|Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase||Bob Gramann|
As a folk music presenter, Bob Gramann likes songs that say something new or look at something old in a new way – songs that make the listener think, feel, and connect the dots. So his own songs have to have that spark of insight, that “Aha!” of listener satisfaction. His fourth CD Granddad Planted Trees, coming in fall, includes some of his favorite topics of insight: science, politics, and human priorities. Gramann draws together unexpected aspects of life, using familiar frames with sharpened images within. The title song, for example, is both politically astute and comfortably traditional in sound. It draws the listener into a melodic and comfortable nostalgia that is torn by the need to reconcile persistent images three years after 9/11.
Over the past 12 years, Gramann has earned respect as a songwriter, presenter, and guitar maker in central Virginia. His Fredericksburg Songwriters’ Showcase series, begun in 1993 with Peter Mealy, brings performers to the historic town eight times a year. His handmade guitars, seen at Picker’s Supply in downtown Fredericksburg, at NERFA, and on his website, boast a list of celebrity compliments. His open back banjo, completed in 2003, is especially useful for songs with political themes.
Bob was voted Fredericksburg’s Best Acoustic Act for 1995 in the Free Lance-Star’s music poll. His song “Sara Sing” is included on the FOCUS compilation Capitol AcousticsIII CD. Among other honors are a surprise WAMMIE nomination and play on NPR’s Car Talk. Sing Out Magazine called him “witty and insightful.” The Washington Post’s Eve Ziebart saw him as “a where’s-my-Whole-Earth-catalogue sort of New Guy who’d rather be kayaking than fighting the good lawn fight.” His three CDs (Mostly True Songs, That Squirrel Song, and See Farther in the Darkness) are available in select record stores and from his website. Gramann maintains his notoriety by performing songs with local and historic settings several times a year in Fredericksburg and throughout the mid-Atlantic states. Behind the scenes, he serves on the First Night steering committee and on the board of the Fredericksburg Festival of the Arts.
An avid canoeist and conservationist, Gramann is especially proud that his musical urgings raise public awareness of river and environmental issues. Sometimes it is a long process, but he is patient and philosophical. “Rappahannock Running Free” first called for the removal of an aging dam 12 years ago. In February, 2004, Gramann had the pleasure of singing this song to a crowd of thousands just minutes before two major explosions breeched the dam’s foundation. “I performed for the world,” says Gramann of the CNN and network coverage of the event.
You can see Bob perform at the Friends of the Rappahannock Concerts in Fredericksburg, infrequent restaurant gigs, the Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase , and at folk coffee houses in the Washington, D.C. area.
Bob also runs the Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase , a monthly concert series featuring original acoustic music by Fredericksburg area, regional songwriters and "name acts", both resident and traveling through.
put together (with info & pics from Bob
Gramann ) by Ernest Ackermann.
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