grace pettis
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grace pettis

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Americana Country

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
11
grace pettis @ Rice Festival

Fischer, Texas, USA

Fischer, Texas, USA

Nov
10
grace pettis @ St Andrews Church/Open Ears Concert Series

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Nov
09
grace pettis @ Fiddler's Green Music Shop

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

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

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Haven is described as "a place of shelter or safety, a refuge." For thousands of acoustic-music devotees in our fair city, no nook fits the description better than Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse, which routinely books singer-songwriters whose profiles veer closer to low than high (they are not Lady Gag-uh-me-with-a-spoon) but who actually have something to say. And who say it so very well.

Photo by Ira Hantz of Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse: From left to right, Grace Pettis, Dirje Smith and Pierce Pettis in concert Friday night

For those who know how to listen, who respond more to slowly falling tears than screeches, screams or scantily clad joke-dancing, this is the place for you. Friday night offered no better example than in the choice pairing of headliner Pierce Pettis and his incredibly gifted 23-year-old daughter, Grace, who recently won the New Folk Songwriting award at the Kerrville Folk Festival. They were supported by surprising newcomer Liz Longley, a 2009 New Folk finalist who served as an unforgettable opening act, and Dirje Smith, a terrific cellist, who accompanied Pierce and Grace.
Longley opened the show, which lasted more than three-and-a-half hours, with one razor-sharp ballad after another. "When You've Got Trouble" explored the meaning of true love, "Unraveling" was a poignant elegy to a grandmother who died of Alzheimer's, and "Vintage Camaro" is a cleverly spun break-up tale that equates the roles we play in love to the cars we most resemble.
Pierce Pettis won the 1987 New Folk award at Kerrville, making him and his daughter the only father-child combo to have captured it. This is a guy who knows how to write, whose songs feel as much like novels or carefully woven short stories as they do memorable ballads. His compositions have wound up as hits for the likes of Garth Brooks and Art Garfunkel, but I prefer his own renderings. Hearing him sing "You Move Me," the one he wrote for Brooks (he recently told his 7-year-old son from his second marriage that it paid for their house), it's no wonder that elite vocalists find his tunes so alluring. "That Kind of Love," which he sang as a poignant duet with Grace, offers no better proof of the power of the man's writing.
The second set featured Grace singing "Little Bluebird," a sweet homage to a songwriter's heaven, the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tenn., and one of two for which she won the New Folk award. The other, the majestic "Lighthouse," which can be either a Christian allegory or an unforgettable love story, got the rousing ovation it deserved. She also sang "Nine to Five Girl," which offers its own adroit commentary on the condescending way that so many view the working class, and the moving "Love Is There." (To learn more about Grace, please read my recent feature on her in The Dallas Morning News.)
For an encore, Pierce sang one of his older songs but one of his best, "Just Like Jim Brown (She Is Leaving)," which cleverly equates a woman leaving a relationship with what some called the premature exit of the best running back in the history of professional football: "Jim was something, that's a fact/the all-time greatest running back/but Jim knew something fools don't know/he knew when it was time to go."
Grace says she prefers to sing "Speak Tenderly" only with Smith playing cello behind her, and if that's the case, she should take her with her everywhere she goes. It's a wonderful song, which feels destined for a Hollywood soundtrack (as, for that matter, do so many of the songs she and her father sing - Hollywood, where are you?). Pierce closed the night with a pair of Bob Dylan classics, "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and "Down in the Flood," on which he sent the crowd home with his killer harmonica. Great night. If only they had made a video. - Dallas Morning News


2011 Kerrville New Folk Winner

2009 NPR's Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Winner & Best Song Winner

2010 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest Winner and "People's Choice" Award Winner

2010 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, 4th Place Winner

2010/2011 International Folk Alliance Conference Official Showcase Artist

2009 Bugle Boy Sunday Showcase Winner & Best of 2009 Winner

Kerrville Regional Finalist (New Folk) 2008 & 2010 - Grace Pettis


2011 Kerrville New Folk Winner

2009 NPR's Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Winner & Best Song Winner

2010 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest Winner and "People's Choice" Award Winner

