David Grissom – Loud Music

When you’ve made your living and reputation as a hired gun, and finally decide to cut a solo album, what do you do? In the case of David Grissom, the question is particularly interesting because his sideman and session work has covered such a wide gamut.

In addition to stints with Joe Ely, John Mellencamp, and the Dixie Chicks, and five years as a member of Storyville,the guitarslinger has worked with Robben Ford, the Allman Brothers, John Mayall, Chris Isaak, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Guy, Montgomery Gentry, Martina McBride, James McMurtry, Bruce Robison, Lou Ann Barton, Jennifer Warnes, Ringo Starr, and numerous others. But as adaptable as Grissom is, he’s also instantly recognizable. Like David Lindley, he manages to do exactly what the artist and the song need without submerging his own identity.

Still, even longtime fans and guitarists who’ve fallen under his influence couldn’t predict what type of solo CD he’d put out – rock, blues, country, fusion, vocal, instrumental, a little bit of everything?

This collection is a grab bag, with six instrumentals and five vocal numbers – seven written by Grissom, the other four collaborations with other songwriters. Drummer Davis McLarty and bassist Jimmy Pettit reunite with their partner in crime from the Ely band of the ’80s on the title tune, a Southern-rock protest song about a pressing issue we can all relate to – noise ordinances! “Before you let the guitar man dial it up to dime, don’t forget loud music is a 40 dollar fine,” his Louisville twang warns.

Grissom isn’t afraid to toss a steel-like country lick into a blues or let the blues seep into a country song, and his harmonic sense goes well beyond the typical boundaries of both. He flirts with fusion on the instro “Hi-Tex,” then tips his hat to ZZ Top on “Sake And Venom,” featuring what Ely called Grissom’s “bone-crushing rhythm.”

So what type of solo album did Grissom make? A typically diverse, very personal statement, chock-full of enviable guitar playing.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.