I love Gram Parsons’ music – flat out. He’s one of the musicians that hits a familiar feeling, comfortable chord with me.
My friend Pete, who was my boss when I worked at the Grunion Gazette awhile back, inadvertently introduced me to Gram’s music.
Pete would bring in all kinds of CDs I hadn’t heard before and when I was the only one working in the Graphic Design area, I’d go through Pete’s CDs and try different ones out. That’s how I discovered John Prine’s music, and that’s how I discovered Gram Parsons’.
One Thursday morning, while all the important people were upstairs in the usual Thursday morning meeting, I put on this CD called G.P./Grievous Angel, with a picture on the cover that reminded me of a Syd Barrett (the founder of Pink Floyd) album cover. I put the CD on, and found a touchstone.
Gram’s life was tragically short, and ended in a heroin overdose in a motel room at the Joshua Tree Inn on September 19, 1973 at the age of 26 – here’s a link to the story of his death
Here’s a trailer (from YouTube) to a Gram Parsons’ movie to give some background flavor…
For a few years a group of us would go camping in Joshua Tree every September during the weekend of the anniversary of his death. We called it the “Gram Parsons Memorial Weekend”. At the end of the weekend I’d make my pilgrimage to the site of Gram’s cremation (if this puzzles you, read about his death from the link above), and spend a little time with Gram, read the new graffiti, then head on home for the well deserved shower after four days of camping.
This playlist is just a sampling of Gram’s music. He was the originator of Country Rock, even though he didn’t like that term… he preferred “Cosmic American Music”, and so do I.
Here’s a link to Amazon.com to buy this music by Gram if you’ve been intrigued… Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology This 2CD set contains all of the songs from this playlist and many other great ones covering the length of Gram Parson’s short but influential career.
Here’s a few more links about Gram Parsons: