Greener

by Grampas Grass

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about

By Jackson Truax

Greener, the third album from Grampas Grass is a forty-eight minute euphoric thrill ride, serving as the band’s love letter to the sacred traditions of jam band music while ever breaking down barriers and carving out their own path.
One of the many things that makes Greener a great achievement is the band’s ability to infuse the jam band sensibility with lyrics about themes including marriage, parenthood, activism and the passage of time. What results is a singular experience in which the music offers all the exuberant joy of your favorite show with the thoughtful ruminations of a classic singer-songwriter album.
“Needs” is a memorable highlight, with guitarists John Malsberger and Brett Davis leaning into the influences of prog rock, as well as the great dual-guitar albums of 1970s. Organist Eric Lockhart is such a meaningful presence here, stalwart in his drive to infuse the music with sonic warmth while providing a Master Class in his instrument’s ability to take what everyone else in the band is doing and tie it all together.
“You Are The One” stands out as the song that would likely serve as the albums’ first single, if those still existed. The brilliance here is that it’s the only track that could otherwise serve as a mainstream pop/rock radio hit, save for the fact that the narrative is clearly documenting the courtship rituals of devout stoners. But that encapsulates what makes Greener special. The album captures Grampas Grass opening the party up to the widest possible audience, while always letting their own vision of the band serve as their north star.
“Vampire Kings”, the band’s pained meditation on the current state of politics in America, is the song that feels like it best serves the tradition of classic album cuts. The slower tempo gives drummer Richard Kaylor and percussionist Antoine Arvizu the chance to settle into and work a different groove, while letting Davis really shine as a bluesman. “Days Gone By” is one of the most immediately uplifting songs on Greener, propelled by Chis Schmoke’s lilting bassline placed right at the center of the mix. One of the great pleasures of the album is following what he’s contributing throughout the song. As it is on the whole album, he manages to be a compelling force in moving the groove forward and shaping the ecstatic feel of Greener.
One of the reasons the album feels so approachable is that it was obviously crafted with a staggering level of care. Seven musicians are ever making significant contributions without any one member ever feeling like they’re even tugging on the spotlight, much less stealing it. The entire enterprise feels so slickly produced without ever losing its sense of intimacy or playfulness. Credit is due here to Malsberger and Arvizu for their accomplishments as the albums’ co-producers.
While Lisa Malsberger’s vocal strength and resonance never waivers, with “On the Day I Die” and “Hold Our Position” also serving as among her most engaging tracks, her greatest vehicle and most resonate performance is arguably “Wet Cement”, the albums’ gospel-infused closer. As Lisa possesses a voice best known for communicating incredible soulfulness, it should be no surprise that it’s a perfect fit for leaning into Gospel, a musical tradition known for expressing superlative pain, hope and resilience. This is also a highlight for John Malsberger in his capacity as the band’s sole songwriter, both in the terms of how affecting many of the individual lyrics are, as well as the stunning impact of the narrative as a whole. This is the song that demands the most repeated listenings. It’s also the perfect example of an album cut that each fan could have an equally profound relationship with, while also having vastly different interpretations. Songs like this were why FM radio and late-night listening sessions were created.
Even in an apparently endless sea of jam bands, it’s well worth making room on your iPod for Grampas Grass. Their grass is green, their party is hopping, and there’s plenty of room on the dance floor - a place you’ll likely end up after listening to Greener.

credits

released October 31, 2017

GRAMPAS GRASS is Brett Davis - Guitar/Vocals, Richard Kaylor - Drums, Eric Lockhart - Organ/Piano/Keys, John Malsberger- Guitar/Vocals, Lisa Malsberger - Vocals, Chris Schmoke - Bass/Vocals with Antoine Arvisu - Percussion

Produced by Anthony "Antoine" Arvizu & John Malsberger
All Songs written by John Malsberger & Arranged by Grampas Grass
Recorded at The Compound Studio in Long Beach, CA
Engineered by Anthony "Antoine" Arvizu
Engineering Assistant: Andrew Guzman
Mastered by Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal Recording

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Grampas Grass Long Beach, California

