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October 11, 2012

"Haunting songs that spin Southern gothic yarns that resonate long after the music stops." - Jezebel Magazine

"A Critics' Pick. Pristine arrangements with no hint of excess; and their lyrics are pithy and interesting." - Nashville Scene

"Narrative arc songs that remind you of when alt-country was just country." - Fine Living Lancaster

Granville Automatic is Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins. The duo

write songs pulled from a shared love of history, horses and war.

Granville Automatic is named after a 19th-century typewriter: Vanessa is

a collector. With sonic references like Lyle Lovett, Gram Parsons,

Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson, Granville Automatic has created a

quiet and lyrical sound devoted to telling stories from the past. After

writing together first in the spring of 2009, the pair has more than 90

songs – almost all of which tell stories from history.


band's self-titled debut studio album was recorded at The Station House

in Echo Park, Los Angeles, with producer Ted Russell Kamp. The record

features 11 songs including “Comanche” (about the horse who survived

the Battle of Little Big Horn), “Hazel Creek” (about a town flooded when

the TVA built Fontana Dam), “Blood and Gold” (the story of the

mustang), “The Groundskeeper” (about a Civil War ghost seen at Carnton

Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee), “Flying Mercury” (about the

19th-century Pepin&Breschard Circus), "Carolina Amen" (about a

solider lost in the Civil War battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse),

“Copenhill” (about Sherman’s burning of Atlanta) and “Shores of

Maryland” – as well as live favorites “Never On A Sunday”, “Tacoma Coal

Line” and “Don’t Come to Tennessee”. The studio band included Kamp on

bass, drummer Jim Doyle, guitarist/pedal steel player John Schreffler,

Jr. and Bethany Dick-Olds on fiddle and vocals. Legendary harmonica

player Mickey Raphael also joined in.

But the band's very

first release was "Live from Sun Studio", an eight-song set recorded

live at Memphis’ historic Sun Studio, and released as an iTunes

exclusive January 31, 2012.

The band has appeared on the PBS

television programs "Sun Studio Sessions" (airdate spring 2012) and

"WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour" (airdate fall 2012) - as well as

Nashville Public Radio's "Live at the Bluebird Cafe".

Chosen as

the 2012 Composers in Residence at Seaside, Fla.’s prestigious Escape

to Create program, the pair spent the month of January in residence,

where they wrote “An Army Without Music: Civil War Stories from

Hallowed Ground.” Their multimedia presentation premiered to a capacity

crowd at the Seaside Repertory Theater, and the girls are in

negotiation to take this history-lesson-meets-concert to theaters

nationwide. Many of the new songs will become the duo’s third album,

which will be recorded in fall 2012 on location at the battlefields in

the field recording style of John and Alan Lomax. The pair has

partnered with the Civil War Trust to secure recording onsite, and to

organize a concert tour of the battlefields after the album’s release in

2013. For more information on this project, visit

Over the last year, Granville Automatic has played more than 250 tour

dates, including shows at Hotel Café in Los Angeles, the Tin Angel and

World Café Live in Philadelphia, The Bitter End and The Living Room in

New York City, Momo’s in Austin, Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta and the

Bluebird Café in Nashville. They have also played BMI’s Acoustic Lounge

in Los Angeles and appeared on Nashville’s 103 WKDF radio, Mississippi

Public Broadcasting’s Thacker Mountain Radio and NBC Atlanta’s Morning


They have performed at SXSW, the CMA Music Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival and the Key West Songwriters Festival.

Acoustic demos from the band led to a third prize win in Spin

Magazine’s Next Great American Road Song contest, a top 10 finalist

placement in the Maurice Small Town Sounds competition, a finalist nod

in USAA’s GarageBand Playoff and a Top 50 finish in the Wildflower

Performing Songwriter Competition.

Both girls have a history in

the music business: Vocalist/songwriter Olivarez wrote and recorded a

Top 10 single in Canada, has three cuts on Sugarland records, including a

song on their multi-platinum Enjoy the Ride album, and received a Dora

nomination for her work in the Toronto production of Hairspray. She was

also a finalist on the second season of American Idol.

Guitarist/songwriter Elkins is a Grand Prize winner of the John Lennon

Songwriting Contest who has showcased at the Billboard/BMI Acoustic

Brunch at SXSW, at BMI showcases in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville,

and at CMJ. Elkins’ songs have appeared on television programs from

“Smallville” to “Rescue Me”, “Jersey Shore” to CNN and in the film “Mean

Girls 2”.

Balancing lives between Atlanta and Nashville, the

two co-write frequently across the States for other artists – including

collaborations with Nashville’s top country and pop writers and some of

the best pop and urban writers in Atlanta, New York City and Los

Angeles. A pop song they co-wrote was recently heard on ABC’s “The Lying


One of the best bits about this music critic gig is watching gifted

artists get better and better.

Ted Russell Kamp has long been making good solo records around his gig

as the bassist for Shooter Jennings, with his most recent LP Poor Man’s

Paradise being particularly strong. So it’s a pleasure to report that

Get Back To the Land may be even better.

The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s sixth solo record

essentially works the same groove as his prior work, with blues, jazz

and pop strains laced through a base of early 70s country rock. The

difference is that his songsmithery is simply tighter and more tuneful

than before, and that’s saying something. From the jaunty barrelhouse of

“Aces&Eights,” the burning blues of “Time is a Joker” and the

sardonic C&W of the title track to the sparkling jangle of

“California Wildflower,” the anthemic roots rock of “God’s Little Acre”

and the soulful balladry of “(Down at the) 7th Heaven,” Kamp simply

knocks one ball after another out of the park. Clichés become new ideas

in Kamp’s mind (see the excellent “Half Hearted” for a perfect example),

melodies find a comforting home in his hands, strings and horns and the

singing couldn’t be any more personable and heartfelt. Saturated in

talent and sincerity, Get Back To the Land is nothing more than good

music done right.

- Michael Toland, 4/28/11

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