Grant Dermody | Sun Might Shine On Me

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Folk: Alternative Folk Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Sun Might Shine On Me

by Grant Dermody

Deep, Powerful, Mostly- Acoustic, Blues-based, American Roots Music.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Boll Weevil
2:41 album only
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2. When You Left
4:52 album only
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3. Tree of Life
2:56 album only
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4. Just a Little While
3:05 album only
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5. Sail Away Ladies
2:02 album only
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6. So Sorry to Leave You
3:33 album only
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7. Easy Down
4:56 album only
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8. Baby Please Don't Go
4:32 album only
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9. Sun Might Shine
3:22 album only
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10. Illinois Blues
5:07 album only
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11. J'ai passe
1:45 album only
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12. Reuben's Train
2:49 album only
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13. Ain't Going Back
3:55 album only
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14. Long Gone
3:26 album only
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15. Crossing Over
2:25 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Grant Dermody's third solo recording, on harmonica and voice. He is joined by masters of American Roots Music: Dirk Powell, Orville Johnson, Cedric Watson, Rich Del Grosso, and Jockey Etienne. A blues-based record, flavored with some Old-Time, Cajun and Creole. Mighty and a mess-o-fun.

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Reviews


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Richard Hunter

Sets the standard for harmonica-focused acoustic roots music
I’ve been listening to Grant Dermody’s latest release, Sun Might Shine On Me, for the last couple of days. It’s a brilliantly produced work that presents the listener with gorgeously rendered performances of traditional American music and original pieces in traditional styles. For harmonica players, the record offers what amounts to a catalog of essential acoustic harmonica techniques, applied with plenty of guts and smarts to great emotional effect. In short–and there will be more details in this review, but let’s say it now–this record sets the new standard for harp-focused traditional acoustic music.
Dermody is supported on this record by a band that includes Dirk Powell (who produced as well), Orville Johnson, Cedric Watson, Rich Del Grosso, and Jockey Etienne. The band’s work is spare and economical, wringing maximum emotion from simple material played right. Grandstanding is absent, though almost every player has a moment or two in the spotlight. The band sounds like one player speaking in a multitude of voices, with absolute unity of purpose throughout. The instruments are recorded with terrific clarity, the sound close, intimate, and complete individually and collectively, as if the listener was with the band in the room where the music was recorded. In short, the production is landmark. The high quality of the production extends to the album packaging as well; not that the cover makes the record, but a cover that looks like somebody cared about it is a good leading indicator for music that sounds like somebody cared about it.
On every tune, Dermody’s harp work shines. In keeping with the style, his lines are simple and direct; but almost every line sports a flourish that makes it deeply personal. His ability to manipulate tone with hands, throat, and lips is remarkable, all the more so for representing an approach to solo and ensemble sound that’s rarely heard in these days of rampant amplification (for which I take partial credit, of course). I haven’t heard hands used to such effect on a new release for years. Harmonica players who want what amounts to a master’s degree in acoustic sounds and effects for their trick bags are well advised to study this record from top to bottom.
Dermody’s work here has the twin virtues of seeming improvised while exhibiting terrific precision in the articulation of his notes and the overall shape of the lines. On the second tune on this record, a blues, Dermody starts off with a powerful blast of harmonica, and I feared that he’d hit his peak in the first few seconds, but not to worry–when the solo came, he hit his notes hard enough to make the rivets in the harp rattle, and took the song (and me) to an even higher level.
This record is like that all the way through–every time you think you’ve heard everything he’s got, he comes at you with something new and powerful. There are echoes of harp greats whose messages Dermody has clearly absorbed–Sonny Boy Williamson II comes to mind–but Dermody’s work here is so encyclopedic in its traditionalist vocabulary that echoes of other greats are not only inevitable, but essential.
Dermody’s singing is fit for purpose, meaning that he gets his messages across with economy and sincerity. In these days of televised singing competitions with audiences in the tens of millions, audiences have been trained to seek technical perfection in singing, which for this music is beside the point. Dermody’s vocals on this record hark back to a time when the size of an audience was limited by the physical space that a band could occupy and still be heard by the crowd, when singer and audience were inevitably bound to the same place and time and emotional certitude mattered more than technique. His range as a singer isn’t wide–certainly not as wide as his harmonica technique–but he knows what he’s trying to convey with every line, and I found myself convinced from the first song on.
The 15 tracks on the record cover a range of roots music, with plenty of representation for the blues as well as other traditional acoustic styles. Thematically, this record has a lot of songs about loss in it, “loss” referring generally to people who’ve left, purposely or otherwise. Sadness at those losses lurks at the edges of many songs, and is sometimes right in the center. Beauty plainly presented is always front and center in these pieces, and in that sense it’s a fitting memorial to those who’ve gone, one that acknowledges heartache without failing to acknowledge the joy that preceded it (and may someday follow, as per the record’s title).
I repeat: this record sets the bar for acoustic harmonica records in general, and anyone with an interest in American roots music needs it in their collection. At the latest, go buy it when you finish reading this review. I ain’t bought and I ain’t foolin’.
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Sun Might Shine On Me

Grant delivers a beauty
When an artist arrives at a point in their career where everything feels correct, that to me is maturity. Some artists arrive earlier than others. Some later. Still others, only after they have seen the best and worse life has to offer.

After listening to Grant Dermody's latest offering, "Sun Might Shine On Me," I believe he has experienced all three scenarios. I met Grant at SPAH 7 or 8 years ago. My initial impression was that here was a player who was comfortable in his own skin and knew what he was trying to say musically. Shortly after that, Grant had a personal tragedy which certainly impacted his artistic direction. Finally, we come to this new CD which is, in my opinion, his finest work.

This project smacks you in the face right from jump. It's obvious that Grants playing and singing were done live. The engineering captures this perfectly. There is an immediacy to the performances that really shine. All the players seem to understand exactly how to frame the songs.

A noticeable departure from previous projects, is that Grant penned more than half of the songs. Eight to be precise. It turns out that several of these are my favorite cuts. "Tree of Life," "Easy Down," "Ain't Goin Back," and "Sun Might Shine," all are excellent! Other notables include "Illinois Blues," which has a great mandolin solo and "Baby Please Don't Go."

Grant and the boys cover a surprising range of genres on this project. Traditional, Country Blues, Cajun, and Old Timey. Normally this makes for a disjointed presentation. Happily, they pull this off while never jerking the listener out of the moment or concept.

All the musicians Grant assembled for this are just right. Never any rushed feel, no awkward moments. A last minute addition to the roster was Jockey Etienne. Good call...he add drums on several cuts in what I can only describe as "A Slinky Pocket."

Finally I would be remiss if I did not talk about Grant's harmonica playing. His tone is thick, rich, and very expressive. The solos are kind of like having a conversation with him...even and tempered. His acoustic work has the right attitude. His amplified approach, is a gut grabber. Here is a harmonica player not afraid to play the instrument like a harmonica....novel concept huh? As I said at the start....it's music from a very mature player, and I could not be happier.
PT Gazell
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