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Grant Glad & the Soo Line Loons Releases New Concept Album “One Man’s Story”

Grant Glad holding a guitar

Last updated on January 8th, 2024 at 01:44 pm

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Duluth-based Americana singer and songwriter Grand Glad evokes midwestern nostalgia with his new album, “One Man’s Story.'”

The album is a concept record telling the tale of an everyday Midwestern man’s life over the course of 8 songs. Glad described the main character as an amalgam of the men that he grew up with in Minnesota.

“These songs tell their story, in the most honest way possible.” He said.

This album captures the little moment’s that make up a life; the first time going to deer camp at 13 (“Gunpowder at Dawn”), drinking stolen booze in a car at 16 with a high school sweetheart (“When It’s Gonna End”).

Returning from the Army on leave at 21 to find that all of your high school friends are already unrecognizable to you (“At Ease”), being stuck in your hometown bar on the night before Thanksgiving in your 30’s (“The Night Before Thanksgiving”), finding love (“Morningside”).

Taking the kids to hockey practice on New Year’s Day (“Gettin’ on Fine”), and spending every Friday night taking your wife dancing at the local VFW to keep that spark alive until the inevitability of old age finally catches up with one of you (“Dancing at the VFW”).

Listen to “One Man’s Story,” and check out our interview with Grant Glad below.

MIM: Tell us about the creation process of this project.

Glad: I approached this record as if it were a novel, I was influenced strongly by John Steinbeck, and began writing the album in the fall of 2020.

The idea for this project emanated from hopes to further explore the character from my song “Dancing at the VFW” I began working backwards from there until the story of the whole life was entirely fleshed out, I had to ask for help from friends to do justice to certain topics that I didn’t have much firsthand experience with. This happened on both the songs At Ease and Gettin’ on Fine.

For “At Ease”, I wanted to write about a military experience but wanted to avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with this topic, such as oversentimentality or political protest. To achieve this I recruited my friends Jon Attia and Matt Dumas, both military veterans, to help with the crafting of the song and ensure the result came out as honest as possible.

Whereas for “Gettin’ on Fine,” I asked local songwriter Sarah Morris to assist with writing about the day-to-day quiet love of a long-term marriage. What it’s like to have to take kids to practice on New Years Day, love your partner, go to work, and still find some time for yourself in there.

MIM: What does this project mean to you?

Glad: I know they say that “you have your whole life to write your debut album”, and while I agree that’s true; my debut album was nothing to write home about. I can objectively look back on it and say “yeah, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.” But that record did have “Dancing at the VFW” on it, and that was the first time I’d written a song that made me think “I can do this. I can write a song and make people feel something.”

But then, ultimately I squandered the promotion of that track because, again, I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I’m just rambling, but basically, I knew there was more to that story. I’m excited to expand on those characters on this record. I think there is such a quiet depth to people from where we are from, and I wanted to tell their story, because midwesterners aren’t prone to talk about ourselves too much.

MIM: Who are your biggest musical influences?

Glad: You know that phrase around that old Velvet Underground record from Brian Eno “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band”? That’s how I feel about Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern” and songwriters.

I think we are really starting to see the fruits of that tree with the recent rise of guys like Zach Bryan & Tyler Childers. I’m no different than anybody else, I was deeply inspired by that Isbell record and immediately dove deep into that world and anything like it I could get my hands on.

Following the through line back to guys like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, just a real focus on the words and the stories. Nowadays that is becoming a bit of a cliche, and I do think this bubble is going to pop soon, but I’m also inspired by all the other artists that are creating great stuff right now in this genre, like the Charles Wesley Godwin’s & the Bella White’s. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of a good story and 3 chords.

MIM: What inspires you to create music?

Glad: At this point, I’m doing this for my kids that I hope to have someday. I’m no longer disillusioned enough to believe I’ll “make it” in the traditional sense, my stuff just doesn’t seem to resonate with people in a way that would allow that. I’ve made my peace with with it. There was a time when I wanted to help people feel less alone with my music, because that’s what music always did for me, but now, it’s really just about having something cool to show my kids someday. They’ll probably think it’s super lame, their dad’s old records, but at least they’ll have a little piece of me to remember me by. Especially this record where I’ve interwoven so many family stories and characters from my life into it, I’m just honored that I can pass these stories on to the next generation.

MIM: What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self, or anyone who is pursuing a career in music?

Glad: It’s ok to fail. In fact, it’s a good thing. Keep f*****g up, but keep trying.

MIM: What can listeners look forward to from you?

Glad: Now that this record is out I have a backlog of songs that I’ve written over the past few years that weren’t a fit for this project, I’m going to start releasing those pretty soon here. Some are going to be an entirely new direction, and then me and the old band plan to go into the studio to record some more Soo Line Loons stuff. Then I’m getting married, and after that I’m probably done for a good long while.

MIM: Anything else you’d like to add?

Glad: Just wanted to let you all know that I am local, I’m from the Twin Cities area but recently moved up to Duluth.

Be sure to check out Grant Glad & the Soo Line Loons on Spotify.

Written by Angelo Ruelan

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