Sunday, December 19, 2010

Inescapably Ideal: Safe House by The Grisly Hand

Ever since the Tanka Ray show the other night when Ben Summers went out and got me a copy from his car, I can't stop listening to THE GRISLY HAND on their new album Safe House. Lauren Krum's rascal-Dorthy vocals lock with dust bowl persistence to the stutter-step harmonies of this fountain city ensemble.

The Distraction by The Grisly Hand. Recorded live at Davey's Uptown, Kansas City, MO - 11/20/10

The first time Julia and I saw The Grisly Hand perform was when their banjo player Mike Tuley married our friend Brooke on his family's farm. Do I need to say it was unforgettable?

Paris of the Plains by The Grisly Hand

The phrase "Paris of the Plains" along with "City of Fountains" and "Heart of America" are slogans you can read on welcome signs at the airport. If it weren't for these punks turned Americana, I don't know who would intricately unfold Kansas City's municipal tag-lines through sung narrative.

Lyrically, the song's character travels the semi-rural bi-state area around KC, finding little work and sending postcards back to a spurned lover in KC (possibly the city itself?). It is as though the character charts a broad geographic perimeter around the city. People and postage are drawn back in, toward the the local maximum at the center. Kansas City, the biggest city within reach, becomes inescapably ideal: a Paris of the Plains.

If you can't tell, I love this music. You can support these heroes and get the whole album by purchasing Safe House via the iTunes Store. Or try to spot Ben as he slings them from the back of his car. Something to listen to next time you're at KCI.

The Grisly Hand
  • Kian Bryne -Fiddle
  • Andy Davis - Mandolin, Keyboards
  • Jimmy Fitzner - Electric Guitar, Vocals
  • Lauren Krum - Vocals, Tambourine
  • John Nichols - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Piano
  • Charles Snyder - Drums, Vocals
  • Ben Summers - Acoustic Guitar
  • Mike Tuley - Banjo
* Most of the photos in the wedding sideshow above are by Julia Fredenburg.
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