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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 10:02 pm

Get ready for Nobody

Brian Granse and his band plays the Hilton on Friday

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Brian Granse
Untitled Document Brian Granse is not just anybody; in fact, he’s not even somebody. He’s a nobody — an American Nobody, to be precise. “In this world I’m just a speck on the music scene,” says the Illinois-reared singer/songwriter. “That’s where the idea of American Nobody came from.”
After recording his first couple of records under his given name, Granse felt uncomfortable promoting himself and was looking for an different direction. After a helpful suggestion by fellow singer/songwriter Aaron Davis, Granse became American Nobody, complete with a brown paper bag over his head on the cover of his    latest CD. (The wearing of the bag took place only during the photo shoot, and Granse emphatically states that he does not perform with a bag over his head.) The music of American Nobody is basically pleasant acoustic instrumentation overlaid with introspective and interesting lyrics. Highlights of the new album include a stellar Dobro solo on “South to Memphis” by local musician Mike Steinhauer. Granse, who recorded Steinhauer at his Rochester home on a portable system, plays almost all of the instruments on the 12-song disk. 
Granse began home recording in his early teens, learning the intricacies of multitracking and the art of layering tracks. As recording technology progressed, the songwriter took full advantage of the new opportunities, especially a process known as looping, a replaying of a recorded part over and over in a loop, with other recorded tracks then laid over the basic rhythm beat. When incorporating the looping process into his live show, Granse starts with an acoustic guitar slung on his back and a bass guitar and an African djembe hand drum on ready-to-play stands. After playing and recording the drum and bass into his chosen looping machine, he pulls the guitar around for added instrumental work and as an accompaniment when he steps to a microphone and sings. “This is my first tour with multiinstruments,” says Granse. “It adds more intriguing elements — a one-man band where every instrument is played and recorded live.”
Granse — formerly a guitarist/vocalist with From the Attic, a popular Springfield/ Carbondale band — originally hails from Villa Grove, a small town near Champaign-Urbana. He’s spent the last four years out West, mostly in Colorado and Wyoming, occasionally returning to the Springfield area for shows and visits. What does the future hold? “I know my needs are going to change later, but at this moment I’m doing what I need to be doing,” Granse says. “Making a living at being an artist — that’s dream enough.”

Hear American Nobody at 10 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Underground City Tavern (700 E. Adams St., 217-789-1530).

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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