WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY

Willard Grant Conspiracy (DMC & Robert Fisher)

Untethered (2018)

Ghost Republic

Paper Covers Stone

Pilgrim Road

Let It Roll

There But For The Grace Of God

Regard The End

Originally based in Boston, Willard Grant Conspiracy has expanded and contracted over the years to include members from all corners of the US and Europe. The first album, “3am Sunday at Fortune Otto’s” was recorded, before the band had a name and was “formed”, by a loose group of friends. When it was finished, it was released on the band’s own label and the German label Glitterhouse agreed to distribute the record thru their mail order catalog in Europe as well as include a song on one of their label compilations.

 

The resulting interest, allowed the band to do a few shows in Europe and when it became time to release a second album, “Flying Low” the record was picked up by the Slow River label and distributed by Rykodisc in the US and Europe.

 

This gave the band, with help from the Seattle band The Walkabouts who allowed them to support Chris and Carla on the “Swinger 500” tour, the chance to do their first European tour. This friendship has resulted in many tours and cross pollination of the bands over the years; Chris and Carla have both appeared on WGC records and in concert and Paul, after marrying their drummer and leaving WGC, has played bass with The Walkabouts. There is a live recording called “The Green Green Grass of Slovenia”, recorded in Ljubljana at the end of a Walkabouts led tour and available on Glitterhouse records, that features almost all the members of both touring bands.

 

“Flying Low” was followed a year later by the album “Mojave”. “Mojave” intentionally stretched the edges of the band sound and included some of the bands most enduring songs like “The Work Song”, “Love has no Meaning” (featuring Edith Frost) and “Another Lonely Night”. Another year of touring, including the US and Europe, and even more writing brought the band home to record “Everything’s Fine”. It would be the last record for Slow River, with the parent company Rykodisc being absorbed by another label.  “Everything’s Fine” allowed the band to tour in earnest.

 

“Regard the End”, was the band’s first release on Glitterhouse (Europe), Loose Records (UK and France) and Kimchee (US). Including songs like “Soft Hand” and “Suffering Song”, the record was well received and resulted in Uncut magazine including it in a decade round up of the most influential records, at the end of 2010.During the recording, Paul Austin left the band, resulting in a move to Seattle where he would begin playing in his own projects and become an important part of The Walkabout family of musicians.

 

The album “Let it Roll” was recorded in Holland and Ljubljana. The band had written a group of songs that they played during a five week tour before taking the collection into the studio. The record was recorded as live as possible and reflects the sound of a band used to touring and playing together. Besides the epic title track, the album includes favorites like the anti-war ballad “ From a Distant Shore” and “Mary of the Angels”.Over the years of touring, Robert had become friends with the Scottish composer Malcolm Lindsay. Malcolm suggested that he would be interested in working together on a project for the band. One wet Welsh night, while Robert was visiting the brilliant Jackie Leven at a recording session for the album “Elegy for Johnny Cash”, Malcolm played the two a live recording of one of his compositions, played by The Moscow String Quartet.  Hearing this music gave Robert the idea that they might compose a record together using the instrumentation represented in the band along with the orchestral instruments Malcolm had been using in his compositions.

 

A year later, the result of the collaboration is the album “Pilgrim Road”. The tour for “Pilgrim Road” would be the most ambitious the band had ever tried to execute. Twelve musicians onstage, including horns and strings along with a grand piano, to augment the regular band instrumentation. The song “Vespers” is a highlight on the record and was the last song composed for the recording. Darkly moving and elemental, the song is sung over a bed of mournful strings.

 

With the huge undertaking the tour for Pilgrim Road represented in the background, the band scaled back and began touring more in a stripped down style, closer to the original instrumentation.  These intimate but no less intense shows prompted Loose to ask the band to record something similar to the live sets they had been doing.

 

This request led the band to record the album “Paper Covers Stone” with new versions of old songs being mixed with new. The record was recorded in a weekend and was intended to reflect the loose configuration of a live set. There was no “set list” for this recording and the songs are played and presented in the order they were recorded.

 

This brings us to the recording of “Ghost Republic”.  Done over a period of a year, the recording is a celebration of the working and playing relationship between Robert and David Michael Curry, the band’s long time viola player. All the instruments were played between the two musicians and the album, inspired by the friendship between the two, is the most intuitive of all of the records. They hope to be able to bring it to life in venues during the fall and winter of 2013/2014. “Ghost Republic” will be available in September of 2013.

 

Over the years, the list of people who have toured or recorded the music of the Willard Grant Conspiracy has become lengthy. The original band never had a set line up, like more traditional bands; the records often contain the credit “if someone tells you they played on this, they probably did.”

 

This decision to keep flexibility and change as an important part of the musical life of the band, allowed the members to move in and out of orbit, as needed. The band and the music has been enhanced and informed by the influences and generosity of all the musicians who have been a part of the effort. In live venues, both the audience and the band share in the rewards of never hearing the same set or versions of a song twice. On record, the band strives for a sound that closely matches the inspiration contained in the live set. It is often said that the best music is made when musicians are not afraid to listen. Knowing when not to play becomes as important as knowing when and what to play. It is between these margins, where these decisions are made, that we hear the inspiration of the players.

 

WGC hopes they have captured some of those moments along the way.

