Aug. 12: Grace Pettis

w/Chatham Street  


 "Having recently witnessed Grace on stage and heard her perform material from her debut album as well as yet to be recorded compositions, I can attest that Grace weaves words and melodies into memorable songs with a regularity that you'd only expect from a seasoned troubadour."  -Arthur Wood, Maverick Magazine

On this August evening, we're pleased to present a real gem of a singer-songwriter, Grace Pettis.  I first came across Grace by chance, when I was in Houston last fall and looking for some music to hear.  She was playing the Mucky Duck with Billy Crockett (of Blue Rock Studios) on guitar and vocals, and Dirje Smith on the cello. (I'm always a sucker when a cello gets thrown into the mix.)  I was blown away, and immediately asked her to play for my yet-to-be initiated house concert series.

On this occasion, she'll have a couple of instrumentalists backing her up, and this is one you will not want to miss.  Grace Pettis is going places.  Just listen to this song from her album, or take a look at this video (with Billy and Dirje):

Indeed, in her short career, Grace has already built a reputation as a respected songwriter among artists, industry, and fans. While a senior in college, in 2009, she released her self-titled debut album recorded at the renowned Blue Rock Studio in Wimberley, TX. After releasing her album she splashed onto the music scene winning NPR’s Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, where her, "Nine to Five Girl" was selected for the Best Song award.

Grace carried this momentum when she performed as an Official Showcase Artist, at the 2010 International Folk Alliance conference, where she captured the attention of presenters and radio programmers as a young standout. Later that spring Grace won the Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest Grand Prize, and the People's Choice award.

She then went on to join the Storyville Coffee "Freedom Tour" across the US with Willie Porter, David Wilcox, and Pierce Pettis. She then continued to tour in various formats from solo shows, performances with her legendary songwriting father Pierce Pettis, to trio performances with her producer Billy Crockett and cellist Dirje Smith. Her recent successes include a win at the 2011 Kerrville New Folk Contest, an Official Show Case at the 2012 New Music Seminar and a hugely successful fundraising campaign in which her fans contributed $32k toward the making of her new album, currently in production at Blue Rock Studio.

Grace’s fans highly anticipate her second album, scheduled to be ready in the summer of 2012. In the meantime Grace will be touring across the country, singing her heart out and making friends. She knows how.

Opening for Grace will be Chatham Street, which hit the music scene with their debut CD, “Last One Out”, in October of 2010.  Nine months later, they'd received 13 songwriting awards and placements for four of those songs, and “Over Now” was picked up in Nashville for possible movie placement.  In the past six months, they’ve been invited to perform in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, California and more. They've opened for John McCutcheon, Catie Curtis, Scott Ainslie, Tom Prasada-Rao, and shared the stage with countless performers.  

Although “Chatham Street” is only a couple of years old, husband and wife, Peter and Christal Prout, have been playing music for years. Taking the name of the street they lived on in Detroit, “Chatham Street” was formed when Christal decided to pen her own songs as “therapy for so much loss in such a short time”.  And, apparently she has found her calling. Their sound has been called "New Americana" and carries multiple musical influences, from old-time gospel, bluegrass, rootsy-folk, yet has the edginess of the contemporary rock and pop music they grew up with. Christal’s vocals are a cross between Celtic and southern “down-home”, and they soar over Peter’s tasteful vintage guitar, sounding just like her Scottish-Appalachian heritage. Together, they are a magical and refreshing combination. Songs have continued to pour out and, in less than a year, dozens more have been written. 

The second CD, "All That Mattered”, was released on September 10, 2011.  The first track on the CD, "White Liar", has already claimed the title of "Finalist" for the 2011 Worldwide Singer Songwriter Contest, "These Days" is a finalist in the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest, and "The Gate" has been signed on for commercial placement.