“Postmodern, mythic” American folk music icon Tracy Grammer makes a rare local appearance at the Unitarian Meetinghouse.
For the latest (and last of 2016) entry in a recently minted series of Earth Room Concerts, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft presents a performance Saturday night that’s as much about an artist whose absence will be deeply felt as it is about the acclaimed singer/storyteller whose presence promises to make it a special occasion.
With her solo debut appearance at a Shore area venue — and doing her part to fulfill the series’ stated mission of bringing nationally known folk musicians more commonly heard at festivals and venues in New York to appreciative audiences on the Greater Red Bank Green — Tracy Grammer takes the stained-glass sanctuary stage.
Scheduled for 7:30 p.m., it’s a set that finds the Massachusetts-based veteran of Joan Baez’s band previewing her own new compositions, interpreting songs from her favorite fellow folkies, and illuminating the legacy of her musical partner, the late Dave Carter.
It was through her all-too-brief partnership with Carter that Grammer first hit the public radar, as the duo — acclaimed as “the new voice” of “postmodern, mythic American folk” — released three chart-topping albums of Carter’s original songs between 1998 and 2001. A 2002 tour with Baez exposed the Carter-Grammer tandem to an even wider international audience, until Dave Carter suffered a fatal mid-tour heart attack in July of that year, silenced at the age of 49.
Since then, Grammer has overseen the posthumous release of recordings made with Carter (including the 2012 best-seller Little Blue Egg); lent her “springwater-clear alto, perfectly intoned violin, and guitar playing” to albums of interpretations of other songwriters’ material; and begun work on a forthcoming first collection of her own original songs, as part of the RealWomenRealSongs project.
The once-shy and “reclusive” musician has also found her voice as “a masterful storyteller with an ease and charisma on stage — not to mention a riotous sense of humor,” and it’s that aspect of her public persona that will occupy a special place in Saturday’s event.
As the press kit notes, “the Lincroft concert will feature a ‘words+music’ section where Grammer offers honest, poignant, often humorous glimpses into the journey with, and without, Carter. The content varies nightly but has addressed such topics as grief, transgender issues, bad British accents, life on the road, public versus private selves, and starting over.”
Tickets to the Saturday concert are available online here ($15 adult, $7.50 children age 12 and under) or at the door ($20 adult, $10 children age 12 and under). Take it here for more about Grammer’s solo work, which includes a forthcoming memoir about her time with Carter — and here for details on the Dave Carter Legacy Project, an initiative of which Grammer serves as director and administrator of the late songwriter’s music.
The Earth Room Concerts series resumes in 2017 with scheduled appearances by singer-songwriter Matt Nakoa (March 11), Toronto duo the Young Novelists (April 8), and Celtic-tinged songsmith/painter Joe Crookston (May 6).