Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rachel Grimes interview

Rachel Grimes is an amazingly talented pianist, best known for her work with the group conveniently called Rachel's. She is currently promoting her first solo record, and is playing tonight at 21C Museum Hotel. The concert begins at 7 p.m.; tickets are $12 at the door. She agreed to answer a few questions:

Where did you grow up? Is your family musical or artistic?
Grew up right here in River City - Prospect, Crescent Hill, Old Louisville, Highlands, now Clifton.

My brother is a fantastic drummer, and singer. He also plays vibes and guitar. He was with Seluah (SUCH a great record...), and recorded and toured with Rachel's. My father and his mother taught me so much about playing piano by ear, and all the wonderful early stride and show tunes. There were two pianos in the house - at times with four people charging ahead on "St. Louis Blues". My mother is music lover and a closet pianist (I know this having walked in the house unbeknownst...).

What is your musical background / training?
I played by ear until I started lessons in first grade. Not the best student - I preferred to just play movie theme songs than to practice my lessons. In high school I finally got in the groove of really working on Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin. I went to the University of Louisville School of Music and got a degree in composition. I played in bands since I was 16 - Lemonade Hayride, Hula Hoop, Rachel's, King's Daughters & Sons. Spent a lot of time at local shows over the years - what a treasure.

Who are your musical favorites/inspirations?

An impossible list... so many favorites, here are a few:
- would love to have heard live: Ellington and band, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Chopin, St. Columbe, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Evans
- so glad I heard live: Bjork, Kronos Quartet, Ralph Stanley
- how did their brain work?: Debussy, Bach, Stravinsky

What bands/projects are you currently involved with? How did you get
involved with them?

I have just helped to form, with Jane Halliday and Daniel Gilliam, "Hear + Now", a music series dedicated to local composers. Our first concert is being presented by 21C on Oct. 8th.
I am currently on tour with my solo record Book of Leaves, and will be playing a few shows with another pianist Sarah Cahill. We decided that even though we have never met, we ought to take the chance to play
some four hands music so we will be playing a Debussy piece called "Pour

I can't wait to get home and finish working on the King's Daughters & Sons record down at the Funeral Home. It has taken us a while due to schedules and life. We got together because we all knew each other from the lively, interconnected music scene and just had to make some songs and sing together. I have played with Kyle Crabtree before when he went on tour with Rachel's as the second drummer. Shared the bill with Joe Manning, and have recently put some backing tracks on a song of his, "Lately at a Lesser Table", part of the Karate Body White Belt split 7" series.

What do you hope to achieve with music?
I hope to translate honest feelings, textures, colors, imaginings through playing, writing and arranging and wish that the performance or recording will give the listener something unique, meaningful, and enjoyable.

Learn more at or

Rehearsal for Spring from on Vimeo.

Silent Retreat from on Vimeo.

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