Grant Wallace Band America (or, One for the Mullygrubbs)
“Nature is a haunted house,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “but Art—a House that tries to be haunted.”
In July 2019 Grant Wallace Band gathered at Earhead Recordings, Ben Hjertmann’s new Asheville studio and abode. After years of methodical projects focused around songcraft, composition, and an exhaustive group workshopping process, this was GWB’s chance to play fast and loose. They improvised in the studio for three days, then assembled the results into a full-length album. They were joined by cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt, veteran of adventurous North Carolina avant-folk projects Mountain Bitters and The Library of Babel.
The haunting occurred on the evening of July 4, when the group set up microphones around the house and simultaneously, each in their own room with a battery of instruments and noise-makers, listened through the full album, adding a layer of sound throughout. The fireworks let themselves in through the open windows. The result is an arresting, digressive album, full of stylistic trap-doors and secret passageways, gravel-and-bourbon vocals, iridescent sun-spot reveilles, transcendental warblings and comic asides. It’s an unexpected culmination of GWB’s years of collaboration, a slowly developed group concept cast into playful spontaneity.