Baby Gramps

Saturday, May 9

Highly conspicuous anywhere outside of a ZZ Top impersonator’s convention, Seattle’s own renegade steel guitarist Baby Gramps literally sounds like a flesh-and-blood Muppet who’s just a little worse for the wear. Gramps alternates between a high-pitched squeal and throaty growl that would make both Jim Henson and Tuvan singers proud. With his rusty strings and completely unrefined playing style, Gramps appears to aspire to folk and Django-era jazz guitar, but keeps both feet planted in the dirt of American roots music at its most raw. His playfully absurd lyrics, however, transcend both. And, while Gramps might initially look like he’ll appeal to children with his silly antics, he’s just as likely to make ‘em cry. At the same time, Gramps would no doubt incorporate the sound of a screaming child with panache. “Do you believe in faeries?” asks Gramps on one of his songs. Whether you do or you don’t, you’ll have little doubt that Gramps is a creature in a class all by himself. Photo courtesy David Margules.

Sat., May 9, 9 p.m., 2009

 
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