Grant Black (Josh Brooks & Kent Blackmer) Visit Rocket Shop

josh-brooks Interview by Jack Haskell. Photo by Jim Lockridge.

Josh Brooks and Kent Blackmer, the alt-blues duo Grant Black,  joined Kelsey on Rocket Shop tonight to play live and chat about releasing their debut EP 'Babylon' this month.

The Rocket Shop playlist for June 1, 2011:

Grant Black, Emiline (Live) Grant Black, House of Cards (Live) Grant Black, Hey Mama Grant Black, True Love (I Don't Think You Know What True Love Is All About) (Live) Grant Black, Antidote (Live)

The release party will be held at The Antidote bar in Vergennes on June 18th at 8pm. The new album was recorded at Big Orange Studio in Addison Vermont between Christmas and a couple weeks ago. The album includes Josh on guitar, bass, and Vox with Kent on drums. The EP has six songs with lots of starts, stops, tempo changes, and time signature changes. Kent says it can be pretty technical but all the songs are still easily accessible. Opening up for Grant Black will be The Benoits, Josh's other band that he describes as "non-traditional traditional folk band."

Josh and Kent say Grant Black is inclined towards loud music live, but we never would have known it from their set on the Radiator. Josh was playing his acoustic and Kent broke down from a full kit to just a conga and two shakers. The result was some super soulful blues songs with great driving percussion in the background. Kent said he hadn't played percussion consistently for a couple of years so in essence the set for the Radiator was pretty much "wung". Josh's voice was really all they needed to make their tunes sound good anyway. Right before they started their first song, Josh said he was used to playing electric guitar so he was just going to rip a shredding guitar solo in his mind. I'm sure the mind-shredding was great but I enjoyed the acoustic version just fine.

Josh says that he normally writes his tunes on a beat up old children's size guitar in his living room claiming, "if it sounds good on that it probably sounds good." He records his ideas and Kent listens to them on the way to work and back. Kent then gets an idea of the structure and taps out some of the rhythms before they get together to forge a new song. Josh says he generally writes his songs in the typical blues "my baby left me and I'm down" type mindset. However, he joked that his life has been pretty good so he "relies on the suffering of the people around him for inspiration".

It didn't come to light that Kent was Josh's stepfather until about twenty minutes in the show. Apparently they don't get into band fights because it would make family gatherings pretty awkward. When asked if they want to become a family of rockstars on the road they said that touring the west coast of vermont was far enough. Kelsey: I bet girls are throwing their panties up on stage at your shows Kent: No, no panties on stage Josh: Just our own Grant Black will be playing the Antidote on 6/18, Manhattan Pizza on Thursday 6/23 and the Radio Bean on Friday 7/1. They are definitely worth checking out and possibly having a pint with after. The shows are either a $5 cover or free.