Graham Lindsey
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Graham Lindsey


Band Americana Folk


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The best kept secret in music



"Graham Lindsey is nothing if not gutsy. A Wisconsin native, he played in punk bands before he could drive, left home at 14, and has lived in bare abodes and basements in New Orleans, Brooklyn and rural Nebraska. But all that's nothing compared to the crazy courage he shows on an album that ends with him rasping these words: 'I am useless to the wild earth/ So sings the bowels of every place/ I used to map the laughter/ Though I could never find its face/ And anywhere that I may go/ My judgement roars its restless bells/ I never knew and shall never know/ A worse place than myself.'

Famous Anonymous Wilderness offers eleven stark folk songs and sweet country waltzes. Made mostly of Lindsey's scuffed throat and simply strummed acoustic, plus the occasional tangy harmonica and the honey glaze of glass slides on steel strings, they sound disarmingly modest, but Lindsey's words weave a vision that's anything else. In a voice that spits, sneers, howls and hopes, he lays bare beauty and ugliness, rails at his failings, and offers up his heart. Like Dylan, Cohen, Kerouac and Townes, Lindsey's relentlessly percussive, consonant verses are calculated and writerly, but they come out in a gush, the better to capture the frantic tangle of his fears and desires.

Most folks wouldn't dare aspire to such company, much less aim for it their first time out. But with this disc, the most audacious roots songwriter's debut since Gillian Welch's Revival, Graham Lindsey- a less-than-nobody and just 25- goes one better. He actually attains it."

- Anders Smith Lindall

"MOJO/Best of Americana 2003"

"A noteworthy debut from a fine, uncompromising singer-writer pitched between Noahjohn and To Ramona- period Dylan... Mostly leaning towards intense folk-Americana, but with some flawless alt country."
- Sylvie Simmons

"UNCUT MAGAZINE/Almost Famous"

"A wonderfully earthy debut of scuffed country clatter wrapped in a Dylanesque delivery steaming at the nostrils like a rabid mare. Still only 25, Lindsey's starkly plaintive voice is weather-bitten and wise way beyond his years."
- Robert Hughes

"HARP MAGAZINE/Top 40 Albums of 2003"

"With an incessant guitar strum and a harmonica gone AWOL, this former member of Old Skull -punk rock's youngest signed combo- hits the alt-country scene with a sound as endearing as it is grating. But he brought the tunes to back it up."
- Rob O'Connor

"ROLLINGSTONE.COM/Critics Choice Top Tens of 2003"

"Well-traveled folk that's both hick and haunting. There's something strange in the water, and Lindsey's drunk it up."

- Meredith Ochs

"CHICAGO SUN TIMES/Lindsey Finds Comfort Zone In Music and Life"

Performing in the intimate, in-your-face environs of the front barroom at the Hideout can be a daunting endeavor. With no stage as a separating line, performer and audience are one. Singer-songwriter Graham Lindsey likes the change and the rapt attention of the audience.
"I figure if I hear them sniffling or coughing, they can hear me singing," said Lindsey, laughing. "I felt very comfortable."
Lindsey's dark, lyrical folk songs are best absorbed in just such a setting. His debut album, "Famous Anonymous Wilderness" (Catamount), was released last fall to positive reviews, many of which compared him to a young Bob Dylan. The stripped-back country-folk tunes move forward with a brusque, hardcore eloquence that sets the angry, literate Lindsey apart from the droves of singer-songwriters vying for attention in today's market.
Lindsey returns to the Hideout tonight, this time in the larger music room, opening for Laurie Stirratt & Friends. He'll perform his usual acoustic set, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica.
With teenage roots in punk music, Lindsey says he always had eclectic tastes that roamed from Simon and Garfunkel and Cat Stevens to Nick Drake and Bob Dylan. The turning point came when he dove into the Dylan songbook.
"The fact that he was one guy doing all these great songs with only a guitar, voice and harmonica really caught my attention," said Lindsey, 25. "And probably above everything else, his lyricism really inspired me."
Lindsey grew up in the Wisconsin countryside near Madison and was involved in music from an early age. At 12, he became the drummer for the teenage punk band Old Skull, which had some success with an album and MTV video. By 16, he had moved on to other punk bands and finally given up on the music scene around Madison, and he set out to try to find himself musically.
In 1996, Lindsey moved to New Orleans' French Quarter, where he got into jazz and blues and tried to write a novel, which he eventually abandoned. A stint in New York made him realize the city life wasn't for him both personally and professionally. He summarizes his feelings in "Song to New York," a bare-bones reverie on the pains of city life and the kind of person who can exist there.
"I gave it the best three months that I could but it was terrible," said Lindsey. "It was everything that I feared. I had just begun writing songs again after a long hiatus and I realized I wanted to write more than I wanted to live in New York. You spend so much time trying to survive in that urban wilderness that there's no time to write songs about that survival."
On the run from New York, Lindsey and his girlfriend ended up near Lincoln, Neb., where he wrote many of the songs on "Famous Anonymous Wilderness." He liked the solitude and began playing acoustic guitar, working the songs into a comfortable style.
With a full understanding that the quiet life was to their liking, in 2001 the couple moved back to Viola, Wis., bought a house and Lindsey took a job in a group home working with autistic adults. They have no intention of moving, but the buzz about his music and the promotion that follows offers a puzzle that he is just beginning to figure out.
"Part of the thing is continuing to live in a place that I love and where I feel emotionally at home. On the other side of the coin, I have to go out and promote the album and be a different kind of person and live at a different pace, which is not all that easy sometimes."
The Nashville roots label Catamount signed Lindsey after he blindly sent in a demo tape. He recorded the album in Los Angeles with his cousin, producer Steve Deutsch, who has worked with Linda Thompson, Lisa Loeb and Van Dyke Parks. One of the album's songs, "Emma Rumble," is included on the soundtrack of the upcoming movie "Dunsmore."
Changes are sure to come in the future as he settles more into his own style and moves away from the Dylanesque moments that are so evident on his debut album. Lindsey hints at this when he says he's working on a new album that is "different."
"But I'm still debating how it's different," he said, laughing.
Will it be a happier album?
"I would be very shocked at myself if that happened, but I'm not ruling out the possibility. My songs usually fall into the category of sad or mad. It's kind of my thing. I've been called a brooder and I can't really argue with that."