Heralding from the sun drenched Southern California, we call our sound “Organic Soul Rock” and know you won’t be able to resist Lisa’s soulful voice, the well crafted songs, and the diversity of our music. Whether painting the soundscape for a backyard BBQ or settling in for the next road trip, Grampas Grass is that perfect groove you need to set the mood. Let the music flow and the Grass grow! ... more

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Track Name: On The Day I Die
On The Day I Die

There were times in the beginning
Heart broke I was pushed aside
Rose up from the ashes
With your love able to fly

And on the day I die I’ll see my family
Standing round with tear in eye
They’ll be singing to the heavens
That it’s time to be by your side

Found my voice, it gave me power
To heal from the pain of life
Now I sing forever joyful
Cause I know I’m gonna be alright

And on the day I die, there will be dancing
A melody in the air
Every heart full of laughter
From memories they choose to share

She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give

I met you behind the music
The galaxy put us there
You gave me three lovely children
Joys of my life none compare

On the day I die, there will be roses
Sweet perfume to fill the air
If there’s one thing I would want
Please don’t be sad for me
Oh please don’t be sad for me

She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give
She gave all she got all she had to give
Track Name: Needs
Needs

Everyone needs someone to talk to
Some just want someone to blame
Not everyone will tell the truth
They’d rather lie to your face

Do you feel my vibration
I’m only here to shed light
No talking trash no starting fights
Just having a good time

Got no time for lies and deception
Every minute has been claimed
By the love that surrounds me
No time for silly games

Some people claim to be the victim
Hard times falling just like rain
Everybody needs a little sympathy
But don’t you drag nobody down

Got no time for lies and deception
Every minute has been claimed
By the love that surrounds me
No time for silly games

Do you feel my vibration
I’m only here to shed light
No talking trash no starting fights
Just having a good time

Got no time for lies and deception
Every minute has been claimed
By the love that surrounds me
No time for silly games
Track Name: You Are The One
You Are The One

Oh you were strutting cross the dance floor
Made me wanna watch just a little more
All the people buzzing in the ballroom
Band was playing such a fine tune
Oh it seemed you want to woo me
Asking all your friends if they knew me
Oh you were moving my direction
Think you were looking for connection

I don’t know if you are the one for me
Maybe I should let you try
I don’t know if you are the one for me
Maybe I should let you try

Oh I could tell you are a charmer
When I freely gave my number
Oh I look in to your eye
So much more to my surprise
Oh you made me feel so pretty
With all the words that you tell me
Oh you had your soul in your pocket
Babe I’ve got the key let’s unlock it

I don’t know if you are the one for me
Maybe I should let you try
I don’t know if you are the one for me
Maybe I should let you try

Yes I know, and I see,
I’m for you and you’re for me

I don’t know if you are the one for me
I don’t know if you are the one for me
I don’t know if you are the one for me
Maybe I should let you try
Track Name: Hold Our Position
Hold Our Position

Sometimes I feel such duress
So many things are such a mess
All this pain world round
There is fighting in the streets
This and more I can endure
Long as you and I are right

We got to hold our position yes
Point our face up to the stars
We got to hold our position yes
Make it through the roughest part

I want to feel good, I want to look good
By your side tonight
I want to feel good, I want to feel right
In your arms tonight
I want to feel good, I want to look good
By your side tonight
I want to feel good, I want to feel right
In your arms tonight

I can weep til the tears run dry
Won’t help the pain in my heart
Frames of mind can get stuck tight
Leaving me lost and alon
But I swear if you just hold on
It will all turn out right

We got to hold our position yes
Point our face up to the stars
We got to hold our position yes
Make it through the roughest part

I want to feel good, I want to look good
By your side tonight
I want to feel good, I want to feel right
In your arms tonight
I want to feel good, I want to look good
By your side tonight
I want to feel good, I want to feel right
In your arms tonight
Track Name: Vampire Kings
Vampire Kings

I feel a change coming, oh Lord it has to be
No longer be blind little sheep, choosing not to see
It’s beyond the politicians, they’re just puppets on string
When you pull back the curtain and turn on the light,
You’ll see the Vampire Kings

I ain’t here to testify ‘bout sorrow and woe
If you know your history you know how this story goes
I can read the writing on the wall,
The plan is for all of us to fall
As they steal away our freedoms and our liberty
Will we look up from our phone ‘fore it’s too late to see?

