Michael Grimm proves he’s got talent
FOLOSM — With his soulful voice, trademark fedora and earthy, Southern manner, Michael Grimm charmed millions of viewers as a contestant on Season Five of NBC’s popular “America’s Got Talent.” Parlaying his substantial singer-songwriter appeal into a first-place finish, Grimm took home the $1 million prize and headlined the first-ever national America’s Got Talent Tour. Now he’s hitting the road with his Grimm’s Fairytale Tour, which tells the rollercoaster story of his life in song. Opening for Grim is Austin’s legendary Bill Carter.
Grimm’s Fairytale takes audiences on a powerful journey from Grimm’s childhood poverty, Southern Church upbringing and playing for hat tips at age 11, to winning the Country Christian Music Award’s “Star of Tomorrow” at age 17. He moved to Vegas to perform in Legends in Concert and later won the coveted $1 million first-place prize of NBC TV’s then most popular music reality show, “America’s Got Talent,” all while keeping his promise to build his grandparents who raised him a home after theirs was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Grimm was raised by his grandmother, who played country classics from the likes of Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, George Jones and Ray Price. When he was 11, he started playing for hat tips at a local club. At 17, he released “John Wayne and Jesus,” which garnered him the first-ever Country Christian Music Association “Star of Tomorrow” Covenant Award.
At age 21, after transitioning to blue-eyed soul, Grimm moved to Las Vegas to perform in Legends in Concert, also working with some of music’s biggest producers and stars. Then, in 2005, his life was changed forever when Hurricane Katrina decimated his hometown of Waveland and forced his grandparents into a FEMA trailer. All he wanted to do was find a way to help them.
Enter “America’s Got Talent.” In the spring of 2010, Grimm auditioned for the show, which debuted in June. His tremendous talent and genuine emotion over his grandparents’ loss (he promised to build them a home if he won) resonated with 4 million-plus viewers, who voted him the winner in the most talented year ever after his roof- raising rendition of “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Immediately, despite his humble and self-taught roots, a fedora-wearing super-star was born.
In the spring of 2011, Grimm debuted his first major label release, the self-titled “Michael Grimm.” Working with Grammy-award winning producer Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Elton John, B.B. King), Grimm released an album that had his fans purchasing it in droves. “Oh, it’s swampy,” he said. “It’s Michael Grimm leaving his hat on. This is me. It’s the way I’ve always been since I was a teenager, wearing hats and singing the music that I love to sing.”
The album featured some legendary talent, including Ann Wilson (Heart), Ian McLagan (Faces, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer), Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello, Cracker) and Greg Leisz (Avenged Sevenfold, The Eagles). Kenny Aronoff, who’s earned 30-plu Grammy nominations, played drums with the legendary Waddy Wachtel on guitar.
Following his win and the release of his debut major label CD, which charted at No. 14 on Billboard, Grimm played venues across America while keeping his new home in Las Vegas. Among many others, he headlined the Jimmy Rodgers Festival in Meridian, Miss., Rockin’ the Bay in Gulfort, and the Harborfest in Bay St. Louis, and became the first-ever resident headliner at the popular Ovation Showroom at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas (transitioning from there to Rocks at the Red Rock Resort in late 2012).
In June 2012, in response to fans wanting more recorded music, Grimm self-released a fun summer CD entitled “Gumbo.” Now he’s touring the country sharing his amazing story.
Opening the evening for Grimm is Bill Carter who has been a pillar of the Austin music scene for decades. More than 200 artists have found gold in his songwriting, including legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Counting Crows and Waylon Jennings. His lineup has hosted some of the world’s greatest musicians, from guitarists Charlie Sexton and Denny Freeman (Bob Dylan’s band), to Mike Thompson (The Eagles), to musician/actor Johnny Depp. He is also a founding member of the famed Hollywood band “P” with Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, Johnny Depp and Sal Jenco.
Grimm in his Grimm’s Fairytale Tour will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22. Tickets are $19 to $29 with premium seats available for $39; students with ID get in for $15. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.