
The red-headed Pennsylvania native has a voice full of soul and an ear full of creativity and he is using his talents in an artistically
brilliant way. If this is just the début, then we can only wait to find out what emotional American story Alec Gross is going to tell next,
and whether or not he can build on this very solid beginning. Gross will be performing shows in the New York and Massachusetts area
over the next week. Any future tour plans have yet to be released, but his live performances are said to be a transformative experience,
so it would only make sense for him to hit the road at some point in the near future.
? Burning Grounds
? If You Don’t Min
Alec Gross, Mercury Lounge 4/13/2011
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Alec Gross plays sweetheart music for doods. Looking around the crowd at last Wednesday’s show at Me...Alec Gross plays sweetheart music for doods. Looking around the crowd at last Wednesday’s show at Mercury Lounge, we saw a sea of heartbreak heroes inserting their own breakup/hookup stories into all his songs.
And this makes sense. Throughout his hour-long set, Alec fell in and out of love repeatedly. From losing his heart to a girl wearing her mother’s necklace, to playing a brilliant cover of the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” to marrying a man in 1913 backed by a magical realist-sounding jam that evoked Colin Melloy of The Decemberists, his brand of folk music achieved that rare trick of consoling without becoming too mushy. And that is exactly how the doods like their love songs.
Picking up where Fleetwood Mac left off, Alec projected a lived-through-it tenderness through his panty-dropping siren. While some of his songs contain chord progressions we’ve come to expect from the heartland, his voice more than transcends this genre space. Alec writes lyrics of regret, but sings them with enough hope to persevere.
Thank you Alec Gross…for making it okay for the manly men to share.
-Written by Mike Levine (@goldnuggets)
Alec Gross: A Gorgeous, Melancholy Country Set
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Alec Gross is not here to make you feel better. But he is here to make you feel. His emotional but n...Alec Gross is not here to make you feel better. But he is here to make you feel. His emotional but never melodramatic songs weave stories that are vivid and direct: he goes straight to the heart of an idea and never lets go. A wordsmith and an exceptional guitar player, he has been performing since 2006. His forthcoming album Strip the Lanterns won't drop till May, but he's leaked a few lovely cuts on his Bandcamp page. He's sure to play more of the album, which ranges from railroad earth country to horn-driven soul, at the Living Room. If you're feeling like a robot these days, Gross will reset you to "human" right quick.
— Brett Ackerman
The Dark Knight of Night Terrors?
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Bucks County troubadour of trauma? True to the tradition of using music as muse as a storyteller'...
Bucks County troubadour of trauma?
True to the tradition of using music as muse as a storyteller's medium, Carversville's Alec Gross has carved out a nice niche for himself as
singer/songwriter with a backpack of imagery that begs to be heard.
His music travels well; just give a listen to the blues-infused "Strip the Lanterns: The Night Terrors of Mr. Ron Avery" for a stroll amid the shadows of
shock and awe that greet this area musician's pensive poetry, which has been dubbed by some as "Cinematic Americana."
Feel the pain, taste the dust of this treat of a travelogue based on Gross' fascination with an archetype blues singer he encountered on the
road some years back.
On the road again: This is no half-Willie Nelson, but a wholly fused Alec Gross product, himself the product of an intriguing background.
Unearth a bit of his past and see where the dig leads: The anthropology major makes no apologies for trading in his college degree from New
York University -- which he earned in three years -- for the third degree skeptics are prone to give unproved G-men, those guitarists picking at a career
in a field flooded with unfertile and parched possibilities.
Gross can't help himself: "I did everything I could to not do this," he says of being "frightened to be that cliche -- the starving artist."
He certainly isn't starving for attention now; the 29-year-old's done a raft of riffs at New York clubs in addition to appearances at World Cafe
Live in Philadelphia. Last week, he played the M Room in Fishtown.
The critics have reeled him in, praising the Gross output with symbols and signs that his red-fire hair goes well with the flames in his lyrics that tell of
dreams measured in the drams of dropouts by the road.
"Everything has become secondary to me; I'm obsessed with music," says the singer, who was born in Montclair, N.J.
The times a'changin' -- to more attention? What better prospects for a student of Bob Dylan, which Gross is, having succumbed to the Mutterin' Man and
his "unornamented simplicity" at an early age. All he ever wanted to do, as a kid, "was play Dylan songs. All day, all night."
That is, when he wasn't having a go at Motown. Tempted by the Temps? Of course, he acknowledges.
Ain't too to proud to beg for a job either, which is what he did for a gig at a blues club in Doylestown early on. "I went and begged for a job, anything to
be allowed in the club," he recalls.
"I started washing dishes, then bused tables, then became a waiter. After two years, I resigned myself and focused on writing songs. Been studying that
magic ever since."
Good thing he pressed on with that prestidigitation; writing those songs led to gigs performing them. But for such an enlightened performer,
why are his songs so damned dark?
"Ninety percent of my life, I enjoy telling jokes, being the comic; the other 10 percent of me" -- the down and out Dark Knight of night
clubs/pubs -- "comes out in my music."
Would Freud freak out about an unhappy childhood? A life couched in tragedy? Gross smiles such notions away. "I had a happy childhood, had great
friends," he says.
And a showtime pastime: "My great-grandparents were vaudevllians," he says of his great-grandfather, the singer who married an opera star.
As for others with a song in their hearts? Nope. "The rest of the family is the typical Jewish immigrant story."
And he's part of their history of parting with familiarity for newfound shores. After all, post-college, "I turned down a dig in Macedonia to play with a band
in the summer."
It's all about making his own splash in the gene pool: Come on in, says the singer, the water's -- and the legacy -- are fine.
"We are an unsettled people," Gross says of the Jewish tribal path he travels. "Just lead me to the hardest road I can take and I will; after all,
to take the much harder journey" is ultimately integral to the Jewish people's achievements throughout history, he asserts.
Part of that history -- and a paean to the painful past -- is played out on a single of "Strip the Lanterns," the unadorned unburnished "Burning
Grounds," a Holocaust revelation that harks back to his visit to Yad Vashem three years ago.
It's all part of the Jewish journey, concedes Gross, a self-described "Wandering Jew" whose path one day may lead to permanence as a
potent voice for posterity
Joel Crane of NME, Q, Mojo, Reviews Alec Gross
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"Alec Gross - Blessed with a voice so perfectly suited to the times, Alec Gross has managed to captu..."Alec Gross - Blessed with a voice so perfectly suited to the times, Alec Gross has managed to capture the illusive folk/country sound so many other artists would sell their soul to find. Inspired by the likes of The Band and Bob Dylan, Gross creates songs of romance and tenderness, each laden with an unerring honesty that will arouse and amaze. With a vocal so reminiscent of Ryan Adams' Whiskeytown days, its Gross' eye for detail that sets him apart from that 'folk crowd'. Backed by an immaculate Bluegrass band that enriches his collection of songs, it's the irony of a love for all things past that looks to have given this New York-based singer/songwriter a very promising future.â€
Sets are 90% original and range in length from 30 min. to 2 hrs.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.