It’s we who have the numbers, ten million to one
But we find ourselves in shakles
And it’s they who hold the gun
Yes they have the power, the governments do kneel
And we stand by and watch as they destroy the Earth
With wounds that never heal

It’s a new world order, in store for you and me
When the dollar falls and the devils rise no more the land of the free

I feel a change coming, it’s time to make a stand
This ain’t paranoia, believe this shits been planned
They divert our attention with gladiators on screen
And we shout from the left, and we shout from the right,
And it’s all just a big smoke screen
Track Name: Days Gone By
Days Gone By

Oh I saw you there my lady, on the other side of town
Saw you put your arms around him
And how it made you smile
No longer me you need, my heart begins to bleed
For those days gone by
I don’t like seeing you, all it does is make me blue
No matter how hard I try

Oh how I miss those days gone by
Oh lord I wish you were by my side

You know my mama raised me to stand up tall
But without you there beside me it don’t feel right at all
I’m not the one for you, oh lord I know it’s true
And it still makes me cry
I don’t like seeing you, all it does is make me blue
No matter how hard I try

Oh how I miss those days gone by
Oh lord I wish you were by my side

Oh I saw you there my lady, on the other side of town
Saw you put your arms around him
And how it made you smile
No longer me you need, my heart begins to bleed
For those days gone by
I don’t like seeing you, all it does is make me blue
No matter how hard I try

Oh how I miss those days gone by
Oh lord I wish you were by my side
Oh how I miss those days gone by
Oh lord I wish you were by my side
Track Name: Stand Up
Stand Up

We got stand up, stand up for what’s right
We’ve got to stand up, don’t back down from the fight

Stand up now brothers and sisters,
There’s no time to be meek
Stand together and raise our voice,
Put the word on the street

We got stand up, stand up for what’s right
We’ve got to stand up, don’t back down from the fight

How much longer can we go on this way
(lying to ourselves)
Pretending everythings gonna be okay

We got stand up, bring justice for all
We’ve got to stand up, let the establishment fall

It’s time for a revolution, a revolution of love
No gender, race or religion, should stand above

We got stand up, stand up for what’s right
We’ve got to stand up, don’t back down from the fight

How much longer can we go on this way
(lying to ourselves)
Pretending everythings gonna be okay

We got stand up, stand together as one
We’ve got to stand up, til all the fighting is done

It’s time for a revolution, a revolution of peace
Together we can change the world,
With kind elbow grease

We got stand up, stand up for what’s right
We’ve got to stand up, don’t back down from the fight

How much longer can we go on this way
(lying to ourselves)
Pretending everythings gonna be okay
Track Name: Wet Cement
Wet Cement

On a day not so long ago,
I was walking down a country road
The asphalt crumbled beneath my souls,
Where Mother Nature had broken through
I saw you standing there beneath the willow,
In your threadbare dime store blues
And I know an I know an I know
I should have turned away,
But I did not and that was my choice

Like wet cement you left your mark on me
Like wet cement you left your mark on me
The scars are evident, yes they’re plain to see
Like a road map to a broken heart

I should have guessed you would spell trouble for me
When your eyes sparkled in the sun-kissed summer shade
We were talking, my heart bursting,
You brushed against my hand
Like a ten ton school girl crush
Some things aren’t meant to last
And some things are too good to be true
And I did not see the fork in the road
If I had known, I had known
All the pain you would bring to me
I still could not have told you no

Like wet cement you left your mark on me
Like wet cement you left your mark on me
The scars are evident, yes they’re plain to see
Like a road map to a broken heart

There was a darkness inside no light could penetrate
And when I realized by then it was too late
To save you from yourself

They say that time can be a temperamental thing
And all we are is just dust on the breeze
So I kept my eye on you and the storm clouds brewing
Never expecting you’d blow yourself away

Like wet cement you left your mark on me
Like wet cement you left your mark on me
The scars are evident, yes they’re plain to see
Like a road map to a broken heart

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