Five Firsts: Mike Grutka

September 9th, 2010, 12:59 pm by Greg

Mike GrutkaNAME: Mike Grutka
BAND AFFILIATION: The Mike Grutka Project
INSTRUMENT: Mainly Acoustic/Electric Guitars and Vocals, but I also play keyboards, bass, drums, violin, cello and percussion. And of course, Kazoo.

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Fables of the Reconstruction” by REM. I got hooked and now own everything they’ve ever done. I still have it on vinyl.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Ray Charles at the New York State Fair. It was at the free concert stage, and we were wanting to sit for a while as we’d been at the fair for a long time. I don’t think we knew he was performing. We’d go to the fair about 4-5 times a year when I was growing up and walk around to all the exhibit buildings. So every once in awhile we all needed to sit down and rest. I didn’t really know who he was at the time, but I remember being just floored by the band and his voice.

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CD: Mike Grutka’s “February Sessions”

September 8th, 2010, 3:01 pm by Greg

Mike Grutka: February Sessions(MikeGrutka.com, 2010):

On his previous album, “Ria” (which was officially released just a couple of months ago), Saratoga Springs singer-songwriter Mike Grutka did it all himself – singing, songwriting, playing all the instruments, producing, etc. – and he very nearly pulled it off.

This time around, he did the same thing, except that he brought in drummer Will Railton on two-thirds of the tunes. It was a smart move that makes all the difference on this batch of 11 impressive original songs. No question about it, this is Grutka’s best work yet.

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CD: Mike Grutka’s “Ria”

June 2nd, 2010, 12:01 pm by Greg

Mike Grutka: Ria(MDSM Records, 2009):

The Saratoga Springs singer-songwriter Mike Grutka describes his sound as “acoustic-based funky modern roots rock ‘n roll,” which sure as hell covers a lot of bases, but does manage to narrow down the scope of things at least a bit.

Grutka’s got some serious talent – but with this debut he wasn’t quite ready to tackle the whole magilla himself. Yes, this is a one-man project – he wrote the tunes, played and sang everything, recorded the album, produced it and snapped the photos for the album cover artwork as well.

It’s an admirable ambition to present your unique artistic vision – whether it’s music, film, canvas, whatever – without diluting it with creative compromise by bringing collaborators into the picture. And Grutka comes pretty damn close to pulling it off with this disc.

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