Baby Gramps
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Baby Gramps

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1966 | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1966
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"“A Chantey Collaboration”"

"Cape Cod girls, they don't use no combs...they comb their hair on the codfish bones" -- so goes the first line of Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys, a two-CD album out this month from the adventurous and storied rock producer Hal Willner. With the backing of Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean series director, Gore Verbinski, Captain Willner pressed willing friends like Bono, Sting, Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Teddy Thompson, Ralph Steadman, Van Dyke Parks, and Rufus Wainwright to come aboard his pirate ship and sing traditional sea chanteys in their particular styles. The 43 songs collected here tell evocative stories of the sea - of cruel captains, scuppered vessels, distant homes, drunken sailors and wenches. "There's something very familiar in the songs," says the producer. "Even if we don't know sea songs, they've influenced every type of music - you can hear them in Wagner, in country music, in the Beatles." Some obvious crew members were left ashore - Keith Richards fell from a tree; Shane MacGowan was indisposed - so others came aboard for them, including the unknown Baby Gramps, who offers "Cape Cod Girls" in a fashion as arresting and strange as any you are likely to hear.

- Vanity Fair - September 2006 ~ Review by Edward Helmore

"Review of the CD "Same Ol' Timeously""

This long-overdue CD from a post-Luddite codger who prefers 78s features a unique guitar style only other folkies can hear and not a one of his endless supply of Dylan covers. Instead we get blatant blues and welcome Wobbly songs, cartoon heroes, throat-singing techniques learned from Popeye or a pet frog, and loving versions of "Teddy Bears' Picnic," "Let's All Be Fairies," and "I'm Gonna Eat Some Worms." Also eight minutes of palindromes (damned if I can make the "Margy" in his sobriquet do such tricks) and a recitation utilizing but a single vowel (not counting—can't fool me, Bearded Wonder—"Don Juans" and "ironical"). Inspirational uncontrovertible (sic) facts: "Rooks do not roost on spoons nor woodcocks snort/No dog on snowdrop rolls/Nor common frogs concoct long protocols." A MINUS

- Village Voice ~ Review by Robert Christgau; Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2000

"Review of the DVD "I Shall Continuum: Live in Greenvich Village""

A healthy visual dose of just some of the delightfully eccentric facets and niches of Baby Gramps’ mainly manic musical personality. Out of the Pacific Northwest, he’s part ragtime, hokum and country bluesman, poet, medicine show minstrel, songster and professional boxcar bum with a fondness for old (and often forgotten) folk, vaudeville and novelty numbers, corny jokes and the dictionary. Imagine a combination of Uncle Dave Macon, Captain Beefheart, Charley Patton, Smoky Stover, Blind Boy Fuller and Popeye and you’d be in the park. Recorded recently at New York City’s Terra Blues club, the bearded, foot-stomping Gramps is as animated as ever, supporting his raspy, gravelly, mannerism-loaded vocal gymnastics with a National steel guitar approach that seems to contain a theatrical exploration of all the notes between the cracks, often employing a percussive finger-picking technique that involves elbows and palms, scribbling, telepathic tempos and angled off-notes. Dazzlers include the set opening instrumental “Ankle Wrench Rag,” a sing-a-long take-off on Mack McClintock’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain” (that he topically refits for the Greenwich Village audience), his vibrant original “Charge It to the Dust and Let the Rain Settle It” and a wily ragtime version of the 1930 standard “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Also noted is another quirky original, “Skillets of Snakes” and an extended encore segment from his Possum Opera work-in-progress. Lots of close-ups, clean split-screen shots and fine sound that picks up all the happy-go-lucky vocal conjurations. An American musical treasure, Gramps is one of those rare performers who has to be seen to be believed. An earlier West Coast concert DVD is also available. — GvonT
- Sing Out! The Folk Magazine ~ Review by GvonT

"Baby Gramps"

Baby Gramps finger picks an old steel national guitar and sings in a wild, extemporaneous gravel vocal style with phenomenal vocal rhythmic improves and a guitar technique that borders on early ragtime. He combines early jazz, blues, ragtime, and good-time novelty music… Most important for Gramps is not his obvious musical genius, but the ability for having fun; and this is all pure delight… This is one of the most important recordings of this decade and hopefully the beginning of a series of recordings to document and expose this most amazing creator, performer, and humorist to ever grace a concert hall or festival stage…



