Jon Graboff For "Christ Sake"
Featuring the songs:
"For Christ's Sake!" finds one of New York's busiest sidemen stepping out front for a set of country- and pop-influenced holiday instrumentals. The man is the master of the pedal steel, the mandolin, the nylon- and twelve-string guitars, and of course, his trusty Telecaster.
Graboff was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Teaneck, NJ. Today he is the uber-New York City sideman, with his classy guitar licks and understated musical ability. His career trajectory includes a teenaged jaunt out west and a 10-year stint gigging and producing in the Berkshire Mountains. Then, after returning to NYC and a six-year hiatus from performing, he resurfaced as a member of the re-constituted country/garage rockers Beat Rodeo at their 9-year, legendary Monday night gig at Ludlow Street Café. Notable drop-ins during that time included Alex Chilton, P.F. Sloan and Lucinda Williams.
In his career as a guitarist-on-demand, he has played and/or recorded with artists such as Amy Rigby, Judah Bauer, Laura Cantrell, Peter Noone, Garland Jeffreys, Freedy Johnston, Ben E. King, Bill Lloyd, Jim Lauderdale, Richard Barone, Will Rigby and Kelly Willis.
Graboff has come a long way since he was a 16-year-old mandolin player in a forgettable S.F.-based outfit called "Sweetgrass." On "For Christ's Sake!" Graboff, producing himself, combines pedal steel guitar, dobro, acoustic guitar, electric sitar, mandolin and fuzzed out electric guitar to achieve a refreshing album that redefines the boundaries of holiday music.
His musical inspirations for this album run far and wide. The Beach Boys "Merry Chritmas Baby" gets the Phil-Spector-meets-Buck-Owens treatment. The Mills Brothers provide the road map for perhaps the album¹s most swinging number, "Here Comes Santa Claus." The Staple Singers get a nod on the down-home sounding "Joy To The World." In addition, Jon covers NRBQ¹s "Christmas Wish" and his turns one of colleague Laura Cantrell's originals, "Too Late For Tonight," into a holiday gem. Jon turns in a version of the The Three Wise Men's (aka XTC) tune "Thanks For Christmas."
The set also includes a Jon Graboff original, "Christmas Shopping." "The mixed emotions I always experience during the holidays are captured on this tune," says Graboff. "Of course, there's good cheer, trepidation and unfettered glee, a major key and time signature change, a sprinkling of sleigh bells, and presto! A Christmas song."
To back him in this spirited, swinging effort, he has hand-picked a stellar line-up of musicians. His merry band includes many well-known New York musicians, all strong session players and some frontmen in their own right. Dennis Diken, of the Smithereens and Sleeping Giant, and Louie Appel, who has played with artists ranging from Peter Frampton to Tom Verlaine, handle the percussion and drumming duties. Keyboardist extraordinaire Dave Amels (Swingin' Neckbreakers, Husky Team) shows his stuff, while acoustic bassist Steve Alcott (Dan Hicks, Doc Cheatham) and Fender bass specialist Jeremy Chatzky (Bruce Springsteen, They Might Be Giants) complete the rhythm section. Andrew Carillo (Joan Osborne, Parlor James) added a few more rhythm guitars and sax man Paul Scher (Lone Sharks) rounded out the ensemble.