LP Edition of 500. Co-Release with Carbon Records. (hand-printed Riso sleeves and black vinyl). Please note- most of the jackets have small dented corner.)
It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to guitarist Liam Grant and his debut album,
“Amoskeag.” (Technically not his debut but his first album of all-original tunes.) It’s one of those records that critics, fans and musicians alike will look back at and say, “This is where it all started.”
Liam contacted me out of the blue late in June 2021, asking about some Jack Rose recordings I’d worked on that had never been officially released. I was very tempted to ignore him as I’d put that period of my life as well as any direct involvement with music behind me just short of a decade prior, but the obvious enthusiasm in his message won me over immediately so I responded, which led to a lot of back & forth as we shared a ton of similar music & aesthetic interests.
Eventually, Liam offered to send some phone recordings of a few pieces he was working on. I honestly expected to end up saying a few nice things and encouraging him to keep practicing. I was, thankfully, very, very wrong.
Long story short: I used to have a little record label and knew the ins-n-outs of recording and releasing music; Liam picked up a digital recorder and a bunch of mics and quickly mastered the process; I encouraged him to tour as much as possible if he was serious about music; he rose to and far exceeded that challenge as he took to booking shows and touring like the seasoned road dog he’s become today; he’s since played with folks like Mike Gangloff, Glenn Jones, Trevor Mackenzie, Buck Curran, Dave Shuford, Joseph Allred… the list of heavy-hitters is already long and continues to grow.
Every song on this album taps into raw, rich veins of sound that are simultaneously dense but easy to enjoy; vintage and modern; new yet timeless. The album kicks off with a monster track entitled “Stratton-Eustis” – one of those complex yet flowing tunes that makes you think overdubs were involved or the player has grown an extra set of limbs. Then there’s “Kenduskeag,” a raga-esque group recording in an abandoned New England Conservatory building with Ethan WL and the long standing anonymous drone collective The Suncook Symphony that showcases his already masterful skills for composition and band leadership. The title track, “Amoskeag,” is a powerful, overflowing whiskey glass full of deep, raw soul, drawn from ages past and times present. The closer, “Androscoggin River Ragg,” is exactly that, an old-timey blues rag sucked straight from the ether of hundred years past, with Grayson McGuire on banjo and Mike Gangloff on jaw harp.
This old, worn-out dog can’t begin to express what an honor and privilege it’s been to work with Liam and the other various musical misfits and mysticks that he’s drawn into his circle. This album captures all that magick and then some. It’s not just a good album… nor just a great one… it’s a fuckin’ important, much-needed beacon in the dark seas of overproduction, ephemera and watered down, easy-to-sell dullness of today. Liam will be touring for it starting autumn 2023 so if
you see he’s playing nearby, I recommend you check him out live.
Listen. You won’t be disappointed. — Rob Vaughn – Portland, Oregon – July 2023
Although only 23 years old, Liam’s become a leading force in a much needed third wave revival of American Primitive music. The path was paved from the blues by Fahey, Basho, Kottke and so on, followed with a second coming heralded by folks like Jones, Rose, Basho-Junghans and others. Despite his age, Liam’s the very definition of “an old soul” and while he draws on a wide variety of contemporary influences, he also channels a comprehensive history of the blues as well as a deeper energy that informs both his playing and songwriting.
• Features Mike Gangloff of Pelt, Grayson McGuire, and Ethan WL.
• Previous releases on Sound-O-Mat and Annex Blues Society.
• Engineered, mixed & mastered by Rob V.