Al Grantham is a modern product of the flower power era and it shows with their recent self-titled release. This is the John Tweedy and Scott Walker anti-establishment sentiment that a lot of ’60s nostalgic audiences are looking for. Al Grantham – the man who is the namesake of the album – works guitar, vocals, harmonica, and hand percussion. Kaleb Hikele (drums, percussion, and keyboards) and Ian Boos (bass on various tracks) also worked to make this release possible. The songs were written by Al Grantham and that interesting album art is done by Toronto artist Elise Troister.
I’m starting out with a vague impression that this album sounds a lot like a lost types version of a Simon and Garfunkel collection. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since they’re pursuing a sort of ’60s chic, but with more of a Bob Dylan style. Hell, everything is there from the smoothly stringing guitar, the occasionally thrashing drums, and yes – even the harmonica.
This is the anti-establishment album of recent years that a lot of nostalgic people are looking for (though those who say “there’s no good music anymore” will still find a way to complain about bands like these who are making a conscious attempt to recapture that time).
The album starts out with promise as ‘The Fence’ and ‘Ms. Who I Thought That You Were’ set the tone. You’ll find that Al Grantham weren’t falsely advertising their brand: there’s evident Dylan inspiration but there’s that modern touch that makes most of the songs relevant to today’s generation. You could argue that the appeal comes from the relatively new cultural movement of teens preferring older artists like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to more modern artists.
What’s also really fun about the album is the lyrics and the fact that they don’t solely pursue typical rock n’roll themes like love, sex, drugs, partying – yada yada. Take ‘Yard Sales’, for instance. It’s actually a really charming fucking song.
There are also a few weird tangents that come out of nowhere throughout the album – like an odd speaking piece at the very beginning of the album and another one after ‘May They Come To Be’.
The band continues this soft pattern throughout the rest of the album, making a great album to relax to. No, you wouldn’t take this to the gym on your iPod, but it’s great reflection music. Great for a walk, at least.
If you’re looking for an extension to ’60s Bob Dylan and you want someone with a different perspective on the style, then this modern rendition of a time far from forgotten is for you. Get Al Grantham’s album, you’ll be supporting something good.
Check out their BandCamp page to hear their music.