MP3 Guy-Michael Grande - Familiar Strangers
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10 MP3 Songs
POP: Beatles-pop, POP: Folky Pop
"An engaging performer whose songs stay with you long after you hear them."
-- Neal Robinson, Manager, Iron Horse Music Hall
"He sings like Jackson Browne with a sweeter edge...Grande has recorded a promising debut effort that should appeal to many new fans."
-- Jennifer Layton, https://www.tradebit.com
"Grande's new CD Familiar Strangers sports earnest lyrics much in the tradition of David Wilcox..."
-- Tricia Asklar, The Valley Advocate
"On his debut album Familiar Strangers, Grande proves himself a solid singer-songwriter."
-- Roger Catlin, The Hartford Courant
Northeastern audiences are no strangers to native singer-songwriter Guy-Michael Grande. The region's acoustic music fans are already familiar with the distinct songs from his debut album, Familiar Strangers.
A singer-songwriter whose contemporary acoustic folk/pop evokes comparisons to artists ranging from Jackson Browne to Del Amitri, Neil Finn and David Wilcox, Grande's original songs reveal a keen ear for his craft, wry takes on the everyday and deep sensitivity toward matters of the heart and human condition.
Grande's six-string musical sensitivities were awakened during childhood days spent in a hometown not far from New York City.
"Guitar has been a major part of my identity since I was seven years old," he recalls. Despite this history, it took a six-year hiatus in the early 90s to make the young musician realize the vital role his instrument played. "When I picked it up again, the songs just started coming, and I haven't looked back since."
Familiar Strangers is in many ways a glimpse of Grande's own life.
"If you listen closely, there's a common theme running through these songs," he reveals. "It's a record about changes -- people coming together and coming apart." The record features 10 radio-ready tracks, ranging from the opening salvos of 'Here & Now' to the closing whisper of 'Ever After.'
Produced by Jim Chapdelaine at Be-BANG! Studios (West Hartford, CT) -- who has worked with artists ranging from Paula Cole to Feathermerchants -- FS also features his impressive fretwork on an array of stringed instruments, most audibly "all the big dog guitars."
"Working with Jim is extremely gratifying because he's an amazingly gifted musician with an uncanny knack for serving every song," Grande enthuses.
While the chemistry between artist and producer fuels FS with sparkle and substance, Grande is a songwriter who's passionate about the creative process, balancing his need for expression with his desire to have people relate to what he's saying musically.
"I grew up during the mid-70s to mid-80s, so I'm a pop baby," he confesses. That pop ethic he cites is reflected in his work: tightly crafted three-minute songs that instantly hook even the most jaded listeners and resonate long after the music ends.
While Grande's songwriting has already earned him the admiration of music fans and respect of musical peers, he admits it's humbling.
"It's just what I do," he says. "I write, play and sing because that's what I love doing."
That his emotive voice and deceptively simple guitar playing evoke comparisons to a handful of prominent singer-songwriters before him is fine by this self-admitted contemporary acoustic pop singer.
Eagerly embraced by fans and peers throughout his native Northeast, Grande's performances are fueled by a dynamic mix of originals, covers and special guests. Unlike solo artists whose live shows fall short of their studio production, Grande thrives in concert, creating an energy between artist and audience that is fully requited and refreshingly real.
His live appearances to date include stints at the legendary Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton (as headliner, opener for Steve Forbert, Winter Songwriter Slam feature artist & open stage regular since 1999); industry showcases such as the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference; outdoor events including the Wilbraham Peach Festival; college radio stations including 91.3 WWUH-FM; intimate venues such as NYC's Telephone Bar & Grill; in-store appearances at retailers including Borders Books and Media Play; open stages including Boston's legendary Club Passim, All Souls (MA), Kilkenny (NH) & Roaring Brook Nature Center (CT); university events and venues such as Lincoln Theatre (University of Hartford); privately sponsored house concerts; and cozy coffeehouses including the Center Squeeze Café.
Cited among "the region's hottest singer-songwriters" by The Valley Advocate, Grande has performed with musical pals including indie artists Kate Callahan, Lisa Cote, Stephen Kellogg, Lisa Martin, Eric Paradine and Josh Ritter.
Averaging five to eight monthly appearances before his debut record's 2/27/01 release, current plans call for live performances at select venues over the next 18 months to support Familiar Strangers, which is receiving airplay at radio stations including WMUA-FM (MA), WJFF-FM (NY), WWUH-FM (CT) and overseas in Australia and Germany.
"All I've ever wanted to do is make music," Grande admits. "I didn't set out to be a singer, but that's what I've become. Through the guitar, I feel like I've finally found my voice."
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