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Grant Wallace Band has an extra spark

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UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 3:49 pm   ::  

Grant Wallace Band is a project of protean Chicago composer-performers and doctoral students in music at Northwestern University — Ben Hjertmann (voice), Chris Fisher-Lochhead (viola), and Luke Gullickson (piano). Named for an esoteric California artist who practiced interstellar telepathic communication in an isolated cabin, Grant Wallace Band is weaving a fresh, diaphanous sound from threads of indie rock, experimental jazz, folk and bluegrass. The group’s composer and pianist, Luke Gullickson, is a Cedar Rapids native, Washington High School graduate and son of Cathy and Marc Gullickson.

The details


He’s been all over since leaving Iowa for school, including a master’s degree in Texas, a stint working as a wilderness guide in New Mexico and a long residency at an artists’ colony in the Canadian Rockies, which is where he originally began plotting the band.

Sprung from Chicago’s new music scene, these conservatory-trained musicians banded together to blend their diverse musical interests and create songs based on folk and jazz streams that maintained both the compositional integrity and eclectic palette they learned in their studies of classical and contemporary music. Most recently, Steve Smith of the New York Times described their sound as “spidery original bluegrass.”

An extra spark comes from an affinity for outsider artists, including the band’s namesake, a California artist who drew structural diagrams of the universe based on professed telepathic communications with beings from other star systems.

Since its debut, the band has charmed and surprised Chicago audiences at venues, including Uncommon Ground, the Gallery Cabaret, Opera Cabal and Northwestern University. Its first album is currently in production.

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