Americana Roots: Grayson Capps

American Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  Grayson Capps is the songwriters’ songwriter who is equal parts drunken troubadour and soulful rock ‘n’ roller, existing in a world somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Charles Bukowski.

Name: Grayson Capps.

For Fans Of: Fred Eaglesmith, Todd Snider, Anders Osborne.

Hometown: Brewton, Alabama, USA.


Discography:  ‘If You Knew My Mind’ (2005), ‘Wail & Ride’ (2006), ‘Stavin’ Chain’ (2007), ‘Songbones’ (2007), ‘Rott & Roll’ (2008), ‘The Lost Cause Minstrels’ (2011), ‘Willie Sugarcapps’ (2013), ‘Paradise Right Here Willie Sugarcapps’ (2015), ‘Love Songs, Mermaids and Grappa’ (2015), ‘Scarlett Roses’ (2017), ‘South Front Street’ (2020)

Background: Grayson Capps has always been equal parts drunken troubadour and soulful rock ‘n’ roller.  His interest in music came about naturally as a child when he was exposed to his father’s expansive and wide-ranging record collection.  “He had eclectic tastes in artists varying from Tom T. Hall to Eartha Kitt, Tomita to Hurricane Smith, Furry Lewis to Serge Gainsbourg, Loretta Lynn to Julie London and all points in between,” explains Capps.  “Frequently we had musicians stop by on weekends.”  Those visits by local musicians and his father’s record collection helped Capps develop a love of music at an early age.

That love soon blossomed into a career when Capps, who ended up in New Orleans to study theatre, started his first band, the House Levelers, with some fellow students after graduating and started playing open mic nights.  They soon got signed to a record deal with Tipitina’s Records, and as Capps says, “I have been at it professionally ever since.”  Since then Capps has released eleven albums, including this year’s career retrospective, ‘South Front Street.’  In that time he has become the thinking-man’s songwriter, the troubadours troubadour, often existing under the radar and on his front porch where he crafts songs that explore the dark side of life and conjures up images of desperate, seedy characters who are down on their luck and living at the ends of the means. It is a dark side of life that finds you talking with prostitutes and drinking whiskey at 4am.  And a side of life you need a guide to show you around in.  Thankfully Capps is here to be that guide, as he brings those desperate characters that inhabit his songwriting to life with his southern-blues-boogie-confessional-storyteller approach and delivers them with his gruff-smoke-filled voice.

“The various influences I had early on in my life makes my music hard to define,” says Capps.  “To put it simply one could call it roots music, or to get more complex you could call it a chance meeting of Woody Guthrie, Charles Bukowski, Taj Mahal, and Leonard Cohen thrown in an old cast iron pot with Son House, Doc Watson, and Nick Cave sprinkled with The Cramps and Hank Williams.”

What He Does Live:

Photo by Chad Edwards/ MCE Photography.

To check out all the artists featured in Americana Roots swing by the regularly updated playlist below:

About Tim Newby 59 Articles
Author of books, writer of words, enjoyer of good times. Often found with a beer in hand and barefoot at a festival somewhere. Author of 'Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin' Sound & Its Legacy' (2015), 'Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! (2019). New book 'Pete Browning: The Life & Troubled Times of a Forgotten Legend' due out in 2023. Follow him on twitter @Tim_Newby9 .
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Scott MacDonald

Great review on a great singer/songwriter. To hear more of Grayson you can visit Grayson Capps Army of Love Facebook page.