Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nils Lofgren & Grin: White Lies

Although not extremely popular during their heyday, Grin had quite the following in the Middle Atlantic States. Although its persona was a little schizophrenic as it was sometimes considered as a band and sometimes the alter ego of Nils Lofgren, either way Grin is one of those acts that never got the recognition it should.

During the Grin period, Nils was befriended by Neil Young when he was 18 and was given the opportunity to play guitar and keyboards on the LP “After the Goldrush.” Although having studied classical accordion as a child, Nils was hesitant to take on the piano duties for Young’s album and therefore he practiced his parts as often as he could. Often working round the clock on his parts prior to recording the tracks.

He really is an accomplished piano player and well as a guitarist. I got to see him live in 1985 with Bruce Springsteen’s band and he was one of the high points of the show. Having also studied as a gymnast, Nils often does acrobatics on stage which adds to the show. His 5’ 3” height gives him an advantage, as he frequently does tumbles, rolls, and flips without missing a lick on the guitar.

The closest thing to a hit that Grin had was the song “White Lies.” Probably the reason it didn’t make it as a hit was that it was released in January 1972 – one month after the release of Bullet’s hit “White Lies, Blue Eyes.” Probably the similarity of titles doomed “White Lies” from becoming a national hit. As other Grin recordings had a following in the Metro DC area, “White Lies” got frequent airplay in our nation’s capital – and thus qualifies as today’s “Bubbling Under Hit.”

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