Theatrical concert with Grievous Angel
” … the well crafted production manages to convey the tragic story of Parsons’ life while presenting dynamic versions of the songs which have become his lasting legacy.”
– WholeNote Magazine
Gram Parsons never had a hit record and never became a star in his lifetime, but Parsons is today hailed as a patron saint of alt-country and Americana
His influence is acknowledged by artists as disparate as Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Norah Jones, Beck, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, REM and the Black Crowes. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 87 on their list of the 100 Most Influential Artists of All Time.
Gram has been the subject of five biographies, four tribute albums and a documentary film, Fallen Angel. The creative force behind some of the most important recordings of the late ’60s and early ’70s, Parsons pioneered country rock with The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, schooled the Rolling Stones in American roots music, created The Flying Burrito Brothers and recorded two classic solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel, with his musical protege, Emmylou Harris.
Grievous Angel: The Legend of Gram Parsons is a theatrical concert inspired by producer Michael Bate’s March 1973 interview with the doomed singer in Boston. It was Parsons’ last recorded conversation. Bate was working as a freelancer with CBC Radio, hosting his own late-night music show in Ontario.
Bates remembers, “what struck me was how gracious he was, a real Southern gentleman … so laid-back, so cool.” In the current tour, Parsons is played by Ottawa musician/self-confessed Parsons fanatic Anders Drerup (who’s the same age as Parsons was when he died). Kelly Prescott, daughter of country stars Randall Prescott and Tracey Brown, plays Emmylou Harris, Parsons’ famous duet partner.
Parsons was born into a southern gothic tragedy straight out of Tennessee Williams. His family owned 18,000 acres of Florida orange groves, and they had all the infidelity, addiction, self-destruction and insanity money could buy. As for Gram, his extraordinary talent, great looks, charisma and heartbreaking voice ultimately took a back seat to a compulsion to go out, like his hero, Hank Williams, in a haze of glory.
On Sept. 19, 1973, in a cheap motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Parsons OD’d on morphine and tequila. He was 26.
Grievous Angel: The Legend of Gram Parsons, stars Anders Drerup and Kelly Prescott as Gram and Emmylou Harris. Featured musicians include Al Bragg, Chris Breitner, Pat McLaughlin and Tom Martel, with music by Gram Parsons, the Rolling Stones, Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers, Chris Hillman, Chris Ethridge, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Dan Penn, Elvis Presley, Ric Grech, Boudleaux-Bryant and Bob Buchanan.
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