So why ain't this guy a star? David Shepherd Grossman has been the definition of a working musician for going on 20 years now. The guy literally plays 30 shows a month; there's hardly a night of the week you can't catch him gigging somewhere around the Valley. His song portfolio lists something like 300 originals and a seemingly endless collection of covers. As a recording artist, he has released more than 10 albums, and he's been raved about in all manner of publications, including this one. His shows regularly shift gears from funny little musings about life at the 7-Eleven (sung to the tune of "Stairway to Heaven") to somber contemplations like "Jesus Wept." Grossman's work is being celebrated Wednesday, June 7, when Alice Cooper'stown hosts the official release party for The Complete Works of David Shepherd Grossman: The Boxed Set, which takes us from 1983 to the present. His earliest recordings came when he was still in his teens. They reveal an artist in the formative stage who already had a clear sense of how to put a feeling across. His voice has always had a somewhat mournful quality but adapts nicely to any sort of material. He is a human jukebox who can mimic just about anyone's voice, including Bob Marley, James Taylor and Paul McCartney. Just ask him; he'll take the challenge.
Not every dude with a stool and a guitar would bother to print up a "Music Menu" to hand out at his shows. This 24-page book contains all the song titles that he has under his belt and in his cranium for the crowd to request. Besides listing his own material, the book features an eclectic collection of titles ranging from the expected (Dylan, Paul Simon, James Taylor) to the unusual (Tom Waits, Joe Jackson, Lyle Lovett) right up to the weird (Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction, Kermit T. Frog).
After a recent show at the Coffee Plantation, I asked whether it bothers him after all these years to perform covers while he has such a large body of his own work.
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"Not at all," Grossman says. "I hope to be entertaining enough that I can earn the trust of the people listening. When I feel that is achieved, then I can spring songs I wrote or songs by other obscure artists that fit the situation."
A lot of Grossman's fans and friends will be at the party Wednesday. On the bill are local bands Honey Child and One Foot in the Grave, as well as herniated Scotsman Barry Graham. Emcee duties will be in the large hands of Sonoran Grill guru Mad Coyote Joe.
David Grossman's release party is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Alice Cooper'stown, 101 East Jackson. For details call 602-253-7337.