Grant Gordy

Musicians with the talent, perseverance and passion to develop a personal style that impacts a whole field of music only come along a few times a generation.

Meet Grant Gordy.

Being asked to assume the guitarists’ role in the fabled David Grisman Quintet, a spot previously held by such guitar notables as Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Frank Vignola and Mike Marshall, has firmly established Gordy as one of the preeminent young voices on guitar. Just ask his boss, David Grisman, who says Gordy “belongs to the new elite of American acoustic practitioners who are pushing the ever-expanding envelope of a musical frontier.”

Born in Oregon, raised on his father’s roots and blues guitar playing, Gordy was drawn to the guitar early on as a means of personal expression and intellectual curiosity. Moving to Colorado as he entered his 20s opened his musical horizons as he began playing innumerable gigs with local musicians in a wide range of different styles.

Ask Grant Gordy how he was drawn to this career and you get a very direct answer. “I always want to play music. Nothing else appealed to me as much in life as playing guitar and exploring all the things that make it so great and fun,” he reminisces. “My Dad gave me a guitar for my 13th birthday, and I couldn’t put it down.” As he reached his 20s, Grant focused squarely on developing himself as a consummate professional musician. “My goal was to make a living playing music and pay the bills,” he explains. “That experience shaped me and gave me a very formative perspective on being a professional musician.”

Indeed, unlike many others of his generation who were content to remain in one style, Gordy fervently pursued guitar knowledge in nearly all genres. He’s spent his practice and performing hours learning the language of bebop and the standards of jazz, soaking up the high lonesome sound of bluegrass music, investigating classical composers like Béla Bartók and Bach, learning the rhythms of distant Mali alongside West African musicians, doubling lines on electric with the pedal steel guitarist in honky-tonk bands.

This versatility gives Grant Gordy the ability to fit into any number of musical ensembles, whether it’s backing up a singer-songwriter, holding down the guitar chair in a jazz group, creating his own unique blend of progressive acoustic music as the flatpicker with the Grisman Quintet and in his own band, or working in studio sessions to create the perfect guitar part. 

His work has been widely recognized for its consistent excellence and diversity. He was featured on the covers of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Japan’s premier bluegrass magazine, Moonshiner. He was recently written up in Just Jazz Guitar and in 2010, Acoustic Guitar Magazine celebrated his debut CD in its Top Ten Acoustic Albums of the Year.

Gordy’s music has captured the ears of major broadcasters and he’s been heard on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and the prestigious Tiny Desk Concerts. Gordy was selected in 2006 to be one of 15 participants in Carnegie Hall’s “Porous Borders of Music” workshop, led by acoustic music legends Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall. He’s played at Bonnaroo Music Festival, the Montréal Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco and in the UK and Russia.

Now based in New York, Gordy’s diverse musical gifts make him the ideal all-around guitarist for one of the world’s most varied musical cities. He’s currently focused on writing new original material, delving headlong into the Big Apple’s extraordinary jazz scene, continuing to tour with Grisman and other collaborators, teaching, and as always, staying open to new musical experiences.