Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Graham A. Parsons
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Graham A. Parsons

Kristi Kates - August 2nd, 2010
Going ’Round with Graham A. Parsons
By Kristi Kates
Self-taught Upper Peninsula singer-songwriter Graham A. Parsons got an
early - and heavy-metal - introduction to music while he was still in
his teens.
“My older brother, Ben, got into music when I was 13 or so,” Parsons
explains, “he started a band with some buddies early on, and I got to
watch it develop. I remember them learning Guns and Roses and AC/DC
tunes, but their singer was terrible. One time I asked if I could try
singing a song, and I did, briefly, before the singer ripped the mic
from my tiny hands and told me I didn’t know what I was doing. I guess
from there on out, I had a bit of a vocal vendetta - something to

Parsons, lauded state-wide today for his towering vocal abilities and
strong guitar skills (take that, mediocre metal singer), began his own
guitar-playing journey with a small student guitar, on which he’d try
to play classic rock songs.
“Stairway to Heaven” was one of the first I learned - although I can’t
recall any of it now,” he laughs. For Parsons, though, deciphering
other people’s music quickly led to him writing his own songs. “I
never really even thought about it,” he recalls, “it just happened.”
Another influence - besides his brother’s well-intentioned attempts at
a band - were his parents, whom Parsons says always had “great music”
playing in the house.
“I owe them a lot for those great influences,” he says, “most notably,
The Beatles and the Motown family. I unconsciously learned about pop
songwriting structure from The Beatles, and admired the incredible
voices that came from the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, and Marvin Gaye.
I remember trying to replicate the sounds they produced - all with a
squeaky prepubescent voice.”

By the time Graham was 16, he was playing three-set gigs at various
smoky U.P. dive bars across the Keweenaw Peninsula, eventually
segueing into being co-founder of Michigan-based band the Squeaky
Clean Cretins. Two full-length albums later, the Cretins had become
more of a seasonal, or summer band for Parsons and crew. This would be
the beginning of that band’s end.
“We only really played three or four months out of the year,” he
explains, “the rest of the time we were separated by 600 miles. By the
end of last summer, the Cretins were playing as a three or four piece
as opposed to a five or six piece, and things just weren’t very
cohesive. We weren’t all on the same page as far as overall
willingness to play whenever, wherever; so it was never really a
‘band’ in the true sense of the word.”
But Parsons wouldn’t remain band-less for long.
Soon, he began playing music with the members of what is now Graham A.
Parsons and the Go Rounds, “and it didn’t take long for most of us to
realize what needed to happen,” he says.
Parsons shared his now extensive back catalog of songs with the band,
and the group added a bunch of newer tunes as well. “It was non-stop
learning for the first few months, building a repertoire,” he
explains. “In that sense, the band has been a vehicle for my songs,
but I’ve never tried to stifle the other members’ influence on them.
They play the songs with a strong sense of respect for their core, but
add a fire to the arrangements.”
Currently, Parsons and the Go Rounds all live in the same town (“most
of us in the same house,” he chuckles), and, as Parsons puts it,
“we’re all recklessly in love with music and know what we want to do
with it.”
It’s an “incredible feeling,” he says.

Graham A. Parsons and the Go Rounds are now set to perform as part of
the Black Cat Concert series in Charlevoix, with even more new songs
and their own eclectic blend of styles.
“Our music is comprised of folkish songs, presented in a very
non-folkish way,” Parsons explains, “the acoustic guitar has a strong
presence, but the arrangements have electronic, psychedelic, rock n’
roll, and jazz influences.”
Parsons’ bandmates are contributing more and more of their influences,
as well, as time goes on for this talented group.
“Recently we’ve been adding more tunes by our keyboardist, Andy
Catlin, and guitarist Gitis Baggs,” Parsons says. (The other members
of the Go Rounds are bassist Tod Kloosterman and drummer Adam Danis.)
“We’ve also just started feeling out song ideas as a band at
rehearsals,” he continues, “someone will start a riff and we’ll all
jump in and see where it goes. I’m sure all songwriting avenues will
be heavily traversed.”
In addition to his work with the Go Rounds, Parsons recently released
his very first solo album, which he’s entitled Farmhand.
“I recorded it last summer between my home in the Keweenaw Peninsula
and my home in Kalamazoo,” he says. “It features many of my favorite
Michigan instrumentalists and friends, but none of the Go Rounds. We
play many of the cuts from the album when we perform live though.” The
Go Rounds have a new live album of their own, too, and will be playing
those songs live.
It’s all part of Parsons’ ongoing growth as a musician full of potential:
“I think fans can expect to hear a more mature and dynamic
presentation of my songwriting. There has been much growth over the
past year, and the music will put it on display.”

Graham A. Parsons and the Go Rounds will be performing as part of the
Black Cat Concerts Series in Charlevoix on Thursday, August 5 at 8
p.m. For tix ($15), visit
www.blackcatconcerts.com; for more info on the band, visit
www.grahamaparsons.com. Other Northern Michigan shows for the band
will include stops at Dunegrass (August 6) and at Short’s Brewery in
Bellaire on August 7.

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