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Funky Family from Iceland shine on CD
by Oona Woods, PIQUE NEWSmagasine. Jan 22, 1999

The Brothers Grames - Panos, Johannes and Dinos - and their basically unrelated drummer, Randall Stoll are coming to their favorite Whistler bar tonight, (Jan. 22nd ) to launch their latest CD, Strange Beautiful.

Which Bar?
The Boot, doncha know.
The independently produced album is the first result of their renewed togetherness.

"We're all involved in different projects but this is our main focus, it has been for the last six months or so," says Panos.

And what is their inspiration?

"well, its pretty much just about absolutely everything. It may sound flakey, but its just everything. There's tons of different kinds of music and no one real area. We listen to tons of jazz, classical, punk, lots of world music. That's a hard thing to describe, musically. We were all on a radio show recently (Co-op) and it was hard to answer that question. Our musical influences can come from books we're reading. Our drummer says William Dafoe is his biggest influence and he's not joking…well kind of"

Drummer Stoll is only related to the band through six degrees of separation, says Panos.
"That's one funny thing. We're all half Icelandic, and he plays with Lindy who is Icelandic, Tom Cochrane who's half Icelandic and kd lang, who is a quarter Icelandic."

Weird.

Everyone in the band is involved in songwriting, producing and arranging the album. Having family DNS on stage doesn't ensure success but in this case it has all come together. The melodies and funky tracks on Strange Beautiful are kept together by a near perfect harmonization and funky breaks that turn on a dime. Guitar solos take you into psychedelia and the musical message is soulful, positive, righteous and direct.

The first single off the album will be Shine, a two-play radio-friendly hit with a heart tugging sentiment behind it.

The Grames Brothers will be playing old hits, new hits and future hits in their favorite Whistler home, all night long. They have so much material that they are already working on a new CD. If you like grooving tunes they have enough to keep you sated.

Soundtrack to Our Lives CD Review
Grames Brothers - Strange Beautiful
Reviewed by: Marie Slade, The Slant

If you're in tune with what's happening on the music scene you may have already heard about The Grames Brothers new CD, Strange Beautiful. The band, comprised of three brothers who grew up in Secret Cove, is gaining widespread popularity. They are already well known on the Vancouver club circuit and are embarking on a tour of Washington, Oregon and California. A European tour is planned for the summer, and preliminary steps have been taken for making a video.

Strange Beautiful shows the amazing chemistry that can happen when family members play together. The songs explore a variety of styles including funk, jazz, blues, and pop while maintaining a cohesive and unique sound. Rhythmically, the Grames Brothers have an impressive ability to create original grooves. They are all strong musicians in their own right: you may remember Panos from People Playing Music and Johannes from his touring with Russell Jackson. Collectively, they have a remarkable knack for arranging songs. While the arrangements are full, they never lose their focus. They know when to play and when to hold back. These guys don't just wank their guitars to be heard; instead it is obvious that they listen to each other.

The song lyrics are refreshingly intelligent. Issues such as racism, empowerment, responsibility, and initiative are just some of the themes addressed in the songs with lyrics like "take a stand and shape the world" There is an ease and range to Panos' lead vocals.

He sings the edgier songs as well as, but different from, his ballads. And as often happens with siblings, Johannes', Dinos', and Kristos' backing vocals blend beautifully with their brother's.

The band, including the brothers and drummer Randall Stoll, is incredibly 'tight'-meaning together and solid. A Drop-D magazine reviewer wrote that they "confidently glide the stylistic space between Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz." While this is true, there are many other dimensions to their style that defy narrow comparisons. Strange Beautiful explores the potentials of many contemporary styles. This is a CD worth picking up.

I had a brief conversation with Panos Grames, and he asked that it be conveyed that the brothers still consider the Sunshine Coast to be their home. They now live in Vancouver to pursue their careers but they have not forgotten their roots. The Grames Brothers have tentatively scheduled a CD release party at the Roberts Creek Hall on February 20th. Strange Beautiful can be found at Radio Shack in Sechelt, at Novel Ideas in Roberts Creek, and at Universal Electronics in Gibsons.

Grames Brothers coming of age with "Strange Beautiful" music
Paul Andrew - Whistler Question
January 21, 1999

Just hours before the Grames Brothers' CD release party at The Gate nightclub in Vancouver Saturday, Panos Grames' relaxed mood almost sounds as though he was putting up his feet for the night to watch some videos.

The opposite couldn't be more true, because The Grames Brothers will launch their new CD, Strange Beautiful, on this night and Grames once and for all will cut his ties with People Playing Music, which Whistlerites should know well, having played many shows in the community during their five year career - not to mention the bands final show at The Boot Pub June 20.

Ironically, The Grames Brothers will have a CD release party this evening January 22nd at the same club. But the music will be much different as the CD reveals after only a few cuts. Strange Beautiful comprises radio-friendly, mainstream music. But it also has some hard rock, fat guitar solos--distinctly different from PPM.

Dinos, Johannes and Kristos Grames join Panos to legitimize the Grames Brothers name. Randal Stoll is the only non-sibling in the band. "People Playing Music was an offshoot of The Grames Brothers which dispersed in 1993. It was just one of those things that you know you have to do, but never really get around to doing," Grames said. "We all got caught up doing our own projects and did occasional gigs together, but no one actually said: "OK, this is going to be our focus". I don't know if you have ever been in that position where you have this thing you really wanted to do, and it made sense, but it never did. That's what happened to The Grames Brothers; and now we're getting down to it"

The wait was worth it. After several years of freelancing as a musician/writer, Grames vocals are smooth and sophisticated and a pleasure to hear, blending well with every genre of music contained in Strange Beautiful, which is also first class.

The debut of The Grames Brothers is light years ahead of any so-called "first release". And the CD deals with sensitive global issues such as the enviroment without being self-righteous or radical. Its just good music.

Grames strong family ties are obvious. And he is a pleasure to talk to because unlike other touring musicians coming through Whistler, PR is not necessarily the topic of conversation. But he does get back to the CD eventually. "I'm really happy with it. Anything that you do that's out there is good. The band opening for us tonight is called Calobo and we'll be touring with them in the States. The bottom line is that we have an album now and we want people to hear it. Its really nice to plant a seed and see if it grows.

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