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Thu 2 Oct 2008, 8:00pm

Where: Sammy's, 65 Crawford St, Dunedin, Otago

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  • Adult: $20.00
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Listed by: Simon Vare

Galesburg and Palomino Agency present . . . The Willard Grant Conspiracy!

Willard Grant Conspiracy is the musical collective that surrounds songwriter Robert Fisher. With their last five records and their brand new album, Pilgrim Road, the band has quietly gone about putting together one of the
most impressive catalogues in the alt/country / post punk-folk rock genres. The records have been met with critical acclaim and have been included in many critical best-of lists.

Willard Grant Conspiracy was formed by accident in 1995 by Robert Fisher and Paul Austin, while helping fellow band member Dana Hollowell test his new home studio. Robert and Paul had played in numerous bands from 1982 forward and had developed a writing partnership that would last until 2001.

Their previous efforts had all shared a singular love of strong songs and unusual musical textures, though the end result was usually something that matched intensity with volume to purvey a more visceral musical vision.

With the birth of WGC, a more delicate, varied and considered sound began to unfold than before.

Using a wider collection of musicians and sounds to colour the music, rather than the traditional closed ranks a standard rock format allows, a newer yet no less intense version of the songs began to emerge.

The band has a loose configuration comprising of musicians from Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, London, Holland, and Japan who are involved as they are available depending on when the playing begins and where the tour ends.

But make no mistake--this is ensemble playing and a real band no matter how many participants are present. The current list of folks at one time or another considered part of the WGC roster is hovering around 30. A live show may be as diverse as Robert playing solo or having as many as 14 members, or any number in between, on stage at one time. Instruments include acoustic guitar, mandolin, pump organ, violin, cello, viola, piano, trumpet, drums, bass, accordion, electric guitar, and lap steel.

The sound can be as quiet and warm as 3am on a winter's morning before the last embers in the fireplace or as soulful and boisterous as a Sunday Morning Gospel service. The songs ring out with emotions born of personal experience and observation and are simultaneously universal and personal to every listener.

Currently based in the California desert where Robert lives, this flexible line-up, along with a dedication to improvisational playing, ensures that every show is truly unique.

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