The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 6, 2013

Golden Grams: Former Mankatoan returns for area music tour, Rock Bend Folk Festival

Former Mankatoan returns for area music tour, Rock Bend Folk Festival


On Aug. 31, Grams was back in Iowa for another occasion: He was inducted into Iowa's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. He's already in the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame. The awards are flattering, Grams said, and they add prestige to concert posters. But he "doesn't have the slightest idea" where his Arizona award is; and Krieger unknowingly left his plaque on the roof of his car the night of the ceremony.

"Yeah, I got a couple of nice honors,” Grams said, “but if I wanted to play for accolades, I'd be a guitar player. When I play, I get a kick out of doing a gig with somebody. I'm playing to the players."

Grams has recorded five albums with Krieger; their latest, aptly titled "5," features Grams and Krieger originals, underscored by Grams' relaxed vocals, Krieger's fluid bottleneck fills and their reading of Bob Dylan's "Watching the River Flow."

"Danny and I had an instant connection," Grams said. "As a slide player, he's one of the best. Only thing is, I don't get to play with him as much as I'd like to."

Grams is also a member of the Bad News Blues Band and performs with an Arizona theater production company while juggling side projects as an in-demand studio sessionman.His musical philosophy parallels Elmore Leonard's writing mantra: "Keep it simple." Have fun, serve the song and get out of the way; leave the showboating and pandering to the self-indulgent.

"I never liked that 30-minute Cream jam B.S.," Grams said. "I never liked Jimi Hendrix or any of that crap. I liked the song — the 2-, 3-, 4-minute song. I thought anyone who had to stand there and solo for 15 minutes had a real ego. But that was just me."

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