2010 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, 4th Place Winner

2010/2011 International Folk Alliance Conference Official Showcase Artist

2009 Bugle Boy Sunday Showcase Winner & Best of 2009 Winner

Kerrville Regional Finalist (New Folk) 2008 & 2010 - Grace Pettis


"In the marriage of word and melody, Grace Pettis sets the bar at a jaw-dropping high level...I can't force you to purchase a copy of this gem encrusted Grace Pettis. If you do I can guarantee a musical voyage that will have you pressing the repeat button with regularity."
-ARTHUR WOOD OF MAVERICK MAGAZINE, UK

"This first outing for Grace Pettis is just great...These are fine songs from a brave, transparent young woman. She has a voice that reminds me of Karla Bonoff or a young Linda Ronstadt."
-LARRY BAUMGARTNER OF VICTORY REVIEW ACOUSTIC MUSIC MAGAZINE

"Songs like the opener "The Gypsy's Code" possess the dusky Western folk sound of Patty Griffin and Kate Rusby, and Grace's voice has a warm lilt similar to Beth Nielson Chapman."
-VICTORIA MCCABE OF MURUCH.COM

"Grace Pettis is definitely an artist to keep an eye and an ear on. She's taking on big ideas, and hewing them into well-crafted lyrics. There are graceful turns of phrase which sometimes remind me that she grew up under a roof that sheltered more than one great writer, but her voice is her own, as a writer as well as a singer."
-David LaMotte

"Grace Pettis is as promising an artist as I've heard in a long time. She's got the heart, art, soul and looks to touch a lot of people with her music"
-Tom Kimmel

"There is a wisdom in Grace's observations about life that makes her music go right to the heart. She sings and shares so honestly that it is inevitable listeners will hear themselves in her songs."
-Jill Phillips

"Grace is wholeheartedly dedicated to using her myriad talents to heal, and to bridge the distance between that sacred and the every day, making every song a prayer and making every moment holy."
-Joe Jencks

"Of course I'm biased, but Grace is really, really good- and I hate that. Because, as her dad, I'd much prefer that she got a real job..."
-Pierce Pettis

- grace pettis


Stunning debut release by Grace Pettis.

Grace is the first musician in the Pettis dynasty’s second generation to throw her hat into the ring. She does so with a flourish via a self-titled twelve song collection (of original compositions) that is daring, accomplished and memorable. Whatever trade we choose to ply, we all have to begin somewhere. In the marriage of word and melody, GRACE PETTIS sets the bar at a jaw-dropping high level.

Recorded at Blue Rock Studio in Wimberley, Texas the core of support players amounts to Rick Roberts (drums, percussion), Chris Maresh (acoustic and electric bass), Colin Brooks (lap steel, resonator guitar) and facility owner/album producer Billy Crockett (acoustic guitar, piano). Cellist Dirje Smith and pianist Dave Madden contribute to a couple of songs each. Grace is currently studying at St. Edwards in Austin, performs in local clubs at weekends, and – like her talented father Pierce – aims to pursue a career in music following graduation next summer. Any Austin radio station programmer worth his salt should, currently, be scheduling Nine To Five Girl and the lyrically surreal A Bird May Love with incessant regularity.

The lyric to the gently paced The Gypsy’s Code amounts to a personal testimony, and opens the album. Barely getting by financially, Nine To Five Girl finds its feisty young narrator set out her bussing skills, and then sum up her dilemma with “yours to ignore, Part of the scenery, American machinery.” All the poor girl sought was a pleasantry, some respect. Was that too much to ask? Embracing a lifetime in a mere three verse, Pettis’ courageously employs a male voice in the beautiful waltz paced Dancing.

