Grant Livingston

Grant Livingston

 Miami, Florida, USA
BandFolkAcoustic

South Florida's Historian-in-Song: Topical and entertaining, Grant's original songs of Florida feature a ragtime/swing guitar style and an offbeat sense of humor. A favorite at acoustic music venues, State Parks, schools, libraries, and festivals since the mid-80s! Great for both adults and kids.

Biography

Grant Livingston has been a favorite at folk venues since the mid-eighties. An offbeat sense of humor comes through the stories told in Livingston's songs. His lyrics are relentlessly positive, whether he's teaching "a sailing lesson in three easy verses," (Pointy Side Up) or planning his own funeral! (A Little Invitation) As a guitarist Livingston employs a style which is a mix of ragtime, country blues, and early swing. He also adds his interpretation of classic songs from the 1920s to his performance of originals.

In the finest tradition of storytelling, Grant Livingston weaves history, environment, and a sense of humor though his songs. His positive, energetic performances have audiences of all ages laughing, singing along, and talking about the show long after it’s over! A champion of the 1900-1930 style of ragtime, swing, and country-blues, Grant appears throughout the South at theatres, state parks, folk festivals, restaurants, coffeehouses and schools. Grant's songs reflect his love for his native South Florida, earning him the title of Miami's Historian-in-Song.

Named by the Miami New Times as 2003’s Best Acoustic Performer, Livingston has three recordings of original songs to his credit. Let Me Off The Leash (2001), was produced in conjunction with Nashville producer Cliff Goldmacher, and capitalizes on his Livingston’s swing influences. The One That Got Away (1997) is a solo recording which features guitar and vocals. Livingston's oldest recording, Florida Rain, focusing on Florida's history and environment, was updated with new songs and released on CD (2003). Grant 's music was the subject of two short films on Miami WBPT-TV's "New Florida" series, and he has been heard frequently on public radio in Miami, Tampa and Gainesville.

Einstein and Gypsy Rose on a road trip, a guy who is way serious about eating pie, a French-speaking cat in a graveyard, armadillos, barnacles, an unleashed dog - you'll meet them all (and more) in the songs of Coconut Grove singer/songwriter Grant Livingston.

Named “Best Acoustic Performer 2003” - Miami New Times

“Livingston mixes ragtime, blues, and swing with unusual topics, combining observational humor with the scratchy Victrola style of the Squirrel Nut Zippers”. - Creative Loafing, Atlanta

“Magical - his word really lighten the soul” - Miami Herald

“He may have an easygoing demeanor, but Livingston surprises listeners with his biting wit and cerebral lyrics . . “. - Miami New Times

“. . . his ragtime, blues, and swing approach guarantees a laid-back, snorking good time” - Moonlight Music Cafe, Birmingham

Lyrics

Water Matters

Written By: Grant Livingston & Cathy DeWitt

Water Matters
©2004 Grant Livingston & Cathy DeWitt

It’s the stuff that covers more than half the earth,
Water Matters!
Without it, you know, mud would just be dirt,
Water Matters!
And you and me, we’re made of water,
Well, most of us, about three quarters,
Water Matters,
Water Matters to me!!

Give me and H, give me an H, give me an O!
Water Matters!
That’s the chemical formula for water, doncha know?
Water Matters!
And all the fishes in the sea
Call H-2-0 H-O-M-E!
Water Matters,
Water Matters to me!!

Water goes up to the sky
And it comes back down as rain
The sun beats down onto the ground
And the water goes back up again

We sent a rover all the way to Mars,
Water Matters!
To see if they had life there just like ours,
Water Matters!
They’ve got canals, but they’re all dry.
If you got no water, you got no life!
Water Matters,
Water Matters to me!!

Ask a gator and he's sure to say
Water Matters
Ask any bonefish down in Florida Bay
Water Matters
Ask a deer, ask a manatee
Won't someone tell the human beings
Water Matters
Water matters to me!

