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Gram Parsons

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Gram Parsons


What more can be said of the late, great Gram Parsons? He's been dubbed everything from "the inventor of Country Rock" to "the godfather of Alt Country" and "a goddamn pussy." (Those last words actually came from Merle Haggard.) Whatever your take on him is, Parsons can be credited for fusing the boogie strut of rock 'n' roll with sweet Soul melodies, uplifting Gospel-influenced harmonies and (above all) the broken hearted sentiment of country music. He influenced everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Eagles to Wilco and beyond. He called Waycross, Georgia his homeland and attributed his love for country music to his upbringing in the South. Parsons' earliest recordings were rooted in folk, however. After playing in a number of Kingston Trio sounding Folk Revival troupes, he tried his hand at some Fred Neil influenced Singer/Songwriter work before giving life to the International Submarine band, arguably the first electric Country Rock band. Soon after releasing the then innovative "Safe At Home" on Lee Hazlewood's LHI label, he was recruited by the Byrds to record "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" with them. He turned their country music flirtations in a new direction that crossed Nashville West with his International Submarine Band (If it were not for Roger McGuinn, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" might not have sounded like a Byrds record.) He then recruited the Byrds' Chris Hillman from to form the Flying Burrito Brothers, a rhinestone clad quartet of psychedelic Country Rockers. Parsons then abandoned ship to hang with the Stones, discover Emmylou Harris, and cut two prodigious solo albums that blended Bakersfield country influences with Boogie Rock and Honky-Tonk. Parsons died shortly after from a morphine 'n' tequila overdose in room #8 of the Joshua Tree Inn at the age of 26 without one hit single to his name.
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