Given the heavy approach of the bands he plays drums for -- particularly Alkaline Trio and, before that, Detroit's Suicide Machines -- fans are generally surprised by Derek Grant's debut album.
The just-released "Breakdown" showcases the Detroit native's skills as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, with a much more melodic sound that hearkens to Americana and alt.rock favorites such as the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Grant has released solo material online before this, but he says "Breakdown" "feels like the beginning" of another aspect of his career, and he's happy to be able to show another side of himself on the set's eight tracks.
"Stylistically it's such a departure from what I thought people, my audience or whatever, would be interested in," explains Grant, 37, who now resides with his wife in Vermont but wrote "Breakdown's" songs during 2008-09, when he was going through the dissolution of another relationship. "I wasn't intentionally trying to write an Americana kind of folk songs album. The songs were just coming out like that, and rather than trying to force it into some mold that may better suit Alkaline Trio's audience I just let it happen and took awhile to connect the dots and figure out what songs worked together best."
Grant has, in fact, written songs for Alkaline Trio "but never lyrics," he points out, noting that the song "Lucy" was written while he was visiting a friend in Garden City. "That's another thing that differentiates this from my work wtih Alkaline Trio, writing songs about my experiences and singing them as well. It took me awhile to come to terms with that, but I figured it was OK for the songs to be kind of all over the map, as long as they came out great."
There is, of course, more where this came from. Grant says he's "already started working on a new batch of songs" and still has plenty left from before.
"I don't want to rush it, but maybe it'll be done by the end of the year," says Grant, who will also be touring with Alkaline Trio and possibly starting another record with the band this year. "I've got about 10 songs written, and I'd like to write maybe twice that amount so I can really kind of pick and choose and make a solid record, maybe with some other players this time. We'll see what feels right."
Derek Grant, Leather Kings and Timmy Reynolds
Friday, Jan. 23. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Magic Stick Lounge, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show.
Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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