The ragged voice of Band of Heathens alumni Colin Brooks duets with Grace on A Bird May Love, the ensuing Italy doubles as travelogue and love song, while Turning Too reflects on coming of age. The uplifting Let A Little Light is propelled by probably the busiest melody in this collection, andsupported only by cello and gut string guitarGrace’s voice soars and swops on the delightfully melodic album closer Long Sleep, the lyric to which is a patently honest statement of faith.
Grace’s name had been mentioned (to me) in despatches by friends and acquaintances over the last two years. She recently won the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest as well as the Best Song category with Nine To Five Girl. I can’t force you to purchase a copy of the gem encrusted GRACE PETTIS. If you do, I can guarantee a musical voyage that will have you pressing the repeat button with regularity.

4.5 Stars
- Maverick Magazine


THE THING IS, THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

The middle weekend of May proved to be far from uneventful for young Grace Pettis. On the morning of Friday 14th just as she was about to head north to Richardson and the Wildflower! Art & Music Festival’s Performing Songwriter Contest, a package arrived at her Austin, Texas home. The guitar case therein contained a twelve-fret, 000 Moonstone Guitar, hand made by Steve Helgeson and gifted by Jon Phelps, owner of Storyville Coffee. We’ll return to Storyville later.

A few hours later heading north on I35, Grace’s car broke down near Temple. Thankfully, mobile phone to hand, she intercepted finalist Eric Hanke on his way to Richardson. Selected from hundreds of applicants, on the late morning of Saturday 15th May ten musicians performed two songs each on the Bank of America Theater stage in the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts. The Contest judges were musician Tracy Grammer, Kerrville Folk Festival producer Dalis Allen and P. A. Gettie editor of the East Texas publication THE COUNTY LINE. The Songwriter Contest’s first prize was a G-55 Dreadnaught Gallagher Guitar, built by Stephen Gallagher and presented by him. Within a matter of thirty-six hours, twenty-two year old Grace was the somewhat surprised but proud owner of two beautiful (new) guitars. For the sake of the song, lightning had well and truly struck twice!

Let’s go back to the beginning. Grace was born in Tallahassee, Florida during 1987. “My parents moved from Tallahassee, to Ohio to Atlanta, before I was four.” Her parents divorced a few years later and her father, musician Pierce Pettis, eventually settled near his hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama after marrying for a second time. “I lived in Atlanta, and would visit my dad on weekends and during the summer.”

I wondered what Grace recalled of her early years. “I had juvenile arthritis and couldn’t play outside and do things that were real physical. It miraculously went away, but for years I had it. I didn’t take ballet lessons, climb trees or do cartwheels – I stayed inside and drew pictures and sang songs.” As for her first musical memory, Grace replied “I listened to The Beatles a lot. My mom and my dad were huge fans.” She credits the boys from Liverpool with teaching her to sing harmony. An English and Irish literature lecturer and published author, Grace’s mother has been a professor at Georgia State University for around two decades. “She plays guitar and violin and sings. She loves being part of song circles. Both my brothers, Rayvon and George, are musical. My step-mom was a voice major in college and she also sings.”

Grace took formal piano lessons during her pre-teens years. “I didn’t practice (laughs) but always made up my own stuff. I loved the piano, but when I was thirteen my mom took a sabbatical year in Cork, Ireland so I lived there with her. Aged fourteen I moved to my dad’s, but he only had a keyboard.” Grace’s first guitar was stamped Made in Japan. Had she begun writing songs after switching to the stringed instrument? “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write songs. Even as a little girl before I took piano lessons, if you ask my parents, I’d make up songs about whatever I was doing. A lot of it was just reflex, a reaction to being inside all day. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t social. Some kids expend energy playing sports. I made up songs.” Had she committed those early creations to paper? “Yes, as soon as I could write. My mom would meticulously notate them for me, and she still has sheet music from when I was seven or eight.”

