“I had seen Grace play years ago and, not only was I impressed, I developed a serious secret crush,” Tony reminisced. “When I found out that she was learning mandolin and banjo, I took a shot and asked her to jam with me. The rest, is history.”
Exposed to music early on in their lives by family (Grace’s liked the Southern styles from gospel all the way to rock, while Tony learned from his brother, John Paul White of The Civil Wars fame), Grace & Tony experimented with an unlikely blend of genres by mixing punk, folk, bluegrass and Texas swing, to create something new. What resulted was a blend of music for those searching for what’s beyond the norm: “Punkgrass” was born.
“Punkgrass is simply a natural fusion of my punk rock back round, and Grace’s southern gospel and bluegrass upbringing,” stated Tony. “It isn’t forced, it’s very organic and it stands out because it’s a real fusion of what’s new and old. We play whatever pops into our heads; from classic rock to southern gospel, we scratch every itch. It’s dark, yet happy; silly, yet serious. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun to play.”
Crafting and singing lyrical tales of murder, addiction, and lost love that are wrapped in a happy twist, Grace & Tony honed their newfound brand of music on the sidewalks of downtown Nashville with no idea where their music might lead them. Showcasing an ability to create emotionally connective music, they built a solid fan-base of dedicated listeners the old-fashioned way… one by one.
“We made ourselves available,” said Grace. “We appreciated every single one of our fans, and set out to answer every single question they had. We are making music that isn’t for everyone so we had to pick them off one at a time to build our audience. It worked and they began asking for more music!”
Working with Lloyd Aur Norman and Stephen D Jones of Villain Place in Nashville, Grace & Tony released the acoustic EP, INSIDE A 7-TRACK MIND, in 2011. Since then, doors have opened and they have succeeded in their goal to be heard by bigger audiences by headlining the historic Crockett Theater (Lawrenceburg, Tenn.) and performing on the legendary “Daytrotter Sessions,” Balcony TV, and Knoxville’s “Blue Plate Special” programs. In addition, two of their videos (“Let You Down,” “November”) are being played in regular rotation on The Country Network.
In anticipation of a full-length release, the young couple launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and will release NOVEMBER on 11/12/13. Accompanied by a full band to fill out their unique sound, this album answers the most common question the couple is asked, “What do you call this music?” You see, for Grace & Tony, NOVEMBER defines the sound “Grassphemy,” a progression of the style “Punkgrass.”
“This album is the next chapter for us, it’s a new set of stories we need to tell,” said Tony. “This music is more mature and shows our natural progression as songwriters. We battle tested the songs and chose the ones that would represent our growth as a duo.”
A lover of English literature and old-style murder mysteries, Grace’s influence on the album is stamped like an antique wax seal; it’s no accident that the album listens like epic musical storybook filled with engaging super-hero like characters struggling with love, loneliness, and the identity of self. NOVEMBER is 11 haunting and elegant chapters featuring heroic protagonists in a variety of settings taking on evil mastermind kidnappers, electromagnetic bombs, schizophrenia, and, perhaps the trickiest of all, their own minds. Those looking for that breathtaking happy ending won’t be disappointed either — as the stories come to a close, and an imaginary THE END is heard, Grace & Tony live happily ever after.
More opportunities for Grace & Tony wait on the horizon as they begin promoting NOVEMBER and prepare for its radio release later this spring. Their dance card is filling up quickly as shows are added to their schedule on a regular basis too.
To further the excitement, they are to wed on July 27! Matrimony will no doubt provide more stories and be an influence as they solidify their union and create more music together.
So, as they continue to gain fans and industry acclaim, we can’t help but ask: What’s next for this amazing, super duo?
Well, we certainly can’t wait for the sequel.
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