If there is one constant in the work of singer-songwriter Sawyer Gebauer, it is change. Moving to Sweden from Wisconsin at only 19, he formed and fronted the mercurial Brittsommar, a musical entity that took off in Europe with a rotating cast of musicians.
An avid traveler, Sawyer crossed the ocean between Europe and the U.S. 18 times within a handful of years. Eventually, he resettled on home soil and recorded the Mary Me EP (2015) at TRI Studios in San Rafael, California which would ultimately be Brittsommar's third and final album.
Meanwhile, an alternate course was unfolding, a path that necessitated letting go of an identity once embraced. Sawyer's new project, Catch Prichard, grew from deep roots in Americana. Citing Townes Van Zandt and Springsteen’s 1995 LP The Ghost of Tom Joad as major influences, Sawyer set out to record a collection of sweet and simple songs that exalt narrative as much as they do melody. The result is Eskota, a five-song EP resting somewhere between languid folk and forlorn country; Sawyer’s weighty baritone gliding over pedal steel and Moog like an oil slick on water.
Named after the Texas ghost town in which the album was recorded, the entirety of Eskota was laid down in one week within the walls of an abandoned, "grocery store, bank, or barber shop". When Sawyer and engineer Brad K. Dollar first arrived, the building was overrun with wasps, and rattlesnake skins littered the floorboards. In time, the space was reclaimed, the night came, and recording began. Eskota, like all of Sawyer's work, is a testament to change-but it is change that can be found closer to home.
Graham Norwood writes, plays and sings songs of uncommon beauty. His 3-1/2 octave vocal range, dynamic guitar playing, and eclectic songwriting chops allow him to work in a wide range of styles while always preserving his own unique artistic voice. That he has been legally blind from birth only makes these talents more remarkable.
After spending years as a New York sideman and producer with the likes of Bryan Scary, Cliff Westfall, Ward White, The Dough Rollers and others, Graham decided to focus on writing and recording his own original music. His first move as a solo artist was to record three sets of songs written and arranged for three different bands, exploring a wide variety of different sounds. One of these sessions, recorded by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Antony & the Johnsons, Evan Dando, Phish) and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Son Volt, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr), will be released in 2019 as Graham's debut album, Out of the Sea. In the lead up to that release, Graham will self-release a four-song EP (also recorded and mixed by Goggin and Agnello) digitally and on vinyl in January of next year.
Live, Graham is an electrifying performer who is equally at home solo or with a band. Shows by The Graham Norwood Group run the gamut from mellow country-rock to full-on fuzz guitar freakouts and feature a stellar band, including drummer David Christian (Danger Mouse, King Tuff, Mary Timony's Helium, Benjamin Booker), guitarist Simon Kafka (Ellie King, Carly Rae Jepsen), bassist James Preston (Tom Jones, Raheem DeVaughn, Sons of Champlin) and keyboardist/guitarist Bryan Smith. Solo, Graham puts the emphasis on his vocals and dexterous acoustic guitar playing, mixing in off-the-cuff covers of obscure British folk artists and classic honky tonk singers with his own eclectic material. Whether he's playing with a full band or captivating a room with just his voice and acoustic guitar, Graham’s performances are not to be missed.