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Grievous Angel

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iTunes Review

Gram Parsons was loath to describe his music as country-rock. He preferred the phrase “cosmic American music” to express his sonic stew of blues, country, soul, gospel, and rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until his sophomore solo album, Grievous Angel, that this vision was fully formed—despite a looser musicianship on his part due to substance abuse catching up with him. This is evident with a puffier-faced Parsons on the album cover and his slack vocals contrasting Emmylou Harris’ in-the-pocket singing in the opening duet, “Return of the Grievous Angel.” While that song is steeped in Bakersfield-flavored honky-tonk, Parsons' rendition of Tom T. Hall’s “I Can’t Dance” blends barroom boogie-blues with twangy guitars and soulful harmonies to cement his cosmic American music sound. With the heartfelt ballad “Brass Buttons”—a song lamenting the loss of his mother—Parsons drove this amalgam of genres into ballad territory. The mournful “$1000 Wedding” is another great example of how Parsons could effortlessly braid soul and hillbilly music into epic tearjerkers.

Customer Reviews

What most need to know

Oddly enough, Suminsumin, Gram would probably agree with your perceptions. Gram never claimed to be a stunning talent, a "country boy," nor did he proclaim himself as a "country singer." That is left for the Cash`s and William`s. Rather, Gram`s legacy is less about musical ability and more about the genre gapping between rock and country. His influence had no affect on Nashville, but those SoCal and midwest bands that followed his vision have made large imprints on Americana music (Eagles, Wico, Son Volt). He had no T40 songs and sold very few records, but the "hype" following his death certainly did not promoted others to do it better. That alone is worth the hype.

This is a great album

Who are the poseurs who somehow don't think this is "country"? It most certainly is. "$1000 Wedding" is a classic country song, as are some others on this album. The band is amazing, and Parson's delivery is perfect. The only reason some people won't call this "country" is because Parsons was a hippie from California. But who cares? The music speaks for itself.

Simply Awesome

Some people don't like Gram, I get it. But no one can deny his influence. Without this man there would be no Eagles, no country rock as we know it. He was the catalyst if not the star.


Born: November 5, 1946 in Winter Haven, FL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Gram Parsons is the father of country-rock. With the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the songwriter pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music, and as a solo artist he moved even further into the country realm, blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other. While he was alive, Parsons was a cult figure that never sold many records but influenced countless fellow musicians, from the Rolling Stones to...
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