For all the ink spent arguing over who’s more “country” these days, folks tend to forget that you can hear country music first in the voice. It needs to be a little bit sad, a little bit weary, a little bit wise, and there should be just the hint of a smile at the edges. This is the kind of voice you hear from bandleader, songwriter, and real-deal country singer TODD GREBE on his new album, CITIZEN, with his band COLD COUNTRY. As a songwriter, Grebe crafts songs that stick with you, and though his clever wordplay as a songwriter is a key element, it’s the rough sheen to his voice that makes this music so country and so beautiful. Grebe’s got a voice tinged with the dust of the American West and the grit of Southern living, the kind of voice that first made country music great.
Todd Grebe & Cold Country are based out of the wilds of Alaska, where for years they ruled the bluegrass scene in this state. Todd’s wife and musical partner, Angela Oudean, was a key member of famed Alaska bluegrass band Bearfoot for years (Todd joined Bearfoot as well), and though it may be a surprise to some that the music they make now is hard-driving, electrified honky-tonk at its core, the truth is that there’s a strong current that unites bluegrass and country. Like songs written about real people with real problems, or songs celebrating the simple victories of life with a sardonic sense of humor. You’ll hear this on CITIZEN, and you’ll hear that Grebe has a powerfully directed voice as a songwriter. He’s able to capture a moment effortlessly, turning it into a larger commentary on people we all recognize.