Carl Goodman, Ray Legere, Jim Collette and Gary Glenn have played music together on and off over many years but they didn’t come together to form Grasstic Measures until recently. Carl explains, “I had started doing a show called ‘Carl’s Kitchen Party’ to showcase different musicians playing in a setting like we’d have after a show. I did one of those shows with Jim, Ray and Gary. It went really well, so we figured we should put a band together and it’s gotten busier and busier. We’ve got the website and we’re trying to promote it and we did a recording recently too.”
Blue Roots (Profiles in Bluegrass Music): Carl Goodman, Grasstic Measures
I talk to Grasstic Measures' Carl Goodman about making music, what compels him and the band to play bluegrass and the joy of sharing music with others.
Grasstic Measures (L to R): Carl Goodman, Jim Collette, Gary Glenn, Ray Legere
All of the members of Grasstic Measures can draw on a deep well of musical experience. Carl points out, “Ray and Jim have been playing bluegrass music since they were toddlers. Ray has played traditional music from the East Coast, bluegrass and country music. He’s toured with people like Tony Rice and some other big names. I started playing music as a youngster, but I didn’t start playing bluegrass until I moved to the East Coast. Gary’s played country music, rock music and bluegrass since he was young as well.”
The band creates original tunes in a traditional setting and each of the musicians makes a contribution to writing but Carl says, “I write quite a few songs. I’ve had songs recorded by Ralph Stanley as well as the Country Gentlemen. Ray does a lot of the instrumentals and he’s a great arranger. The band itself is fairly traditional but we do some stuff that’s outside of the traditional boundaries.”
The recording process is something that the band enjoys according to Carl. He continues, “We all love to record. Ray obviously has done a lot more than the rest of us, but I’ve recorded a few of my own albums over the years. Gary and Jim have also played on a number of people’s albums.”
For their latest album, Carl explains that the band’s wide geographic separation meant that they had to record each of their parts individually. He says, “As we were collecting the songs, we’d put them down and Ray would do some arrangements and then we’d go in and record our parts. There’s lots of different ways that it can be done but that’s how we did the last album.”
The biggest challenge that Grasstic Measures faces is their geographic separation. Carl says, “The distance between the band members makes it difficult when we’re trying to book jobs. In order to make it work, we have to go on small tours, but in the summer it’s a little easier because you can go to festivals and wrap a day or two around them.”
He adds, “There are a lot of good bands out there and we’re all fighting for the same dollar. Our band has an advantage in that we aren’t just trying to get jobs in our own area, we’re coast to coast.”
The bluegrass scene in Canada is healthy in Carl’s view. He says, “I’ve been around bluegrass in Canada in different ways for 35 years. It’s grown and I’ve seen a lot of new faces out there. Young folks are coming up and they’re taking the torch. As the music moves along, we get younger people with new visions for the music. They’re taking some of the old stuff, revitalizing it and putting their own twists on it. I love it and I think it’s great.”
Going forward, the band wants to continue to promote themselves and start playing gigs across a wider area. Carl explains, “We’re trying to move down south and also break through on the west coast. It’s not without it’s difficulties because, as I say, there are good bands everywhere. Going down south and crossing the border to get jobs is very difficult, but we’re working on doing it legally.”
Inspiration for Carl comes from many sources. He says, “I’m lucky to be playing with these great guys who are very good musicians! I love all kinds of music, so if you were to look in my car you’d se everything from jazz to country to bluegrass. Listening to all of that music keeps me inspired. I love to meet new people, jam with them and listen to different bands playing. It’s little things like that which inspire me.”
For more information on Grasstic Measures, please visit them on Facebook here.
This profile is based on an interview conducted with Carl Goodman and recorded on Sept. 23, 2016.