Frontman Gunnar Nyblad promises ‘more goosebumps’ for West Michigan fans with this week’s homecoming and CD-release shows. Read the review and Local Spins interview, listen to a new song.
THE BAND: Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys
THE MUSIC: Country
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 7 p.m. Friday at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. (Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys also play The Machine Shop in Flint on Thursday and Ground Zero in Traverse City on Saturday.)
SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN TO “THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES”
Gunnar Nyblad calls it “the most beautiful piece of art” his band has ever created.
Recorded and produced in Nashville – Nyblad’s “home away from the farm” – Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys’ rousing new country album, “Good Rhythm,” reflects Michigan roots with Music City-styled flair.
The same could be said for Nyblad. While the guitarist and singer moved with his fiancée last summer to Nashville, the uber-popular Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys remains a Grand Rapids-based country outfit with a diehard regional following.
“The whole band is still living, working and hanging out in Grand Rapids,” he said. “It’s where we bank, hunt fish, park the van and file our taxes. The reason for my move was serendipity, or a natural flow of all these years becoming a country music singer. Since my first trip in 2007, Nashville captured my 19-year-old mind with new, challenging post-high school goals.”
Consider a couple of those goals accomplished.
Not only does Nyblad now spend a lot more time in Tennessee, but “Good Rhythm” was recorded and produced at Nashville’s Rukkus Room Recording Studios which boasts stars Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, John Prine and others as clients.
Released on Nov. 22, the album – the follow-up to 2014’s successful single, “Standard American” – also gave Nyblad the opportunity to collaborate with “prominent Nashville songwriters” such as Big Kenny Alphin of Big & Rich, who co-wrote the tracks “Heart of Dynamite” and “A Little’s Enough.”
“ ‘Good Rhythm’ is the most beautiful piece of art I have been a part of,” Nyblad said of the album that ranges from dynamic country to bluesy, rock-edged roots music. “Michigan grows the best apples, much like Nashville produces the best music. Capturing of the sound this time was at the same level that Alan Jackson gets his sound captured.”
Nyblad, 29, and his band – guitarist Shane Grehan, bassist Rob Mason, keyboard player and guitarist Chris Newberg and drummer Joe Connolly – will bring that amped-up sound back to Michigan for December shows that formally unleash their fifth album for home state fans.
CONNECTING WITH NEW FANS, REWARDING LONGTIME DEVOTEES
Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys play The Intersection in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. Friday, part of a three-day Michigan tour that also stops at The Machine Shop in Flint and Streeter Center’s Ground Zero in Traverse City. Tickets for the Grand Rapids show are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Get tickets and details online at sectionlive.com.
Nyblad said fans can expect “a new backdrop, the same band members and night full of entertainment. We have yet to sell out The Intersection, The Machine Shop or Streeters. We’re always right on the brink. … I’m confident the hometown fans won’t let us down. I’m most excited to play home, because these shows are family.
“I think of the new music as a gift or reward to our old fans for sticking with us through thick and thin. New fans are connecting with us every day with emails and messages about how diverse the record is. I think the shows will be full of more goosebumps.”
As 2017 approaches, the band expects to further expand what’s become a growing and devoted regional audience. The coming year includes a two-week tour to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, as well as shows in Colorado, Texas and Arizona (site of the Country Thunder music festival).
“The long-term goal for Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys is to stay together,” Nyblad insisted.
“It’s really tough to stay together for life with any relationship. I’m blessed to have talented, educated friends who have made the best business partners. I want to be a ‘Great American Band.’ Looking at history, that’s going to take a lifetime of being a band.”
AUDIO: Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, “These are the Good Times”
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC