Michael Gruber
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Michael Gruber


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Yesterday is Make-Believe"

Acoustic songwriters take note: If you want an example of the right way to pull off an album, Michael Gruber's "Yesterday Is Make Believe" is a case in point. The guitar rings bright, his voice is rich and deep, the production is professional without being too heavy. And he's got strong songs in this ten-tune batch. I have listened to this record repeatedly and have enjoyed it consistently.

Gruber performed at the February Songwriters in the Round at the Casbah. One of the highlights of that set, "Truth Is", is the leadoff (on YIMB sic), with quirky words and an upbeat groove that builds. The ballad "Marlena Valentive" is another gem. And on "You Caught Me Dreaming," a foot-tapping ballad , the words say alot about where the mind goes while listening to this album. "Driving out of Allegheny on a cold September night/ My thoughts escape me in the dimming rays of twilight."

One of the reasons that this album works is that Gruber leaves no base uncovered: The songwriting, singing, and musicianship are all strong, along with a dash of personality that is both whimsical and vulnerable. Gruber sings, plays acoustic guitar and bass on this album, with assists from Biff Blumfumgagne on violin, Lil Rev on harmonica, and Peter Roller on Oahu slide guitar.

Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" is one of my favorite tunes in Dylan's catalog, and it was good to hear Gruber cover it here. But I'm biased: I'd much rather hear another Gruber original than take up space with covers. The album is a shade on the meditative ballads; Gruber shows evidence of an edge that he shouldn't e shy to amplify.

"Yesterday is Make Believe" was co-produced by Gruber and Jeff Ray, recorded at four different studios {Beeftone and Wisconsin Plastics in Madison, Guy-Fi Productions in Milwaukee and Sun Ray Studios in ST. Paul,} and mixed and mastered at Axis Recording Studios in West Allis.

Aaron Nathans
- Madison Songwriters' B-side Review


American Finger-Style Guitar c.1999
Yesterday is Make Believe
MSG/ Made at Home Vol.2



Thirty years back, my father gave up the six-string and signed up the seven year old for lessons instead.

That early start playing Skip to My Lou in the second grade Hawthorne Elementary talent show led to: Jr. High School bands emulating The Beatles and The Replacements, a degree from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in American Finger-style Guitar and a living playing music in the Madison, WI scene.

My debut release, Yesterday is Make Believe, was, in the the words of Rick's Cafe, "... an enjoyable collection of songs that highlight Gruber’s best talents…The tracks run the gamut from easy swinging folk with R& B leanings, to pop songs in a band setting, to finger-style acoustic instrumentals. The emphasis is squarely on the acoustic guitar and Gruber’s rich voice. " Thanks, Rick!

In '05 and '06, I kept busy performing solo as well backing local songwriters Mark Croft, Jim James and the Damn Shames, Josh Harty, Greg Winkler, and playing with Tim Haub in the duo Duke and the Uber Dude.

This February, I participated in the 4th annual FAWM (February Album Writing Month) songwriting challenge to write 14.5 songs in 29 days [leap year]. It was a great month. I did some co-writing; Dig that Merry Virgin with James Travis of Jim James and the Damn Shams, and finished 14.5 songs under the deadline which means I am a FAWM winner and awarded all the glorious bragging rights that entails. I've already added a few of the songs to my repertoire so I will definitely play you a new tune the next time you come hear me live.
Now I'm participating in Demo Recording Month, putting together a band to play my tunes as well as playing bass in a The Cream Cover Band.

Please check out my myspace.
All my best to guitarists and songwriters everywhere.