Home Interview Six Questions With the Good Graces
Six Questions With the Good Graces
Six Questions With the Good Graces
Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Atlanta-based indie folk-Americana band the Good Graces. We’ve not had the pleasure of covering the Good Graces in the past, so we are excited for this feature! If you’re not familiar with the Good Graces, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
I’ve always thought of my music as folk music. Depending on who is playing with me, other aspects come out — pop, Americana / country, or more indie stuff. But when I was around 12 years old, I took guitar lessons for about a year. I learned strummy folk songs like “Take Me Home Country Roads” and “On Top of Old Smokey.” I put guitar away and took up drums, and I was a drummer in various bands throughout my 20s. When I picked the guitar back up 10 years ago, I think my natural tendency was again towards those strummy folk songs, since that was all I really knew how to play.
I grew up in North Carolina; first around the foothills and then moved to the coast for college. I stayed there until 2004 and then moved to Atlanta. Atlanta has been a big influence on my music, specifically playing drums with my friends Jeff Evans and later Mary O. Harrison. They are both really great songwriters and I think playing their songs made me want to write my own. So in 2006 I picked up an acoustic guitar at a flea market here in ATL; I had gone through a divorce a few years prior and I guess had not really been honest or even talked about it much at all, so the songs just came out, and I just didn’t stop!
As an artist, how do you define success?
I think success is being honest in your art, saying all you want to say, and improving on whatever you previously created. If you can do those things and say that what you’re making is an honest reflection of you, I think that’s pretty awesome.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
Here lately it’s been balancing it with my full time job. My job pays the bills and affords me so many musical opportunities. I’m very grateful for it, but I’m sort of an overachiever — giving 100% at work and also doing as much as I can with the music thing means I’m exhausted a good bit of the time. Booking shows can also be an enormous pain not to mention an ego crusher. I just booked my own tour for the fall, and while I’m proud of having done it myself and have some really fun shows coming up, I’m not sure I want to do that again for a while.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
That’s hard! And my answer would probably change from week to week. But right now I’ll say “7-Year Sentence (Going to Hell)” simply because it’s one of those songs that I think translates just fine even solo. It’s really emotional and sad, but the way the vocals get really loud can be pretty cathartic to sing. People seem to really connect with that one when I play it live, and that’s important to me — if I’m going to play something forever it should at least connect with people!
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Early on, I really loved the Mountain Goats and I think I paid special attention to John Darnielle’s guitar playing. It was very loud and percussive. I picked up on that, and being a drummer I approached acoustic guitar much like a percussion instrument. I also love his lyrics and ability to tell a story. Liz Phair was also an early influence, in how she’ll sing about most anything, and her delivery is often very conversational. And Conor Oberst’s lyrics — how sad and emotional they often are — was an early influence too. Listening to Indigo Girls years ago taught me how to harmonize, and I think I really connected with their lyrics, too. More recently I’ve really gotten into Lucinda Williams and she helped me realize songs don’t necessarily need bridges. And my favorite record of last year was Lydia Loveless’s “Real,” so I imagine that may have influenced the new album in some way.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
This might sound a little new-agey and weird, but I do some light yoga and meditation every morning. I think the deep breathing has really helped my singing, but it also helps me be a little more open to the universe and my surroundings. I think it helps me think more clearly, which surely helps me with lyrics.
Not new-agey at all, this is how everyone should start their day!
Thanks for going deep with us, Kim!