Impressed By Grimm
Bruce Von Stiers
I've watched a few seasons of America's Got Talent. As I watched the finals of the fifth season of the show, there were two top contenders. One was a ten year old girl whose operatic singing voice was far beyond her years. The other contender was a thirty year old soul singer originally from Mississippi. I was really pulling for the girl to win, but in the final competition, the soul singer brought down the house.
That soul singer was Michael Grimm. Before being a competitor on America's Got Talent, Michael performed at various casinos in the Las Vegas area. After he won the completion, Michael was a guest on numerous shows, including the Ellen Degeneres Show, where he proposed to his longtime girlfriend.
Michael has also recorded a few albums along the way. Last week saw the release of his latest album, simply titled Michael Grimm. As impressed as I was by Michael's performance on America's Got Talent, I was doubly impressed by this album.
Michael rounded up some of the best local talent that Las Vegas has to offer to help out on the album. There is Ray Allaire who is known to play a bit of guitar. Jamie Borden is a drummer who has a band called Phoenix and did instructional drum video, including one with Neil Peart of Rush fame. Colin Hotchkiss is a bass player who hangs out with bands such as The Funk Jam. Besides drumming and composing, Drew Masterpole is one the people behind Studio 824 in Las Vegas. This was the studio that the album was recorded at. Carlos Guerrero is a guitarist who has played with The Paul Charles band, Justin Mather among other national and regional acts along with teaching guitar in the Las Vegas area.
Michael wrote two of the songs on the album. The others he co-wrote with Kevin Hunter. Kevin was in the band Wire Train and has written songs for Cheryl Crow, LeAnn Womack, Billy Idol and Simple Minds.
There are twelve songs on the album. It has a play time of forty six minutes. The album was produced by Michael, Drew and Jamie. Drew also mixed the album along with Vinnie Castaldo. Vinnie, who has worked on albums for bands such as All American Rejects, mastered the album. It is being released by Mattikay Music.
Right out of the gate Michael brings it. The first song is Generation Next. It has a slick rock groove sound with great guitar and drum backing Michael's vocals. The song is about being yourself and that the world is moving forward and should accept you for who and what you are. Michael has a cool music video out for the song that features Las Vegas acts Black Eyed Tease, Avalon Landing, Phoenix and Murray Sawchuck.
The second song is a little toe tapper about love called She Drives Me Crazy.
Black and White is one of the chart singles from the album. It is a little slower with a moody bluesy rock undertone. There is some great guitar and Michael has solid, yet almost aching vocals.
Kicking it with some Southern Rock infused with a sliver of Delta blues is The Tide. It is about how things change, especially the places where we came from. Sometimes you really can't go home again. This song may have been based in truth, as the town where Michael grew up in was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Then there is the killer blues rock song Roses. The song is about calling someone out who has done him wrong. It seems like the devil's gonna get a bite and lovers throw roses on your grave in the song. Dark images but one of my favorite songs on the album.
High School Stories is a toe tapping lament on high school days and how people can be so cruel to each other.
Lonely is a mild ballad that has an R & B styling.
Tragic Figures is a song that The Police might have done. The main verses have a kind of that Sting vocal sound to it.
Right after that is a song that reminded me of Huey Lewis & The News. The song is Goodbye Sammy.
Another favorite of mine from the album is Bliss. It is a cool rock love ballad. Michael has terrific vocals and there is some really great guitar.
I couldn't help but smile when listening to 1982. It's a fun rock groove dealing with a potential pick-up. He's wondering if he smiles for a while will she make a move. If you've ever been there you'll get the picture.
The album closes with a mellow, yet sad ballad called The Wind. It's about losing someone. The song was written in the memory of Michael's grandfather.
I mentioned earlier that I was really impressed with this album. Even when I like an album, there are usually only a few of the songs that are really, really good. But I have to say there isn't a song on this album I didn't like. Michael does very well with slow ballads like Lonely and The Wind, although I enjoy the high energy and the more intense blues rock songs better.
The album is available through Michael's web site and other selected online retailers. You will find the site at http://michaelgrimmmusic.com/ Michael also has a musician's page on Facebook at
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© 2015 Bruce E Von Stiers