Monday, February 2, 2009

Alec Gross' New Tattoo

photo by: Michael Files

During a strange jaunt deep into Brooklyn, where I experienced racist street soliloquys and a questionable fish pizza, I found my way to a bar filled with a new, alarming sub-culture of ex-pat Brits, glued to televisions featuring "Man U," pointing and demanding channel changes from the recent barmaid arrivals from the middle states, who fondle the remotes unknowingly while seeming to experience a very real fear at just how alien "New York City" has proven to be for them. Ahh, Bedford. A true wilderness.

The situation seemed bleak, and I considered getting right back on the "L". After 5 minutes in the bar, screaming at the top of my lungs, I still had no idea if I was in the right place. I saw no stage, and having come to see a gig, I became alarmed at the thought of the singer playing while all of this was going on. A degrading experience that I had no intention of being a part of. Thankfully, as I was forced to escape, I noticed a little stage through a separate door, which couldn't have been more pleasant in comparison. I strolled in, did the obligatory hellos, and then noticed a very sweet voice on the stage.

At the end of his set, Alec Gross came to hang out a little bit. I was instantly fond of him. He gave me a download card to get some of his music, and that was that. I put it on my playlist, and it never really came up on iTunes for the next six months or so ("Genius" my ass). Once it did, it was one of the tracks that forced me to take note. I got up to go and see who was singing etc. and I was so pleased that it was Alec, singing "All The Pretty Women." I instantly had to hear his new record ROSE TATTOO, which will be released this month.

Alec Gross' new record ROSE TATTOO will be released with much hoo hah at The Canal Room, on February 26, 2009.

Rose Tattoo has been on my playlist non-stop for a fortnight. Alec is one of the most beautiful singers I have heard in a long time, with a distinct tone, and the innocence that he can convey through his songwriting makes him my favorite folk singer performing right now. If any of you out there miss Tim Buckley as much as I do, please listen to "Lady Roses" below and tell me that it couldn't be straight off TB's first record! He can do the civil war ballad, he can do the love song. Where is the love song right now? Where did it go? Sometimes the classic unrequited love song is so refreshing next to the indie rock version in which the lovers cut each others legs.

It's the tale of the troubadour who looks longingly upon the women in his audience, inspired by him, wishing the one he loves could share their adoration versus the tale of a lover who, rather than pining after a woman, finds a companion in rejection to hate-fuck for revenge. The latter doesn't evoke the same reverence for the creative beauty of loss. Different audiences, I suppose.

When I need to indulge my Folk / Blugrass itch, I generally have to go to bands like Crooked Still, who do it as well as anyone. With Alec we get all of the pure sensibility and the tradition of the genre, but with songs that aren't from the public domain! "Carver Spring Massacre" reminds me of cruising in my old truck with only one folk tape in the dash - some Irish singer I've never heard of - but the song creeps inside as though it's been in the air for a century. It's very impressive. I can already tell that "Rose Tattoo" will be on my best of 2009. Well done, Alec!

1. "Lady Roses" Download mp3 (with permission)
2. "Hey, Hey Adelaide" live from

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