Click individual images to download hi-res version

Untethered

Willard Grant Conspiracy - Untethered

Click image to download hi-res version

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Untethered

Release date: 7 December 2018

Catalogue no.: VJCD245

Formats: CD / Digital / Heavyweight LP with download

1. Hideous Beast
2. Do No Harm
3. All We Have Left
4. 26 Turns
5. Chasing Rabbits
6. Let The Storm Be Your Pilot
7. Love You Apart
8. Margaret On The Porch
9. Saturday With Jane
10. Two Step
11. I Could Not
12. Share The Load
13. Untethered

14. Trail’s End

 

Ghost Republic

Willard Grant Conspiracy - Ghost Republic

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Ghost Republic

Release date: 6 September 2013

Catalogue no.: VJCD211

Formats: CD / Digital / Heavyweight LP with download

1. Above The Treeline
2. Perry Wallis
3. Parsons Gate Reunion
4. The Only Child
5. Ghost Republic
6. Rattle And Hiss
7. Take No Place
8. Good Morning Wadlow
9. Piece Of Pie
10. The Early Hour
11. Incident At Mono Lake
12. New Year’s Eve
13. Oh We Wait

Paper Covers Stone

paper covers stone willard grant conspiracy

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Paper Covers Stone

Release date: 28 August 2009

Catalogue no.: VJCD188

Formats: CD / Digital

1. Soft Hand
2. Skeleton
3. Scars
4. Vespers
5. Ghost Of The Girl In The Well
6. Mary Of The Angels
7. Preparing For The Fall
8. Fare Thee Well
9. Painter Blue
10. No Such Thing As Clean
11. From A Distant Shore
12. Lady Of The Snowline
13. The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me

Pilgrim Road

Pilgrim Road - Willard Grant Conspiracy

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Pilgrim Road

Release date: 1 January 2008

Catalogue no.: VJCD179

Formats: CD / Digital

1. Lost Hours
2. The Great Deciever
3. Jerusalem Bells
4. The Pugilist
5. Phoebe
6. Miracle On 8th Street
7. Painter Blue
8. Malpensa
9. Water & Roses
10. Vespers
11. The Great Deceiver (Reprise)

Willard Grant Conspiracy

Let It Roll - Willard Grant Conspiracy

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Let It Roll

Release date: 27 March 2006

Catalogue no.: VJCD162

Formats: CD / Digital / Vinyl

1. From A Distant Shore
2. Let It Roll
3. Dance With Me
4. Crush
5. Flying Low
6. Skeleton
7. Breach
8. Mary Of The Angels
9. Ballad Of A Thin Man
10. Lady Of The Snowline

There But For The Grace Of God

There But For The Grace Of God - Willard Grant Conspiracy

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: There But For The Grace Of God

Release date: 25 October 2004

Catalogue no.: VJCD154

Formats: CD / Digital

1. Morning Is The End Of The Day
2. The Ostrich Song
3. Child’s Prayer
4. Bring It Down
5. Bring The Monster Inside
6. Evening Mass
7. St. John Street
8. Rain Birds
9. The Work Song
10. Another Lonely Night
11. I Miss You Best
12. Love Doesn’t
13. Sticky
14. Christmas In Nevada
15. Ballad Of John Parker
16. The Trials Of Harrison Hayes
17. Dig A Hole

Regard The End

Willard Grant Conspiracy - Regard The End

Artist: Willard Grant Conspiracy

Title: Regard The End

Release date: 26 May 2003

Catalogue no.: VJCD142

Formats: CD / Digital / Heavyweight LP with download

1. River In The Pines
2. The Trials Of Harrison Hayes
3. Beyond The Shore
4. The Ghost Of The Girl In The Well
5. Twistification
6. Another Man Is Gone
7. Soft Hand
8. Rosalee
9. Fare Thee Well
10. Day Is Passed And Gone
11. The Suffering Song

UNTETHERED (2018)

“a defiant adios from a sometimes underappreciated but often extraordinary talent”
9/10
UNCUT

REGARD THE END re-issue (2016)

“Americana masterpiece”
★★★★½
UNCUT (December 2016)

UNCUT’S 150 GREATEST ALBUMS OF THE DECADE (2010)

“if this is the end of the world as we know it, you’ll feel just fine”
★★★★★
ALBUM OF THE MONTH
UNCUT (July 2003)

“a masterpiece”
TIME OUT

“Like an ambitious version of the Scud Mountain Boys, they manage to appear out of nowhere in your living room, play an intimate set, and invoke every ghost from a 20-mile radius through your front door before leaving as quickly as they came”
★★★★
ALL MUSIC

“For an album so completely preoccupied with death, Regard the End is curiously life-affirming.”
ANDREW MUELLER

“a defiant adios from a sometimes underappreciated but often extraordinary talent”
9/10
UNCUT

GHOST REPUBLIC (2013)

“when it comes to intriguing, intense and wonderful music they are hard to beat”
FATEA

“a haunting, remarkable record which grips you like the living dead”
THE LINE OF BEST FIT

“At times hushed and poetic, at others dizzyingly huge and squalling”
MOJO

“This is an absolutely blindingly brilliant album. Compelling, fascinating, beautiful and harsh.”
SONG BY TOAD

★★★★
SCOTTISH DAILY EXPRESS

“possesses a great almost funereal power and songs with stark beauty”
★★★★½
PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH

★★★★
THE SUN

“It’s beautiful, stark and a remarkable achievement in poetry and song.”
FOLK RADIO

“This is beautiful, beautiful music… Ghost Republic is a dark atmospheric masterpiece.”
FAMOUS LAST WORDS

“At times it resembles the super-eight soundscapes of the Dirty Three… a contemporary take on the dustbowl, with the humanity of Steinbeck and the visual eye of Ansel Adams”
★★★★
AMERICANA UK

“Understatedly poetic and expertly crafted, this is a fine record”
BEARDED MAGAZINE

UNTETHERED (2018)
REGARD THE END re-issue (2016)
GHOST REPUBLIC (2013)
Willard Grant Conspiracy - Regard The End
Willard Grant Conspiracy - Ghost Republic
Pilgrim Road - Willard Grant Conspiracy
Let It Roll - Willard Grant Conspiracy
There But For The Grace Of God - Willard Grant Conspiracy