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Baby Gramps:  "The Van Gogh of Americana Music"

Old-Time Salty Vaudevillian:   Baby Gramps plays an antique acoustic National steel-bodied resonator guitar, and sings his own unique arrangements of rags, jazz, & blues songs from the 20's & 30's, folk songs, sing-a-longs, and many originals with wordplay, vaudeville antics, hilarious lyrics, animated guitar playing, and throat singing.  He has an endless and varied repertoire which he draws upon to complement the ambiance of the show.  His extensive repertoire has provided him with opportunities to share shows with blues musicians, traditional folk musicians, and jam bands.  Whatever the audience, he keeps them engaged with his energy, humor, and spontaneity.

Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys , a two-CD set produced by Hal Willner and Johnny Depp, brought the name Baby Gramps into the homes of those who bought the collection for its rare and one-off Bono, Sting, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Richard Thompson, Bryan Ferry, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Martin Carthy, Johnny Depp (as Jack Sh*t), and others.  Yet, with all that star power, it was the Baby Gramps track, “Cape Cod Girls” that got top billing (side one, cut one).  He’s also the artist they sent to The Late Show with David Letterman to plug the CD with Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan’s bass player and band leader, backing him up on bass. This motley crew (from the CD) including Baby Gramps, Tim Robbins (actor), and Shane McGowan took the CD on tour in England, Ireland, and Australia.  Denise Sullivan, Crawdaddy!

According to an article in the special issue City of Music in "Seattle Metropolitan Magazine", Baby Gramps is one of the top 50 musical influences in the last 100 years along with Ray Charles, Jelly Roll Morton, Ernestine Anderson, John Cage, Bill Frisell, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, The Wailers, The Ventures, Sound Garden, and Pearl Jam. He is credited with making Seattle audiences aware of old blues and novelty songs that the rest of the world has mostly forgotten.

Seattle-based author and journalist Charles R. Cross, who wrote biographies on Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Cobain, and Jimi Hendrix, offers his hometown perspective on Baby Gramps: “He is a Seattle institution, along the lines of the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, and the Pike Place Market.”

“Mixing the myth-making mystique of a traveling troubadour of the past with an incredible array of musical influences, there is no other performer out there on the road today quite like Baby Gramps.”  Sean McCourt, Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Baby Gramps is an amazing amalgamation of Mississippi John Hurt, Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, Captain Beefheart, the Tuvan Throat Singers and Popeye. He can scat the blues three notes at once, and has invented his own guitar technique. Gramps does amazing tricks with timing, timbre, tempo and pitch that no one can hope to imitate, and reinvents himself nightly, never performing a song the same way twice” ~ Glenn Howard, American Musical Heritage Foundation.

"If you have never caught Baby Gramps live (perhaps because he is the original indie artist as referred to by Glenn Howard of The American Music Heritage Foundation), this is your chance -- he's a performer with a style so distinctive you'll never forget it.”

Baby Gramps frequently tours the US, Canada, and Europe.

FESTIVALS: Blues Festival - Varazze, Italy; True/False Film Fest - Columbia, MO; Dogwood Festival - Atlanta, GA; Bumbershoot - Seattle, WA; Folklife Festival - Seattle, WA; Sunshine Music Festival - British Columbia; Vancouver Island Music Fest - British Columbia; Oregon Country Fair; O.U.R. Fest - New York; Pignic - Laytonville, CA; String Cheese Incident Festival - Hornings Hideout, OR; Whole Earth Festival - Davis, CA; (Left Over) Salmon Festival - Lyons, CO; Port Townsend Blues and Hot Jazz Festivals - Port Townsend, WA; ROAN Fest - N. Carolina; Telluride - Colorado; North Country Fair - Alberta, Canada; Winnipeg Folk Fest - Canada; Hobart Smith Folk Festival - Geneva, NY; Mission Folk Festival - British Colombia; Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts - Port Angeles, WA; Wooden Boat Festivals - Port Townsend & Seattle, WA; Flowmotion Summer Meltdown - Darrington, WA; and others.