Gramann likes songs that say something new or look at
something old in a new way – songs that make the listener focus,
reflect, and react. His songs aim for that spark of insight,
that “Aha!” of listener satisfaction. Current events and
human priorities give him ample material for reflection, humor,
and satire. Sing Out Magazine called him “witty and
insightful.” The Washington Post’s Eve Ziebart saw him as “a
where’s-my-Whole-Earth-catalogue sort of New Guy who’d rather be
kayaking than fighting the good lawn fight.”
During the past two decades, Gramann has earned respect as a songwriter, presenter, and guitar maker in central Virginia. He was voted Fredericksburg’s Best Acoustic Act for 1995 in the town newspaper’s poll. Gramann maintains his notoriety by performing songs with local historic settings and political barbs in Fredericksburg and throughout the mid-Atlantic states. He’s played at the Central Ohio Folk Festival as well as the prestigious Washington Folk Festival in Washington, DC. Among his honors are a surprise WAMMIE nomination and play on NPR’s Car Talk. His song “Sara Sing” is included on the FOCUS compilation Capitol Acoustics III CD.
Gramann makes the instruments he plays, and boasts a list of celebrity compliments for his steel string and classical guitars. He sells his handmade guitars through Picker’s Supply in downtown Fredericksburg, at the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, MD, at musician’s gatherings, and on his website. He branched out into banjos when he wrote a song that required banjo accompaniment.
| Five CDs of Gramann’s original songs (Mostly True Songs, That Squirrel
Song, See Farther in the Darkness, Granddad Planted Trees,
and ...Mostly Live) are
available in select record stores and from his website. The
most recent, ...Mostly Live,
was recorded at some of his concerts in 2008 and includes many of
the stories and introductions that accompany his songs.
An avid canoeist and conservationist, Gramann is especially proud that his musical urgings raise public awareness of river and environmental issues. Sometimes it is a long process. His song “Rappahannock Running Free” first called for the removal of an aging dam in 1993. It voiced the dreams of fishermen and paddlers since the dam was built. In February, 2004, Gramann had the honor of singing this song to a crowd of thousands just minutes before two major explosions breeched the dam’s foundation. “I performed for the world,” says Gramann of the CNN and network coverage of the event. The removal of the dam exposed 4 rapids, allowed the upstream migration of anadromous fish for the first time in 150 years, and demonstrated the power of folk music when coupled with plastic explosives.
|You can see Bob perform at the Friends of the
Rappahannock Concerts in Fredericksburg, infrequent restaurant
gigs, and sometimes at the Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase.
Although he's not avidly seeking gigs, he is available for
Bob and Peter Mealy founded the Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase in 1993. It is a monthly concert series featuring original acoustic music by Fredericksburg area, regional songwriters and "name acts", both resident and traveling through. The Showcase provides a forum for this exciting and creative art form. It offers a varied program on the last Friday of each month. After 20 years, Bob handed off the showcase to Tres Seaver at the end of 2013. For more information on the showcase, go to Tres Seaver's page.