Julia's Garden

Written By: Grant Livingston

Julia's Garden
© 1985 Grant Livingston

When Henry Flagler built his railroad
He built that railroad south
Along the coast of Florida it grew
It started out in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and then
It rolled on down through old Daytona, too

Through the palmetto and the pines along the coast
Heading ever southward without fail
But Henry Flagler thought that West Palm Beach
Was where he'd end that rail
'Til Julia put those flowers in the mail
'Til Julia put those flowers in the mail

Now, Henry Flagler had a vision
Of Florida, you see
A tropical American paradise
Of flowers and of citrus trees
The frost would never mar
Was Florida in Henry Flagler's eyes

But the winter of 1894 was very cold
And they tried to save the crops to no avail
And Henry Flagler thought his vision
Of paradise had failed
'Til Julia put those flowers in the mail
'Til Julia put those flowers in the mail

Now Julia Tuttle was a widow
From Cleveland she did come
To settle in the wilderness of Biscayne Bay
She missed the city lights of home
The concerts and the plays
But how she loved those sunny winter days

She planted a garden of flowers that only grow
In a land where sunshine never fails
And dreamed there'd someday be a city there
And knew it would be true
If Flagler would just extend his railroad
If Flagler would only build his rail

So Julia Tuttle wrote to Flagler
But she got no reply
Despite all her convincing and her praise
Until in '94 the frost
Bit deep into the south
And left her sunny Biscayne Bay unscathed

She picked some of the finest flowers growing in her garden
Hibiscus bright and orange blossoms pale
And Julia Tuttle found the captain
Said, just before he sailed,
Bring these to Henry Flagler with the mail
Bring these to Henry Flagler with the mail

Now Henry Flagler did not hesitate
But he put out a call
For men to be the workers on his rail, new rail
They settled Delray, Deerfield, Dania
And old Ft. Lauderdale
'Cause Julia put those flowers in the mail
'Cause Julia put those flowers in the mail

And they built a town upon the banks of the Miami
That grew just like out of some fairy tale
Until today we've got our highways, the zoo and Bloomingdale's
'Cause Julia put those flowers in the mail
'Cause Julia put those flowers in the mail

Because before there was a Kendall drive
Or even Tamiami Trail
Julia put those flowers in the mail
Yeah, Julia put those flowers in the mail

Between the Covers (A song about Books!)

Written By: Grant Livingston

Between the Covers
©2002 Grant Livingston

There's a place where dragons fly
Breathing fire into the air
In a brilliant purple sky
And all the people have green hair
Where wizards cast their magic spells
And dinosaurs still roam
It's a most peculiar place
But you can feel right at home

CHORUS:
Between the covers
You will discover
A world like no other world
A world made just for you
Between the covers
You only have to look
Between the covers
The covers of a book!

There's a country you can see
Where you can find a mysterious clue
To solve the perfect mystery
Like Sherkock Holmes would do
It's long ago and its far away
But you can go right there yourself
'Cause you'll find this magic land
Standing right there on your shelf!

REPEAT CHORUS:

BRIDGE:
And when you go to sleep tonight
You’re gonna be between the covers, too
And you might dream a dream that's never been dreamed
By anybody else but you
And if this is a dream you want to share
You only have to write it down somewhere ...

REPEAT CHORUS 2x:

Discography

Grant has three CDs of original songs:
Let Me Off the Leash
Florida Rain
The One That Got Away

Set List

For adults Grant's concerts are two to two-and-a-half hours including an intermission.

For kids programs, 35-50 minutes is a typical length.

Grant's show is comprised mainly of his original songs of Florida. Here are just a few examples:

Melaleuca - About Florida's most stubborn exotic. It's a singalong, of course!

Julia's Garden - The story of Henry Flagler and Julia Tuttle and the start of the city of Miami.

One Everglades - A celebration of Florida's unique wetland.

Voice of the River - A song for Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Armadillo - A cautionary tale from the point of view of an armadillo on Interstate 75!

Grant's show also includes some songs by other songwriters in Florida's great family of song.

Grant also sings some of the seldom-heard songs of the 1920s to promote Florida real-estate (some of which actually WAS above water).