Twelve years after having performed at the second edition of Misty Fest, at the time still Sintra Misty, John Grant is back, this time with his latest work Boy From Michigan.
John Grant is, rightly, one of the most celebrated and consecrated singers of our time, an artist that the historical NME affirms to have created in his last work a work “of astonishing beauty”. In fact, Boy From Michigan, a record produced by Cate Le Bon and created “at the very beginning of the pandemic nightmare and throughout the presidential campaign”, it says, is an extraordinary record from an artist who is careful to reinvent himself at every new step. And that will be the work he will now bring to Portugal for a much-anticipated concert. For Grant, the confinement was largely academic. He is a man of an insular nature and retired from his native America in 2011, moving to Iceland.
Grant met Le Bon when they performed at the Park Stage at Glastonbury in 2013 and quickly became friends and fans of each other’s work. She subsequently performed a duet with Grant at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 and John returned the favour at Green Man in 2018. They have often talked about the possibility of Cate producing an album for him. “Cate and I are both very strong-willed people, which is great,” says Grant. “Making an album is hard on a good day. The mounting stress of the election and the pandemic really started to affect us in late July and August. It was a very stressful process at times, given the circumstances, but also full of lots of amazing, joyful moments.”
In the last decade, John Grant has established himself as one of the great musical chroniclers of the American Dream. “These songs are visceral to me. We end up marinating in the spirit of where we grew up. There are people who feel good about that.” And the reward is ours that we can in that way, through their songs, understand contemporary life and culture a little better. And not only through an American perspective since love, hope and loss are universal concerns to which everyone seeks answers. Boy From Michigan is already the fifth album in the well-stocked solo career of the former The Czars, but since 2020 the singer-songwriter has not been idle. He has released new singles, most recently the beautiful Bungalow, the Ep Bolero and, of course, the fantastic version of the folk classic God’s Gonna Cut You Down used as the theme song for the BBC series Inside Man. All good reasons not to miss him live in 2023.