Grace sang in church choirs from an early age, and accompanying herself on piano performed her songs in the annual high school talent show – she won in her freshman year. Auditioning at the age of eight, Grace joined the Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde and performed with them for a decade. “It was a fun thing, and we performed in auditoriums locally. I was in this other choir called Harmony for about a year and we performed at Carnegie Hall one time. In Cork I also joined a children’s choir.” Had the foregoing disruptions – Cork and choirs - affected her education? “I don’t think so, I think it broadened it. I love travelling. I think, if anything, I’ve become the kind of person who can’t live in one place for more than a few years without wanting to move - unless, I’m travelling constantly.”

“It was my mom who showed me a few chords on the guitar. She taught me a few hymns and Angel From Montgomery the John Prine song.” Discovering the capo, brought the realisation that she play any song in any key. From that point onward, Grace truly fell in love with the guitar. “My writing just exploded. I went from writing a song a month or so, whenever I could sit down at the piano, to writing ever day. I learned all kinds of songs and hymns as well.”

Apart from the Beatles and Atlanta’s Indigo Girls, while growing up, when listening to music Grace gravitated to jazz a - Maverick Magazine


I am just back from the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis and I am so thrilled to be sharing this artist and her music with you. My goal at the conference this year was to see a lot of new artists, and one of the first ones I went looking for was Grace Pettis.

Grace is the 22-year-old daughter of Pierce Pettis, who is one of my favorite songwriters. I heard that her song Nine to Five Girl beat out 800 other songs to win the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest this year. I suspected I was in for a treat… but I had no idea.

I went to her first showcase and, along with everyone else in the room, fell in love with Grace Pettis. She has a really lovely voice (strong and sweet) and a beautiful presence. She started with Turning Too a gentle and lovely coming-of-age song which takes us from bicycles to wedding dresses. The next song was Nine to Five Girl, which is the one that beat out all the others at Mountain Stage. She joked that it was about the kind of jobs you have when you’re in your twenties… or a musician… or both, and “making just enough to dream.” Dancing (written with Sofia Echegaray) is a tender waltz that Grace dedicated to her grandparents and to a time when dancing was a part of all love stories. Italy was dedicated to her fiance, who couldn’t be with her at the conference because they are saving for a honeymoon. She told us that when they met they discovered they both dreamed of traveling in Italy. When the song was done, I don’t think I was the only one who wanted to help finance the trip. Like I said, I fell in love with Grace Pettis. I am sure you will too.

Grace’s album, which came out in October 2009, was produced by Billy Crockett, who runs the amazing Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, Texas. I am happy to know that Grace is working with someone who obviously cares so much about wonderful music and artists.

The videos below are from Grace’s official showcase at the Folk Alliance Conference. By the time she did this showcase, word had spread (I know I told everyone I saw) and the room was packed. The noise you hear is from bustling conference traffic in the nearby hallway, but in the room there was not a sound as everyone was listening so intently. She was accompanied by Billy Crockett on guitar and Dirje Smith on cello. She got a standing ovation at the end of her set which is rare at this conference.

- Troubadour Series


I am just back from the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis and I am so thrilled to be sharing this artist and her music with you. My goal at the conference this year was to see a lot of new artists, and one of the first ones I went looking for was Grace Pettis.

Grace is the 22-year-old daughter of Pierce Pettis, who is one of my favorite songwriters. I heard that her song Nine to Five Girl beat out 800 other songs to win the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest this year. I suspected I was in for a treat… but I had no idea.

I went to her first showcase and, along with everyone else in the room, fell in love with Grace Pettis. She has a really lovely voice (strong and sweet) and a beautiful presence. She started with Turning Too a gentle and lovely coming-of-age song which takes us from bicycles to wedding dresses. The next song was Nine to Five Girl, which is the one that beat out all the others at Mountain Stage. She joked that it was about the kind of jobs you have when you’re in your twenties… or a musician… or both, and “making just enough to dream.” Dancing (written with Sofia Echegaray) is a tender waltz that Grace dedicated to her grandparents and to a time when dancing was a part of all love stories. Italy was dedicated to her fiance, who couldn’t be with her at the conference because they are saving for a honeymoon. She told us that when they met they discovered they both dreamed of traveling in Italy. When the song was done, I don’t think I was the only one who wanted to help finance the trip. Like I said, I fell in love with Grace Pettis. I am sure you will too.

