Well this is where all the artist put their
info about starting, influences, philosophies and other related
bullshit so people can get to know them and why they're doing what
they're doing. Ah, but this is where the problem lies. Nobody is
going to write my story because for the most part no one knows my
story. I've never been asked " hey Grover, who are you, and why do
you do what you do?" It's always been more like "Why do you do
that?". With the emphasis on that. So here goes. Just remember that
since I am telling my own story that makes this autobiographical.
Wow, talk about a completely independent production.
Anyway, it all started back in 1951 when I was
born into a poor black family (oh yeh, that's Steve Martin, sorry).
Actually I was born and raised to two loving parents in a small town
in southern New Jersey. Amongst the pinelands and farms where the
prevalent music of the area was country and bluegrass. And I found
that as I was growing up I actually liked it. But of course, as with
all rebellious youth at the time, rock and roll also crept into my
Now it was around the time I turned
15yrs old that I actually became interested in learning how
to play the guitar. Most notably the bass guitar, which was
the instrument of my choice at that time. So I started
playing in the dance band at school and backing up budding
rock stars of the time.
At the same time I started picking up
the six string acoustic guitar and delved into the world of
country and bluegrass. Which was a natural progression being
that this was the most prevalent genre of music as mentioned
this time , folk music was making a rise in the music world.
Especially the singer/songwriters. This intrigued me as I could
write my own songs and play them solo. The period being the late
60's early 70's, coffeehouses were in abundance. In church
basements, college campuses, and even store fronts in stripmalls. I
started to get bookings in these clubs and a small following. Then
while attending one of the local colleges I meet another guitar
player with the same interest and formed a duo, (Girtrude Hawk).
Things began to take off.
We even appeared on public TV in New Jersey, on
a show called the Wireless anything goes notebook that was hosted by
a former Miss New Jersey.
I was also president of the Camden County
Folksong Society and a member of the Philadelphia Folksong Society,
so we were making some good contacts. It was a good time of packing
our instruments and equipment and rolling on down the road to
various gigs, like two gypsy songmen. We also spent some time
playing with a Bluegrass band.
But like most good duos, (Simon and Garfunkle,
Loggins and Messina, etc) it eventually came time to part ways for
reasons that even today I don't understand. So in 1973, I once again
journeyed into the solo realm. Then in 1980, I ran into a fellow who
basically was really into jazz, and he would play those fancy, fast
riffs behind my steady honky tonk rhythms. A style we affectionately
called cowjazz. Off on the road again, with someone to at least talk
to on those long rides. Ah but it too would dissipate into some far
away memory, as one day I just sort of lost track of him.
The year was 1985, and I was again going it
alone. Now I'm beginning to wonder why don't people stay around long
enough to take it to the highest level that it could go.
Well what ever the reason, it seemed that
everyone I tried to hook up with either didn't really want to play
what I was playing or didn't really care to help develop it into
something that would stand out amongst all the other
singer/songwriter material that was being presented. Hell I was
beginning to get a complex.
So for the next
16yrs I delved heavily into the Austin sound. The musical style that
was originated by those that became disillusioned with the Nashvile
country scene. Guys like Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Walon
Jennings, etc. A style more suited to the singer/songwriter aspect
of country music. The likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Sandt, Joe Ely,
Butch Hancock, and a whole lot of others. So Texas Country Music was
now the direction I was going in. A mixture of honky tonkin,
rockabilly, western swing, and story telling kind of music. I began
Now came the next glitch in what I thought was
a great plan. Well actually it was couple of stumbling blocks and
hurdles that I had to struggle to get over. First off the other
musicians either didn't want to play this kind of music or they
couldn't grasp the concept of what I was going for. And the venue
owners weren't sure of this kind of music playing in their place. So
I played the sporadic gig here and there, making a few followers
along the way, that even today I view as friends.
So if your keeping score, and have done the
math, yep this year I'll be 61yrs old. An old guy still having fun
and doing what he likes and wants to do. Making people smile and
maybe giving them some respite from their stressful lives. And
playing my music to best of my ability. At small clubs, open mics,
jam circles, and any place I can. With no awards, no bullshit, just
good kickass Texas country music.
And when people do ask "Grover, why do you do
THAT ?". I can say because I can and want to, with no regrets.
Because that is THE SPIRIT OF TEXAS.