- Mary Houlihan


"Excellent debut ...dark Americana, informed by his travels around the country."
- Pick of the week

"NASHVILLE SCENE/Pick of the Week"

"Lindsey's solo debut features the rush of images and mind-bending phrases that arrive when a young songwriter taps a muse so furious that mere musical stanzas can barely contain the energy flowing through them. Lindsey makes the words work for him too, using a young rocker's abandon to crash through acoustic stereotypes and stake out an intense, hard-charging persona reliant on reverence for nature and irreverence for nearly everything else. ...armed with his acoustic guitar, harmonica, a heart full of passion and a mouthful of opinions."
- Michael McCall

"CHICAGO DAILY HERALD/Solitude's Sucess"

"Lindsey's brusque singing sounds way beyond his years. The way his phrasing embodies his stream of lyrics gives the illusion he is not performing the song, he is the song. The physicality he infuses makes them seem like they come from no time in particular, present or past. The flow of words delivers hard truths with a kind of a brutal eloquence."
- Mark Guarino


"Everything about Graham Lindsey's striking debut, Famous Anonymous Wilderness, smacks of mystery, from the photo of the singer on the cover (small cowboy hat pushed back on his forehead, staring out at the world with large, haunted, childlike eyes) to the fierce little tunes within, which seem equally distilled from the musk and loam of old American folk and new-millennium 'alt' otherness. There's also a gripping punk desperation that tugs at the edges of many of the largely acoustic songs. Whatever haints vex him and fuel his music, that struggle is the listener's gain."

- Erik Hage


Famous Anonymous Wilderness (2003)
Catamount Records
Hell Under The Skullbones (2006)
Sonic Rendezvous

"No Way Out But Down" appears on For A Decade Of Sin: 11 Years Of Bloodshot Records (2005)
"Dead Man's Waltz" appears on Uncut Magazines Tracks Inspired By Bob Dylan (2004)
"Hutch Jack Flats Rag" appears on Hit The Hay Vol. 7 (2004) Sound Asleep Records
"Emma Rumble" appears on the Pop Culture Press CD Sampler 20 (2004)

Various tracks from Famous Anonymous Wilderness have received national and international radio airplay on a variety of public, college, community, and AA radio stations, specialty shows, XFM Satellite Radio, and numerous net streams.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Graham Lindsey hails from the hills of very rural Wisconsin. The 27 year-old was raised on punk rock outside Madison, WI and at the tender age of 12 was drafted into the acclaimed “world’s youngest punk band” Old Skull.

During his late teens, many brief and repudiated moves around the country (New Orleans and Brooklyn among them) eventually led him to a self-imposed exile in rural Nebraska where he holed up in a farm house basement. He began writing his own punk-influenced folk songs which would become his debut album 'Famous Anonymous Wilderness'.

Lindsey’s 'Famous Anonymous Wilderness' was produced by Steve Deutsch (Linda Thompson, Lisa Loeb, Van Dyke Parks) and released September 2, 2003 on Catamount Records to much critical acclaim.

Featured on a special edition of NPR's All Songs Considered as well as making it onto dozens of top ten lists, 'Famous Anonymous Wilderness' was most notably heralded by No Depression magazine as “the most audacious roots songwriter’s debut since Gillian Welch’s Revival”, and also received Honorable Mention for Best Debut/Artist and was chosen as one of the Top Forty Albums of 2003 by Harp magazine.

Graham has toured nationally in support of his debut release and has opened for acts including Robbie Fulks, Lou Barlow, The Hackensaw Boys, Oh Susanna, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, and Laurie Stirratt, and has shared stages with Dave Heumann (Palace Brothers), and Dave Bergander (Celebration).

In December of 2004, Uncut magazine featured Graham’s song "Dead Man’s Waltz" on their cover mount cd ‘Tracks Inspired By Bob Dylan’.

Recently his song "Emma Rumble" was used in the opening credit sequence of the feature film Dunsmore (starring W. Earl Brown, Talia Shire, Barry Corbin) directed by Peter Spirer.

A previously unreleased original song by Graham, "No Way Out But Down", appears on Bloodshot Record's 10-year anniversary compilation 'For A Decade Of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records' released October 25, 2005.

Graham Lindsey, with producer Steve Deutsch again at the helm, has recently finished up his second effort, 'Hell Under The Skullbones', featuring musical guest appearances by Van Dyke Parks, Greg Leisz, Moris Tepper (Captain Beefheart), Larry Taylor (Tom Waits), and Nick Vincent (Frank Black And The Catholics) to name a few. The album was released January 16, 2006 on Sonic Rendezvous in Europe. No U.S. release has been scheduled yet.

Graham will begin touring in Europe in the late Spring of 2006 through Belmont Bookings of Amsterdam. He continues playing shows regionally in the U.S. and is writing for his third album.