The new single from Brandon Grafius, “Cardinal in Winter”, lifts the veil of the season with a buoyant flutter into spring. Melodic piano and spirited harmonica join a frolicking acoustic guitar like rays of the sun on a warm spring day.
The songs on Brandon Grafius’s second album, Highways and Backroads, all started with a place. It might have been the sky over Sleeping Bear Dunes, the flowing Manistee River, or the freeway from Chicago to Lansing, but all of the songs serve as meditations on our connections with place, what it means to travel from place to place, and why some places aren’t right for us while others feel like home.
Singer-songwriter Brandon Grafius has called mid-Michigan home for several decades, with an interlude in California. Bringing together a wealth of experience in writing and performing, the songs on Highways and Backroads explore the journey of a life, offering an intimate picture of the places that connect us to one another.
With intricately crafted metaphors (Grafius studied poetry out in California), and always meditating directly or indirectly on our connections with the spiritual (Grafius has a PhD in Hebrew Bible, and teaches at a seminary in Detroit), these songs speak to all of our journeys to find a place in the world. Featuring slyly memorable melodies and richly crafted instrumental textures, Highways and Backroads is an album of rich depths, but still invites the listener to participate in its warmth.
The father of two boys, ages ten and eight, Brandon lives in Holt, Michigan and has performed widely throughout Michigan and beyond. He’s shared the stage with artists such as Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe, Jared & the Mill, the Drunken Hearts, and Michigander. His intimate, finger-picked guitar style is reminiscent of Delta blues, traditional country, and folk, but fits comfortably within the modern musical landscape. And his mellow baritone voice, moving from a growl to a whisper and all the spaces in between, carries the contours and range of a great storyteller.
Highways and Backroads announces the arrival of an important voice on the scene of Michigan music, a songwriter offering challenges and hope for the times we live in.
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The new folk single from Brandon Grafius, “Things Get Right”, is a warm breeze blowing down a carefree stretch of highway. It’s about hard-won joy and what it means to feel that everything is finally falling into place.
Jonathan Aird, Americana UK
"Sounding like a text book definition of roots-rock, and featuring some hot fiddle ‘Things Get Right’ is a toe-tapper and no mistake." [2/23/18]
The Daily Country
"'Things Get Right' is a carefree shuffler led by fiddle and Brandon's rich, warm baritone that carries the listener along to a place of contentment." [3/2/18]
"Things Get Right" single post [3/5/18]
RJ Frometa, Vents Magazine
Vents magazine interview feature
Jeff Milo, Current
"Like Bathgate before him, Grafius seems to be deeply attuned to the energy of his surroundings, and crafty at finding poetic ways of putting his heart out on his lyrical sleeve in a language that sounds fresh and profound." [4/20/18]
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