Tom Gramlich pulls double duty at the Cinema Bar

(Josh Goldstein)

On Friday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. and then on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m., the Cinema Bar will host sets from Americana musician Tom Gramlich – with Jed’s Dead on Friday, and Live Forever on Sunday. Gramlich spoke with the News about his career so far, and what we can expect from these shows…

When did the band form and when did it get serious?

I’ve always had songs in my head. I am a self taught string instrument player, though that means I learned enough to want to learn more about the mysteries of music theory, but then you have ‘the blues’ and it’s so much about expression. I would sit on the floor while my brother played his records – little did I know I was playing recordings featuring the finest session players around: Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Robben Ford, Lee Rittenour etc. Even John Denver’s band had great players! Some years ago I was invited to co host an ‘open mic’ here in Los Angeles, where myself and my co host would play a few sets, so I decided that would be a good format to present my own songwriting. I still include those songs in performances. The songs have some interesting accompaniment and meaningful lyrics – they need to say ‘something’ for people to grab on to. My Dad was an L.A. firefighter for 30yrs. He would say, “put that guitar down & learn how to do something.” But then he’d show up if I played somewhere and say, “Sounded pretty good!”

Describe your sound…

I’m experienced in many genres of music, blues, flatpicking country, soul, rock, pop, etc. I felt in necessary to be able to play a lot of styles including slide guitar, and it’s paid off, Especially when working with many different artists. For my own band, I came up with a name ‘Electric Flatpicking’, very much like picking acoustic style yet with electric guitars. It’s very expressive.

What are your career highlights so far…

The highlights are many. I was a co founder of a benefit series in Los Angeles call ‘Grassroots Acoustica’, and one show we did for Children’s Hospital in L.A. was a Nicolette Larson night. In walked Andrew Gold who played with and produced Linda Ronstadt. Andrew came up to me after my set and said, “I want to play through what you were playing through!” Also among many great moments was when Doc Watson shook my hand at the front door of McCabes Guitar shop in Santa Monica. Playing good material well, and working well with each player, is high on any list for me.

Have you performed at the Cinema Bar before?

I’ve played the Cinema Bar for several years. The community and support among the patrons and musicians is a good thing. There is support for each other, that is very worthwhile. I’ve worked a lot as a sideman for a good while and recently was thrilled play on an album project featuring Greg Leisz (Clapton, Jackson Browne etc) & Sebastian Steinberg (Jackson Browne, Don Heffington etc) for a soon to be released album by stellar vocalist/guitarist/songwrite Kriss Light, recorded at the Carriage House in Silverlake by Master Engineer Sheldon Gomberg. Three of my favorite players – Steve Mugalian, drums, Gregory Boaz, bass & Rick Holmstrom – are Cinema Bar regulars and are currently backing Mavis Staples. I always want anyone coming into the Cinema Bar to be glad they were there because we all want to ‘bring it’ and present the best.

For more information about the concert, go to