Baby Gramps, Robert Armstrong team up for Palms show

Baby Gramps and Robert Armstrong will bring classic and highly original songs to The Palms on Friday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. Courtesy photo

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Baby Gramps is a humorously entertaining performer with a joyful energy and an endless repertoire who combines his deep knowledge of music and sense of fun into a performance style all his own. Baby Gramps will team up with multi-instrumentalist Robert Armstrong for a show at The Palms Playhouse on Friday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m.

Baby Gramps sings his own unique arrangements of rags, jazz and blues from the 20s and 30s as well as many originals full of wordplay, humor and palindromes. Gramps has an improvisational style and incorporates unusual techniques, such as occasionally chording his National Steel guitar with the back of his hand or elbow and even some throat singing. He is acknowledged as a highly influential musician, taking part in films such as “Streetwise” and “50 Feet of Film.”

When Johnny Depp and Hal Willner decided to produce an album of classic sea chanteys and ballads in conjunction with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, they included two songs by Baby Gramps in a compilation that also features Sting, Bono, Richard Thompson, Bryan Ferry, John C. Reilly, Loudon Wainwright III and more. Gramps toured Australia, England and Ireland as part of a tour supporting “Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys” along with Tim Robbins, Marianne Faithful, Lou Reed, Martin Carthy, Suzanne Vega, Ralph Steadman and many other internationally known performers. That tour, in turn, landed Baby Gramps his own spot on the David Letterman Show accompanied by Bob Dylan’s bandleader and bass player Tony Garnier.

Armstrong will join Baby Gramps at The Palms. He is a multi-instrumentalist with an emphasis on steel guitar, banjo, ukulele and musical saw. Known for his founding role in R. Crumb’s Cheap Suit Serenaders, Armstrong knows a deep catalogue of songs from the 1920s and ‘30s, especially in the genres of ragtime and early blues, and has a particular fondness for novelty songs. In addition to being a musician, Armstrong is an artist and cartoonist.

Tickets are $17 and are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online at The Palms’ website and at the door if not sold out.

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