Buying a single song is a silly way to spend your money. A band works its ass off writing a wealth of songs and the one song that’s the ear-candy sells for $0.99 a pop while the rest of the album, with arguably better songs, gets ignored. It’s purchasing that lacks imagination, revealing the buyer to being a gutless sucker interested in only one dish in a multi-course meal.
At least buying singles in the pre-digital age meant buying a 7-inch record. The “45” also included a B-Side, possibly something not found on any of the artist’s other records.
With vinyl records making a hearty comeback, more artists and fans are coming back to the idea of the album being a full package in addition to being a collection of individual songs with a single. It’s not just a throwback idea to artists that excelled at the art of the album like The Who or Frank Zappa; some current artists have always embraced the album as a listening experience in whatever audio medium you choose. Put on the record, start with Track 1 and end with Track Last.
That was the idea for “Kiss the Ground,” the latest effort from Grant Farm. The Front Range-based band will perform Friday (Sept. 9) at The Balcony Backstage.
“We got behind this vision, this theme of the struggle in life. Getting through life, and all these mythological and spiritual statements that uplift us and get us through that struggle. This is our ‘Working Man’s’ Grant Farm,” said guitar player and vocalist Tyler Grant.
“We’ve been inspired by a bunch of artists going back to this full-album format, the significance of the album and the production. We listen to a lot of Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and My Morning Jacket. These are bands that are making records like they used to in the ’70s, really putting a lot of effort into the production and making the album their statement. And these artists all have incredible live shows as well.”
Grant Farm are students of all ideas that are necessary in the presentation of a musical package. Grant himself has honed his playing chops in bluegrass bands, and remains a student of American acoustic music as well as the country music that was so influential on West Coast rock bands of the 1970s. The band can certainly knock out some Grateful Dead if need be, and in Grant, they’ve got a Byrds-era Clarence White-influenced guitar player capable of bringing a rock ’n’ roll mindset to Bakersfield country. They’re also very much a Colorado festival band, a bluegrass-influenced rock band willing to explore. The whole package onstage and on ‘Kiss the Ground’ is an attempt to excel at both. Make a great record and sell it in the live setting.
“The scene that we’re in, the jam-band, jam grass cosmic Americana kind of scene – it’s a lot about the live show. People talk about the Grateful Dead, they say, ‘They were all about the live show and their albums weren’t that great.’ Whatever. I love the Grateful Dead albums,” said Grant. “But it’s true, the focus became on the live experience, and now these artists are spearheading this renaissance of the album, and the album production. Put it out on vinyl, and make a grand statement with that.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]