He plays "betwixt the cracks in the piano," can scat the blues three notes at once and has invented his own guitar technique he calls "scribbling." Doing amazing tricks with timing, timbre, tempo and pitch that no one can hope to imitate and reinventing himself nightly, Baby Gramps returns to Astoria for an 8 p.m. performance Saturday, Oct. 2 at the River Theater, 230 W. Marine Drive.
Called "an amazing amalgamation of everything that anybody's ever heard," including Mississippi John Hurt, Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, Captain Beefheart, the Tuvan Throat Singers and Popeye, Baby Gramps has created a highly developed and completely original musical concoction some critics call the most intriguing synthesis to come out of the roots revival of the late 20th century.
Baby Gramps finger picks an old steel National guitar and sings in a wild, extemporaneous gravel vocal style with vocal rhythmic improvs and a guitar technique that borders on early ragtime. He combines early jazz, blues, ragtime, and good-time novelty music. Most important for Gramps is not his musical genius but the ability to have fun; and this is all pure delight for him.
Tickets are $12 at the door or $10 in advance at the River Theater's box office from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, online at www.rivertheater.com or at the Astoria Co-op, 14th and Duane streets. For information, call the theater at (503) 325-7487.