Local 913, Episode 53: Joe Grushecky
For his latest album, Joe Grushecky, who was recently voted as a Modern Era Legend for the 2016 Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards, has reached back into his catalog to revisit some of his strongest songs. “I do some acoustic shows here and there. The songs that work great for the band don’t always translate to acoustic performance. I started picking some of the favorite songs I was doing at my acoustic shows. When I decided I was going to do an acoustic record, I went back and revisited some of the songs I don’t get to play too often with the band, but were very strong lyrically, were stories and could stand on their own with me playing guitar. The more I got into it, the more I was enjoying it. I thought, ‘Jeez’, I’m like 15 records into my recording career and there are so many good songs I don’t play! So, this is a real great opportunity to showcase these songs,” says Grushecky.
One of those songs,” It’s a Hell of a Life,” was inspired by a nearby county:
“Greene County is where my mother’s family is from. When I wrote this song, I was reading an article about how Greene County is the poorest area in the whole state of Pennsylvania. It’s poorer than some of the worst urban slums in Pittsburgh, Philly and Harrisburg. I thought ‘Jeez’, that’s where my family came from. I sort of tried to imagine myself if I had been born there. You know, after the mines closed down and there wasn’t really a lot of opportunity in that particular part of PA at the time. I tried to imagine myself in that situation.”
Look out for a couple more releases this year from Grushecky. For more on Joe Grushecky, go to Grushecky.com.