Grant Dermody “Sun Might Shine on Me”
With Dirk Powell, Orville Johnson, Rich Del Grosso, Keith Lowe, Dale Fanning, Scott Meyer, and Forrest Gibson.
May 16, 2015 @ 7pm
Seattle Unity Church – 200 8th Ave., N. Seattle, WA
Sun Might Shine on Me – Grant Dermody & Friends
Released: May 2015
by Dirk Powell
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Breath is the foundation of the physical reality of our lives. And voice, the sound from within that finds its outlet and identity through expression shaped by our mouths, is the foundation of our communication with others. A newborn baby’s primal experience in the world consists of drawing in an enormous breath of the living air around him or her, and then making the first sound directed towards others, a cry that announces both presence and emotional state, and seeks connection and affirmation that he or she is not alone. Perhaps more than any other instrument, the harmonica directly reflects this reality of who we are and how we communicate with others. Fingers may be involved, but not to the extent that they are with other instruments. The harmonica is about the power of breath and the unfettered shaping of expression with the mouth, with less mechanics in between than in any other way of making music, other than the voice itself. Even the reeds are essentially smaller versions of our own vocal chords. The instrument connects, with very little filter, to our deepest selves.
Grand Dermody is a master of this open, honest, and direct way of communicating emotion and feeling through the harmonica. He reaches down to the central places where breath feeds life — the core where oxygen brings energy not just to body but to spirit — and lets that breath rise joyfully and expansively to filter through the instrument and into the full range of our emotional lives. He plays the harmonica with power that is equally effective and evocative whether held in reserve or allowed to wail to its fullest and wildest degree. His musical voice, both through the instrument and through singing itself, reunites forms and feels that are not-so-distant cousins into one wide and calmly flowing stream. There are tranquil pools, lilting eddies, and wild rapids; but the overall flow of Grant’s musical river is simple, steady and true. Touches of Blues, Appalachian music, Cajun, Gospel, Irish — they all flow easily back into the source from which they come in Grant’s world; a cultural resonance, to be sure, but a deeper human one beyond that.
This record finds Grant at the peak of his openness to the flow of expression, and at the peak of his ability to dig deep and reach high. It’s all there, in him, and so it all flows naturally and easily to you. With a team of supporting musicians who understand and feel the fearlessness and depth of his intent for this project, he has found and unlocked some timeless musical doors. We are lucky to be able to hear his discoveries, to explore these places with him, and find affirmation of the truths we already knew. His music is not so far removed from the unselfconscious power of that baby’s first breath and cry. In a way, Grant brings us back to that initial truthful state, where we long to be; and in another, he captures the full extent of where we humans walk to on our journey from that point to the end of our lives. I consider it an honor to have been part of the project and look forward to more moments of music down the unending road, along the easy-flowing stream….