Grant Livingston “Grant & Friends”

Independent, 2021

Cool southern jams and ambient space are created in this debut release.

Be prepared for a lot of long jams in this debut release from Grant Livingston. ‘Grant & Friends’ brings back the good old days of Allman Brothers-esque jams, slide guitar and cool laid back grooves. Livingston is said to deliver “energetic reciprocity to cater to authentic expression, spiritual liberation, and/or just a good old-fashioned boogie” in his liver performances and that is made very clear throughout this release.

Only Love’ is half song half jam with tasteful use of Rhodes style electric piano throughout the verses and choruses, adding a lovely depth to the body of the track, whilst being filled out by a string section in the choruses. Immediately you’re struck with how well these tracks are arranged and how Livingston has used the available instruments completely to his advantage, almost becoming quite tribal towards the back end. ‘Another Day Another Dollar’ gets super sleazy and southern with ass-shaking grooves, slide guitars and harmonica. This track does start to drag slightly, but is always kept going by the superb musicianship within the band.

Livingston’s lazy, laid back vocal shines through in ‘Ways of War’, which is a shorter offering before heading into ‘Change’ where he explores a whole new soundscape, with dissonant piano and ambience that opens up the arrangement into a brand new beast, pulling you in further into the album. ‘Solstice‘ turns to bluegrass. Featuring simple instrumentation, vocal, guitar, piano and an undisclosed percussion instrument of some type. ‘Spirit Carries On’ takes us to gospel soul land, featuring the coolest organ you’re likely to hear since the 60’s. Trumpet brings in a new lead option for Livingston, whilst he keeps his vocal lines simple and precise.

All in all, a strong debut release from Grant Livingston. Although a large number of the tracks are very long, they never get stale and drag on. Livingston does a great job of pulling the listener in at all times with new sounds, new structures and interesting soundscapes at times. He also throws in a couple of shorter songs for good measure, which allows the listener to stay engaged to the journey they’re being taken on. Definitely a worthwhile listen – probably not for everyone, but if it is for you, then you’ll most likely love it.


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