Posted on October 31, 2017 at 7:21 pm

I think I first became aware of Grace McLean through Justin Goldner, her bassist as well as a regular member of the Caucasian Rhythm Kings (and one of the original guitarists for The Bridges of Madison County). Grace is also part of Shaina Taub’s unbelievable circle of incredible musical collaborators, so I’d seen her do some work in that context. But it was when I saw her in The Great Comet that I knew I wanted to invite her to join us at SubCulture and share some of her music and awesome musicianship with us for our landmark 30th concert in the residency.

Grace offered three of her own originals, all of which can be heard (along with dozens of other equally brilliant creations) on her website and YouTube. Often accompanied only by her looping machine, Grace weaves extraordinary tapestries out of tiny musical threads, bolstering all of it with a seemingly limitless voice. Her quirky comic sensibility combines unexpectedly with a rapturous melodic instinct. It was a real kick to add some of my own noisemaking on the piano to some of Grace’s work.

But in addition to her own stuff, Grace is a superlative interpreter of exactly the kind of work I do, and she delivered powerhouse renditions of four of my songs, including a ferocious “King of the World” and a heartbreaking “Letting You Go”. We also duetted on an arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America,” a song that strangely resonant in these bewildering times.

There was also the moment where Gary told the legendary Hobby joke.

I premiered a song from The Connector, which required me to sing in 11/4, and most importantly, I spoke about my work with the Brady Campaign, and my sensational and compassionate audience raised over $4000 right then and there for the campaign against gun violence in America. I am so grateful to everyone who contributed and is helping to talk about and solve the terrifying, senseless gun problem in this country – anyone who wants to discuss it further with me or contribute, you can email me directly at this site:

America (music and lyric by Paul Simon, 1968)
GRACE: Natural Disaster (music and lyric by Grace McLean)
GRACE: King of the World (from Songs for a New World, 1995)
Temporarily Lost (from The Bridges of Madison County, 2013)
GRACE: One More Thing Than I Can Handle (2006)
Voice of My Generation (from The Connector, 2017)
GRACE: Cassandra (from The Connector, 2017)
GRACE: Jesse and Zach (music and lyric by Grace McLean)
GRACE: Gazelle (music and lyric by Grace McLean)
GRACE: Letting You Go (from Songs of Jason Robert Brown, 2003)
A Song About Your Gun (2016)
Melinda (2015)
Hope (2016)

JRB: piano, vocals
Grace McLean: vocals, fancy looping thang
Justin Goldner: guitar, bass
Gary Sieger: guitar
Randy Landau: bass
Todd Reynolds: violin
Jamie Donald Eblen: drums

Next month: Our 31st concert features the spectacular TODRICK HALL and the glorious KATHRYN GALLAGHER! November 11 – Tickets here!