Angels Camp, CA..(Frogtown, USA)…For years, Grover Anderson wrestled with his commitment to holding a day job. Always eager to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter, the desire to start and support a family landed one all-important notch higher on life’s priority list. For the last six years he’s been making both work—teaching high school English & drama in his small mountain town, building a devout local following, and touring the US in the summer. He released four albums and played in 23 states, yet still he wondered if he’d given short shrift to a dream. Then 2020 happened, and as he witnessed the hardships endured by career performers, Grover had never felt more fortunate to hold a secondary gig.
At the beginning of last year, Grover and his bandmate Josh Certo began mapping out songs for what was to be Grover’s fifth album. The intent was to use the recordings as a foundation on which their band, Grover Anderson & the Lampoliers, could collaborate through a busy year of gigs and rehearsals. When lockdown began, their project quickly changed directions—Grover, Josh, Marshall Henry, and Anthony Delaney recorded their parts in home studios, sharing tracks virtually to create a fundamentally different album.
All the Lies That I Have Told is a collection of small town stories. Written around a high-country campfire, in a Texas Uber, and amidst Wikipedia deep dives, the songs dig a little deeper than traditional rural clichés. “From a Golden State” is a diary entry from a metropolitan teen forced to move to a place where everyone already knows your story. The duet “Willie Nelson” follows recent divorcees prepping their answers for the same questions that everyone’s asking. Inspired by true crime stories from early 1900’s America, “Tom Horn” and “Man from the Train” explore the impact of heinous villainy on tight-knit communities. It’s not all dark and gloomy—“Backseat Chorus” developed on the twice-daily drive out a one-and-a-half lane road into town, and “Icarus” reflects on a family’s perseverance through tragedy. Two songs, considering the emptiness of infidelity (“In the Nighttime”) and the impact that free two-day shipping has on the worker who makes it possible (is “Amazon Song” too stark a title?), along with a honky-tonk cover of Swedish murder ballad “The Gardener”, round out the album.
The narrative lyrical content in All the Lies That I Have Told stands in stark contrast to
Grover’s autobiographical release The Frontman (named the #1 album of 2019 by IndependentClauses.com), but shares the genre-hopping breadth of 2014’s The Optimist, from which “Little Spoon”, “Grindstone”, and “Sick of You” continue to attract new fans. Those songs and others, like the 2011 surf duet “Moonshine”, have been streamed by over 650k people on Spotify and have found homes in 38k listener-made playlists. The variety of bands that he’s opened for (including America, Matt Stell, Birds of Chicago, and The Charlie Daniels Band) reflects the crossover appeal of his music, which folks have labelled folk, country, rock, and Americana. Grover doesn’t really care what folks call it as long as it moves them.
When distancing guidelines cleared his 2020 touring calendar, Grover began playing Pickup Truck Concerts, driving all over Northern California to play safely-distanced acoustic shows from the bed of his truck for folks in their driveways. People who’d loved shows with his band The Lampoliers developed a new appreciation for Grover’s assiduous songwriting and fanciful narratives at these small, modified house concerts. Grover played these shows through the end of 2020 and plans to continue them for a second season this year, in addition to a modest public schedule with The Lampoliers until live music reopens for good.
Grover lives in Murphys, CA with his wife Katie (also a high school teacher) and their two daughters. Grover will be playing at the Calaveras County Homecoming on Saturday May 15, 2021 at 6 p.m. on the main stage. The show is free with the price of admission.