July 25, 2022
Dee Bomb finds the art in the business side of music.
“There are so many lefties that I encounter who either play left-handed guitars or flip the right-handed guitar and restring it left-handed. Off the top of my head, I’m not certain of anyone who flips a right-handed guitar upside down without restringing. If anyone knows of anyone who plays like me, let me know. I’d love to pick their brain and see how they process playing. After 30 years of doing it my way — I’m so used to watching right-handed players that I mentally flip everything instantly. I can’t read music. But I can read hands and fingers.”
I have been playing the guitar since Santa brought me a $25 JCPenney guitar when I was 5. Despite both of my parental units being musical, neither explained to me that I was holding it incorrectly. After that, I inevitably procured a larger acoustic guitar. I was still too small to play it properly, so I laid it on my lap. That is how I played for the first few years. I learned the blues that way, and a couple other simple chord progressions. One day, I realized I had grown enough to move it up into the more accepted position. There were three men in my life at that young age who encouraged me to play the way I felt most comfortable. They told me that someday I’d realize how unique of a style it was. I didn’t care about being unique. I cared about learning “Sweet Home Alabama” to impress a boy at my school.
There are so many lefties that I encounter who either play left-handed guitars or flip the right-handed guitar and restring it left-handed. Off the top of my head, I’m not certain of anyone who flips a right-handed guitar upside down without restringing. If anyone knows of anyone who plays like me, let me know. I’d love to pick their brain and see how they process playing. After 30 years of doing it my way — I’m so used to watching right-handed players that I mentally flip everything instantly. I can’t read music. But I can read hands and fingers.
Very much so. I have his entire collection. He would receive duplicates from the station and bring them home to play on the ol’ turntable. I also have several eight-tracks and a few reel-to-reels. My father passed away in 2006 and I constantly wonder if he’s keeping tabs on my music career. I hope he’s proud. I was nominated this year for a Josie Music Award. The ceremony is at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and it’s one of those bittersweet things. I’m stoked but I wish my folks were alive to see it. One fun memory. I remember riding with my dad in Forest Lake and he would predict which song came on following a different song. For instance, Golden Earring would be on. My dad would flick his cigarette ash out the window and say “Fleetwood Mac is next” and he was almost always correct. When DJs lost control of their playlists, the game lost its luster. Now, when I put on some of that classic rock, it is like a time machine. I’m suddenly a little kid — wide-eyed and wondrous.
My love of Fran Healy, and the band Travis as a whole, is twofold. Lyrically speaking, the songwriting is like a poem written by a normal person. The lyrics aren’t romanticized or overly wordy. They aren’t too frilly or difficult to process. The words almost feel as if someone just bled their heart and soul out and arranged it into a story or an explanation of feelings. Secondly, the musicianship of the entire band is incredible. I was 16 the first time I heard the song “Sing” by Travis. The banjo, the acoustic, the bass, the drums. that entire song just checked every box on my list for what I appreciate. There is not one song from Travis that I do not enjoy. I strive for that effect with my own music. I want every song I write to have a distinct sound so that when people listen they feel that same way.
This is an easy question and a difficult question. There are so many songwriters that I admire. KT Tunstall is a Scottish singer-songwriter that emulates that same lyrical presence in her own writing. Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers is another songwriter that I just find myself mesmerized by. He has written songs with Taylor Swift and many others. His lyrics are witty and engaging. Finally, I tend to channel a lot of Dan Wilson’s vibe regarding song creation. As a songwriter, his recipe mixes melody with brooding raw wordplay and I’m just awestruck. I did some work with Jon Delange of Tinderbox Music and he mentioned interacting with Dan Wilson like it was an everyday occurrence. If Dan Wilson spoke to me, I think I would just stare in amazement until he walked away bewildered. He’s one of the greats.
That’s a question I’ve never been asked before. I suppose there are elements of both that produce a completion or execution high. For instance, I finish a song and it’s halfway decent — I feel good. I have succeeded in getting whatever energy I needed to get out out. Then, in accountingland, say I’m hunting a number somewhere on a bank reconciliation. When I find that elusive dollar amount and make the adjustment or correction, I also feel good. I have succeeded at producing results necessary for my continued employment. However, that’s about where the similarities end. I am an entirely different person at my office than I am with a guitar in my hand. I am incredibly fortunate to have a boss that respects my passion for music. He doesn’t balk when I ask to leave early to get to a gig. He respects the need for mental health and maintaining a positive work-life balance.
I hate to be that person who thanks the pandemic for anything but I found so many new avenues for maintaining creative flow during it. When the pandemic started, I remember taking my daughter to the Xcel Energy Center so she could skate with her hockey team at the end of the season. The entire facility was empty. The streets were empty. It felt so post-apocalyptic. I thought “Wow, what are we in for?” I’m an incredibly social person so the thought of any kind of lockdown or isolation left me feeling unsettled. Fortunately, my bandmates and I still practiced, in person, at our space. We honed our performance. We participated in live-stream concerts and live-stream festivals. I held solo Facebook Live streams from my basement. I recorded and sent tracks over Google Drive to my producer who worked on them and sent them back. I didn’t write as much as I thought I would but I definitely played and perfected many of my songs. I don’t miss the fear and the uncertainty of 2020 but I miss how we all banded together. We all supported one another and did whatever we could to help each other.
Every year, I think “Wow! What an awesome year!” and 2022 has been the best year yet. I am nominated for five International Songwriters Awards including Entertainer of the Year and Female Songwriter of the Year. I am also nominated for Rising Star from the Josie Music Awards in Nashville this October. My album is nearly complete after a long 16 years after the release of my self-titled EP. I have been performing live with Jonathon Larson and Nick Engelhart, which is why you’ll see “Samantha Grimes & The 53s” for most live shows. They are just fantastic songwriters and multi-instrumentalists themselves — I am so lucky to have found them. We are playing at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul on August 4 for Americana Night. Also, a performance I’m super excited for is the ForWARD Neighborhood Concert Series in Rochester on August 31. Lastly, in November I’m headed to Iowa for a few solo shows. Honestly, the game plan has and always will be to keep making music. They will have to bury me with my capo wearing the sparkliest outfit in my closet.