Michael Grande

Michael Grandé is a phenomenal guitarist, known for his 5-finger picking technique, guitar flourishes, soft, gentle voice, and rapport with his audiences. His repertoire includes Western ballads, flamenco instrumentals and folk, pop and devotional songs. Much of what he plays are his own compositions. Michael Grandé grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and served in the Marines. In 1969 he played at Woodstock where he was invited to become a member of Richie Havens' band. In addition to Richie Havens, Grandé has performed around the world with many well-known artists, including Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, José Feliciano and Van Morrison, just to name a few. Several years ago he moved to Cochise County, Arizona, where he and his wife raise Arabian horses on a ranch near Tombstone.

Grandé has appeared at major performance venues all over the world. In the United States these include Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Central Park, Phoenix's Desert Sky Pavilion and Country Thunder, where he received three standing ovations from a crowd of 250,000.

Grandé's CD's are: "Hey Friend," "Small Things," "Especially For You"and "Forever." Violinist David Kaemmer, who has appeared with Grande at the Arizona Folklore Preserve, is one of the people who accompany Grandé on "Small Things" and "Especially For You." Other artists who perform with Grandé on "Small Things" are Mike Smith, pedal steel guitarist from the Gatlin Brothers, and Les Lumley, percussionist from the Miles Davis Band. In addition to Kaemmer and Smith, Tim West and P. deJardin join Grandé on "Especially for You." Hisnew CD "Forever" contains a mix of ballads and Grandé's virtuoso instrumentals.

The following is a review of Grandé's September 6, 2009, Folklore Preserve performance by Sierra Vista Herald columnist Richard Zoller.

Again, Grande is a guitar virtuoso

By Richard Zoller

The concert at the Ramsey Canyon Preserve on Sunday afternoon featured Michael Grande as the performing artist. I would not willingly miss any of his concerts.

His ability on guitar has fascinated me since the old days at the Moffat House. In fact, I am so enamored by his playing that I have characterized him in this column as the world’s most exciting acoustical guitarist. This concert reinforced that opinion.

Michael opened with a tribute to his wife, Diane, who has progressed from non-singer to very good backup and harmony vocalist. His overture was an exciting composition named ”Revelry” after Diane’s magnificent Arabian stallion (Diane has been breeding Arabian horses since long before she met Michael.) The music displays the stallion in all of his moods. The overture was fairly long. It ended as Michael broke   into a song, a tuneful story with a twist of humor, “The Lady from Baltimore.” Michael’s voice has a hint of huskiness that is appealing.

From that time forward the concert alternated between stories and music. Michael is a good storyteller and a marvelous accompanist to his own voice.
When he sings it is almost always a song that he has composed. His general style separates verses or parts of a song with a passage of guitar music. These ad lib choruses are always stimulating, harmonically involved, and executed with the scarcely believable five-finger picking for which he is famous. Still, the seemingly ad-lib passage leads seamlessly into he next vocal section.

Michael has written a lot of memorable songs. Among those most requested are “This Guitar is For Sale,” “Second-handDog” (Diane should be proud of her contribution to this one), “Midnight Bus,” an exciting recollection of early days on the road, “Monday Lover,” and “We Can Do that Now.”

The song that should be the theme song of the SPCA or all organizations whose purpose is to protect wildlife, “Man Walks Among Us.” This is a really fine song that gives us an inkling of the thoughts that animals might have about us.

The Grandes introduced us to Al Armenta. Al is a handler and horse trainer, who operates a riding academy. He also is involved in “Horses for Heroes,” which treats post-combat after-effects of veterans of all the services.

Michael Grande was asked to write a theme song for the “Heroes” organization. He did so, both lyrics and music, and sang it at the concert. It is an excellent song, and the organization is a boon to our veterans who have been injured serving our nation.