“The moment I came to San Diego, when I asked about making an album of music, Gregory Page was the man everyone remembered,” says singer/songwriter Tom Brosseau, whose upcoming album, Grass Punks, includes a song with the Google-friendly title “Gregory Page of San Diego.”
“My aim, then, was to get his attention. It was no easy task. Busy guy, hard to get a response to my emails, and when I got his phone number, my calls went straight to the answering machine. ‘You have reached the world headquarters of Mr. Gregory Page. Please, leave a message. And then hang up.’ Getting a word in person proved to be the method most challenging. Man’s like a ghost, slipping here, slipping there, slipping right out of the grip and into the realm of lord knows where.”
Brosseau’s fannish followup included staking out Hatchet Brothers gigs at the Ould Sod on Adams Avenue. “That’s two hours, plus an encore, a smoke break, and then an hour closing set. Eleven, midnight, one. Man alive, those guys could play. For the opportunity to present itself, I would have to be patient. I would have given up completely save for just one tiny little thing, his music, which touched my heart.”
He eventually talked Page into working with him, but that was a mere starting point. “The first album Gregory and I made, I remember it taking all my savings, plus a personal loan from my grandmother.... When it came time to having CDs manufactured, I ordered so many that, once stacked inside my apartment, I barely could shake my own foot.
“So, with a backpack [full] of my album, my Gibson J-40 acoustic guitar, a smart haircut, polished shoes, dress clothes, I began in the Mission Hills neighborhood, door upon door, saying hello, my name is Tom Brosseau. I’m from Grand Forks, North Dakota. I play folk music. I’m new in town. I have an album of music for sale. I know you’ll like it.”
Grass Punks was recorded and produced by North County bluegrass artist Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek, Fiction Family), who also played guitar, bass, mandolin, and synth pads. Both he and Gregory Page will appear at the Grass Punks release party, happening January 11 at Swedenborg Hall in University Heights.
“In addition to my own original compositions,” says Brosseau, “plan on hearing some of my favorite songs from the bad ol’ days of folk.”