Photo courtesy Rockin’s Crib
Every song tells a story…
In this last week, I was privileged to receive a copy of Grace Knight’s new solo album Fragile, a beautiful album written by her fellow Eurogliders’ band member, Bernie Lynch. It was such a pleasure listening to this album and equally as pleasurable to talk with Grace a few days later about all things Fragile and Eurogliders.
Grace explained how the album came together. “I was going through Bernie’s treasure chest of songs. Bernie writes songs all day, every day and some of these songs might get used in theatre productions or whatever and some of them are simply not suitable for Eurogliders. I found this collection that I thought were just beautiful stories. Some were heart breaking, some were just dirty. I said ‘I want to record these. Let me go through your treasure chest.’ Bernie said ‘Here you go. Here’s the demos, do what you want with them.’ So I said ‘Really, the way I want to?’ which is quite different to how we work with Eurogliders. So it was a case of ‘Here you go; here’s the songs. And I’ll have a listen when you are ready to let me hear it.’ ”
Fragile is a folk album with an Irish Celtic feel. “It’s where I started off. I didn’t have a career then. I started off singing in folk clubs in England. I was actually learning to play the guitar. I just thought that’s what you did, sing while you play. The guy who was teaching me, my boyfriend at the time, said ‘come and sing those harmonies that you do.’ That was the beginning of my career.”
This is Grace’s 17th album, a move away from the jazz and pop recordings of the past and, as she said, back to her beginnings, folk. The genre of music is not something that Grace is fazed by or believes should matter. “I remember when I moved from Eurogliders to jazz, people were saying ‘It’s such a departure’, ‘Wow that’s incredible.’ My reason for singing has always been to tell stories. I use my voice to tell stories; that’s always been the important thing to me, to tell a beautiful story or a sad story or an encouraging story. So if in the jazz genre, a Eurogliders pop genre or folk, it’s never made much of a difference to me. I just follow the musicians and I try to become part of the whole.”
Grace will be showcasing the album at Melbourne’s newest Jazz club, The Bird’s Basement, on Saturday April 2nd. She will be backed by the 11 piece Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra, something that she is very excited about. “Those guys are phenomenal, they are phenomenal on their own but when they’re together, it’s incredible. It’s really something to behold.” There will be two shows on the one night. “That is unusual but becoming popular,” Grace said. Her shows are at 7.45pm and around 10pm. The issue of when to eat when doing two shows with only an hour break came up. “I have a rule of thumb. When I’m recording, I eat. That makes me feel kind of heavy, making my feet planted on the ground but when I’m performing live, it’s exciting for me. I cannot eat because then it feels like it’s getting in the way of that energy and blocking it. So I’ll have to have a good late lunch.”
It’s 80’s pop band Eurogliders that shot Grace to fame and the popular band are not resting on their laurels. They have many gigs booked for the year including some acoustic shows, which I asked Grace about. “I love the acoustic shows. It’s that kind of folky vibe.” They play all their hits including Heaven, Can’t Wait to See You and We Will Together. Talking about the songs, Grace again was full of praise for Bernie. “It’s a testament to Bernie’s great song writing when you can strip all of that 80’s frivolity, the electronic sounds that were so popular, and just bring it back to the basic of that song. They’re just beautiful. When you hear Heaven with just a banjo or just a guitar, it’s like Oh my God, that is so beautiful. Really lovely.” These acoustic versions are available on their Don’t Eat The Daisies album.
Another highlight of this Eurogliders tour is Cruise’n’Groove between 9th and 16th of October. Grace assures me that it will be a lot of fun “It’s always a lot of fun to hang out with musicians, people that you’ve shared your career with.” But these days Grace prefers to relax with a nice of cup of tea rather than party till the small hours of the night.
As our chat came to a close, I reminded Grace of how much I am enjoying the Fragile album and that she should be very proud of it. “I actually am. I am very proud of it and I say that with reservation because I think this is my 15th album and after you finish recording an album you go oh gosh, maybe I could have done that better or did I get away with that, but I don’t know if it’s my age now [but] I just go that’s the best I could do on that day and I love it. The stories are fantastic, the musicians are brilliant. I’ve done what I wanted to do on the album and I really enjoyed the whole process.”
The final question from me was the million dollar question; what was Bernie’s reaction to the album? The answer “There were things that he said I’m not sure I would’ve done that. Which is ever so polite; a lovely way of saying I don’t like that but that’s ok.” As Grace said a song writer gives their songs to singers to record and the singer interprets and records the song the way they hear it. Just as the listener will interpret the song the way they hear it, often based on their own experiences. I encourage you all to listen to Fragile.
Fragile and Don’t Eat the Daises can be purchased at www.graceknight.com.au
by Suzanne Bunker
Copyright © Suzanne Bunker 2016. All rights reserved
Grace does two shows at Bird’s Basement in Melbourne on Saturday 2nd April.
For more information and to book tickets, go to:
Fragile album review