Grace’s album, which came out in October 2009, was produced by Billy Crockett, who runs the amazing Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, Texas. I am happy to know that Grace is working with someone who obviously cares so much about wonderful music and artists.

The videos below are from Grace’s official showcase at the Folk Alliance Conference. By the time she did this showcase, word had spread (I know I told everyone I saw) and the room was packed. The noise you hear is from bustling conference traffic in the nearby hallway, but in the room there was not a sound as everyone was listening so intently. She was accompanied by Billy Crockett on guitar and Dirje Smith on cello. She got a standing ovation at the end of her set which is rare at this conference.

- Troubadour Series


It might be expected that the daughter of singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis would make music that’s both brainy and quietly spiritual. Grace Pettis displays a winning idealism and an awareness of the world’s injustices. “Nine to Five Girl” is a bittersweet portrait of a harried working woman that earned Pettis top honors in the 2009 Mountain Stage NewSong Songwriting Competition. The rock-tinged “Heard Enough Now” confronts an authority figure with a defiantly questioning attitude. More introspective are the dreamily jazzy “A Bird May Love” and the ruminative, Sarah McLachlan-esque “The Gypsy’s Code.” “What You Didn’t Want to Know” is an engaging slice of lovelorn torment. While Grace can’t be called carefree in attitude, she does allow herself a lighthearted moment with “Italy,” a sunny travelogue. All the tunes benefit from Pettis’ clear, emotive vocals, distinguished by her keening upper range. Grace Pettis is heartfelt and free from affectation and its fresh outlook is its strength.

. - Itunes Official Review


Discography

"TWO BIRDS"
Blue Rock Artists
Released September of 2012

"GRACE PETTIS" Self-titled
Blue Rock Artists
self-released on a small scale in October of 2009

Photos

Bio

SHORT BIO:
Grace Pettis, from Lookout Mountain, Alabama, has songwriting in her blood.  The daughter of a poetry scholar and a troubadour, Grace comes by her love of words honestly.  Her father,Pierce Pettis, is a critically acclaimed songwriter and performer who penned the Garth Brooks hit "You Move Me." Both of Grace's brothers are also songwriters and musicians.  In her short career, Grace has already lived up to her birthright, winning numerous songwriting awards and garnering praise from critics, fans, and industry alike.  What sets her apart in her talented family is her distinct, unaffected voice, described as a "wide open prairie, full of waving golden grains before menacing, dark thunder clouds" (Sirius XM Program Director, Mary Sue Twohy).
POINTS OF INTEREST:
-winner, NPR's Mountain Stage NewSong songwriting contest -winner, Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk songwriting contest-two studio albums recorded at Blue Rock Studio, produced by Billy Crockett.-recent successful Kickstarter campaign; over $32,000 towards the making of TWO BIRDS(2012).
PRESS QUOTES:
-"All the tunes benefit from Pettis’ clear, emotive vocals, distinguished by her keening upper range. GRACE PETTIS is heartfelt and free from affectation and its fresh outlook is its strength." -Itunes official review of Grace's debut album (2009).
-Maverick Magazine featured a FIVE STAR review of TWO BIRDS. "If you purchase only one album this year, TWO BIRDS is it!"  -Arthur Wood, Maverick Magazine

-"We think that TWO BIRDS is easily one of the finest albums from a newcomer this year..." -Direct Current
-"It is clear there are no limits to what Grace can do." - Mary Sue Twohy, Program Director, Sirius XM
-"Landing somewhere between old-school country and Top 40 folk-rock, Pettis pens detailed songs about lovers on the mend and young musicians on the move. Through these vignettes, she offers glimpses of her own personality, revealing herself to be an observer and a dreamer—a winning combo." -M Magazine

-"...a gifted young songwriter with a compelling voice;" "...one of the most talented young singer-songwriters in America." -Michael Granberry, The Dallas Morning News

Band Members