Hill Country Live Presents
The Twang Gang
30 W. 26th St.
New York, NY, 10010
The Twang Gang
Jack Grace is a singer, songwriter and guitarist hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Simple enough, unless you happen to happen to work in the music business. The entertainment world loves a label: character actor, avant garde painter, fill-in-the-blank musician. Jack writes for himself and plays for others. Simple.
He’s been most recently known as a country musician, but that designation belies the myriad of influences that shape his sound. It began with an obsession with the Beatles, and as a teenager, he wore out his Zeppelin records like so many of us. Later, when he discovered Neil Young, he wore those discs out too. His first band, Steak, had a Zappa-inspired sound, he was told, when he was barely aware of the iconic figure who couldn’t be bothered to stick to a single formula. Fitting. Later, after discovering he had a baritone eerily reminiscent of the great Johnny Cash, he added some steel to the mix and suddenly everyone was calling him country.
Steak was formed in 1993 in Boulder, CO and built an avid following in the West until the group officially disbanded in ’99. Frustrated by the restraints of even an experimental outfit, Jack decided to go solo, working with a revolving group of musicians even to this day. Functioning more like a jazz bandleader, he has a main cast of characters but keeps two to three drummers, a handful of bassists and some horn players on call for recordings and gigs.
Five previous releases and tracks featured in the films “Super Troopers” and “Beer Fest” have garnered both a growing following and a steady hum of praise. His debut, Introducing the Songs of Jack Grace, was an acoustic affair, which many mistook as country. “Fine, call it country if you want,” he said at the time. “What you label it doesn’t mean all that much to me.” What mattered? There were new rules to be broken. His most recent release, Drinking Songs for Lovers, had some fine country numbers, but he added mariachi horns to give them a Latin flavor, inspired by his yearly pilgrimage to Tulum, Mexico, where he likes to write songs on the beach. His previous outing was a country concept album called The Martini Cowboy, featuring in a bossa nova number with lap steel front and center.