Daniel Grandbois is one of those genuine double threats: an accomplished musician with three bands and a talented writer with a collection of short absurdist tales called Unlucky Lucky Days out in June. In his role as musician, Daniel plays or has played in three of the pioneering bands of "The Denver Sound": Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Tarantella, and Munly. Described by some Amazon customers as alternative "gothic Americana," I'd add descriptors like country punk and some gorgeous gypsy/Eastern European folk music influences as well, especially when thinking of Tarantella. Which really means that this is really original and captivating American music. Other veterans of “The Denver Sound” include bands like DeVotchKa and 16 Horsepower. The latest Frommer’s Colorado guide identifies Munly and Slim Cessna's Auto Club when noting the rising international notoriety “The Denver Sound” is gaining. MTV’s Roadtrip Guide lists Munly’s “Amen Corner” as one of the five songs you have to listen to in Denver. If you haven't heard about Daniel Grandbois yet, you heard it here first: this talented, hardworking writer and musician is someone to watch. Recently, he talked to me via email about his reading habits and how it informs his music.
Amazon: What have you read lately and liked?
Daniel Grandbois: I’m in the middle of a gorgeous textbook from Oxford University Press, called The Evolution of Trees. Imagining the transformative journey plants had to make to leave the sea and colonize land sends shivers down my spine. I love seeing things from alien perspectives. Other nonfiction I’ve loved lately: Cabeza de Vaca’s account of being shipwrecked and stranded for a decade on this continent shortly after Columbus’s voyage, and Bartolome de Las Casas’ Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, which tells, grimly, of the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans by the Spaniards in the name of their “truer” God. Then, there would be Marie-Louise von Franz’s Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche. In the world of fiction: Robert Pinget’s Mahu, Calvino’s Cosmicomics, Coover’s Briar Rose, Grove’s collection of Beckett’s dramatic works, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, and Charles Martin’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.