"God..." he exhales...
"what IS...the 'story'?"
I give Graham Parsons a second…
"... 'been flyin under the radar a little bit..."
Parsons fronts the eclectic and adroit Go Rounds, a quartet girded by years of experience -both through countless blurred nights upon stages (particularly throughout mid/west Michigan) and through honing the richer semblances of country rock (with guitarists Andy Caitlin and Gitis Baggs reaching those bewitching twangs, punches, warbles and croons through Toro & the National Guard) and with rhythm section Tod Kloosterman and Adam Danis' propulsive and dazzlingly clattered conjuring's via the smorgasbord prog/fusion oscillations of Max Dandy Slax.
Parsons, himself, had humble beginnings of scavenging for substantial musical nutrients as a teenager up nearby
Parsons said, giving much credit to his "hippie generation" parents for exposing him to the Beatles and Motown. "I was effected positively by bands like Foreigner," he said of times when he'd compare his parents' record collection to that of UP radio playlists, "...in the way that, I knew not to go there.'
Still, we all go through growing pains... just as Parsons shrugs off his pre-driver's-license days of playing in a classic rock covers band.
Parsons wound up maturing into a penchant for country, and
“Now, it’s almost strictly
Indeed; Caitlin, who also works as booking manager/sound engineer for the Kzoo's influential culture hub, The Strutt, said in a recent interview: The Go-Rounds' existence is "totally tied" to the Kzoo area, particularly the energy orbiting around the percolating and industrious venue/recording studio/cafe...and, now, coffee company.
More on the Strutt - here.
The Go Rounds recorded their latest album at Strutt Studios, "in the basement of this big old blue house..." On April 13th, they play an album release show at Woodruff's in Ypsilanti, with Abigail Stauffer - then a more western-leaning show, April 15th at the Strutt with Benjamin Riley Band and Old Lights.
This is the 2nd proper LP for the group...They released a batch of live recordings (from a Strutt performance) in the summer of '10, born mostly from the alt/folk ballads of Parsons' 09 recording Farmhand.
"I've never really had a band, until this one, that I felt...got it... and that really wanted to put the effort into doing it right" Parsons said. Before Farmhand, he had cut his teeth in the soulful-folk tract via the Squeaky Clean Cretins. He recalls one of his first shows with the Go Rounds, opening for Frontier Ruckus in Kalamazoo. Parsons felt that, even though he'd been performing live through the area for three years up to that point, that it was his official Kalazmazoo-coming-out party... "Because I'd felt like I never really expressed myself...until these guys. They're just the players for this music."
Parsons would later descrbie his four collaborators as "a raw mix of people who are super musically inclined..." The music goes from a shuffling, stomping blues belt, bolstered with wheezing keys and an acoustic guitars shimmering strums warming up mellow, musing folk ballads like a tawny autumnal flannel; but they can flare into keyed-up rock shimmies as fiery and forthrightly as they can into slightly haunting and deliciously twanged country sways... And, as Caitlin said and Parsons reiterated... the inspirational assortment of talent ringed 'round the Strutt's musical water hole was the galvanizing force for forming what would become the Go Rounds' vibrant energy and soulful sound.
"Kalamazoo is incredible right now," Parsons said. "There's just sooo many bands...of every genre, working hard, and just doing it! They're in their basement during the day and hitting the road at night. It's impressive. I've been listening to music strictly from Kalamazoo for the past six months and have been completely satisfied."
"The people I've connected with through The Strutt are all very like minded people and we're all trying to collaborate musically as much as possible." With their debut album having been recorded live, Parsons admitted, "Yeah...we like to freak out," on stage...
"We like to give the energy. We knew we had to do a live album and show people: this is what we're doing, with no bells and whistles; this is just what we can bring and everything in our sound has evolved from the live setting. We put my songs into the Go Rounds Machine and it just got spit out in a different color."
"All the songs (on the new album) have a similar vibe; it definitely has this very cohesive-Go-Rounds-sound to it. It's kind of dark and it's kind of heavy and it's kind of psychedelic...there's a little bit of folk influence but for the most part it's just weird...just a weird brand of rock n roll."
~ Parsons was recently recruited by Ann Arbor folk troubador Chris Bathgate to join his touring band for a jaunt supporting the forthcoming Salt Year LP. "I couldn't be more grateful," Parsons said. "I've been listening to his music for seven years, since high school! And, I just always had a deep connection to it. (Bathgate)'s just always been one of my favorites in Michigan and one of my favorite songwriters in general..."
Bathgate reflects the same high regard for the young Yooper songwriter, marveling at his refined songwriting sensibility, multifaceted talents (guitar and pedal-steel) and disarming singing voice.