TupeLocal Meets: An Interview with Adam Grace by Danielle Frerer

Truth and Salvage

I knew within about two minutes of having the opportunity to chat with Adam Grace, a musician with Tupelo roots, that he definitely embodied the meaning of his surname. His natural disposition of kindness and openness was both refreshing and pleasant. Adam is another one of Tupelo’s success stories and was very candid about his Tupelo influences and life story. Adam and his band, Truth and Salvage Co.,  just so happen to be coming into town to do a concert a benefit concert for a friend called Karma for Kelly at Blue Canoe on November 21st at 9pm. Adam spoke of the wonderful sense of community in Tupelo and wanted to encourage everyone to come out to see the show.

Frerer: What were your influences growing up in Tupelo?

Grace: Well, mainly the fact that Tupelo has such a thriving music and arts community. I was definitely influenced by Tupelo Community Theater, Debbie Gibbs, who was my drama teacher in high school, and just the general support that Tupelo has for the arts. I think it’s a really good place to get an arts education because there’s a lot of people who  consider art to be important in Tupelo and the community supports it in such a way that people like myself can get an education and inspiration without having to stray far from home.

Frerer: I agree! Being an arts educator myself, I love that our town is so supportive and provides opportunities in many different areas for outlets in the arts. How would you describe yourself as a kid? Were you very musically involved in school or did you have a musical family?

Grace: My father was a preacher so I grew up in the church doing gospel music. My mother would perform and sing. She’s got a great voice and taught me a lot about singing and harmony. As a kid my parent’s emphasized music lessons, piano lessons as a child, and they would make it point to get me involved in local plays and productions. It was something I showed an interest in as a youngster. I think I did my very first play when I was 5 years old. A lot of support came from my parents to do it because I enjoyed it and I think I showed some talent as a kid at singing, playing music, and being on stage.

Frerer: I hear that you used to do magic shows growing up. How was that experience for you?

Grace: Well, it turned into a career for me. I always loved magic. It was my first love as a kid. I think every kid gets into it to some extent. A lot of children are exposed to magic and it just kind of stuck with me. Again, my parents were very encouraging so, one time I was 12 years old and we were already putting ads in the Tupelo Daily Journal for a teenage magician for hire. I wasn’t even a teenager yet but we still put it in anyway! It was really good and it actually turned into a career for me as an adult and it’s something I still do. I still dabble in magic and I still do shows here and there. When I’m out on the road when we are playing and opening up for the Black Crowes and some of these bigger bands, the word’s gotten out that I do magic, so I get a lot of requests to do it.

Frerer: That’s awesome! I loved magic as a child, too, and I love that you are still able to use it.  That’s something very unique!

Grace: You know, I did my very first show for a Cub Scout group in Tupelo. I got paid $25. I remember thinking, because I was about 12 years old, “Wow, I got paid twenty-five whole dollars to do THAT?!” That fascinated me more than anything because it open my eyes. I mean, this was fun. It’s supposed to be work but it’s fun! I definitely liked the aspect of getting paid to do it. That really changed the game for me whenever I realized that I might could make a career out of actually being a performer.

Frerer: Obviously, you’ve been used to being in front of crowds since you were very young.

Grace: Absolutely. I’ve never had any problem with stage fright. It’s never bothered me. I actually enjoyed it and I still do. That fear that some people have of speaking in front of large groups, I don’t have that. But I don’t like spiders.

Frerer: I completely understand! You must be very fearless. I read that you moved to New York very soon after high school.

Grace: I did! I moved about three weeks after graduating from Tupelo High School. A lot of that was encouragement from Ms. Gibbs at school. I was in school with our mutual friends there (New York). We had the same teacher and, of course, she also continued on the path. I think that there were a lot of people that were influenced by Ms. Gibbs at the high school to go on and careers in the arts. She was a great teacher and she exposed us as teenagers to a world out there (Broadway, New York City) that I think fascinated her. It was her love and she instilled that in her students. That love spilled over into my life because she took kids on yearly trips to New York City. I got to see that world at a young age and aspired to do the Broadway thing, which I went on to do by living in New York, going to school there, and eventually landing a Broadway show. It was called Busker Alley. I was 20 years old and it starred Tommy Tune, who was this legendary Broadway performer. The show was a phenomenal failure, a flop. It did not even make it out of previews because Tommy Tune broke his leg and they had to cancel the whole Broadway run. I had just a brief taste of it.

Frerer: After having that taste of it, what made you decide to leave and eventually go to Los Angeles?

Grace: I went back to Tupelo first. At the time, I had spent four years in New York City and I felt like I had some success but I wasn’t really getting where I wanted to go. Eventually the money runs out and you look at your options. For me, it was more like I was going to go home and regroup. Luckily, I did so because I ended up meeting my wife and got on a whole other course that led me out to Los Angeles. I didn’t intend to move out there when I left New York City. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The move to Los Angeles became pretty clear to me because I knew that New York City was a really tough town. I didn’t want to go back out there and start all over. If I was going to start fresh, I wanted to do it in another city and Los Angeles was just a logical choice, really.

Frerer: That’s where you met your band mates correct?

Grace: Yes! I had some luck right away when I moved to Los Angeles. I got hooked up with this singer named Gary Jules. I started playing with him just a few months after I moved out to Los Angeles. We had a huge hit over in Europe; a song called Mad World. It went to number one over in Europe and we were really thrown into the spotlight very quickly. I got a backdoor into the music business just because I was really just extremely lucky I think more than anything. I was in the right place at the right time. That gave me a foot in the door and allowed me to meet other people in the music business out in Los Angeles and I eventually hooked up with the guys that I’m in the band with now. We hit it off and things really started happening quickly for us. I’m just a lucky guy, really.

Frerer: How did the band come up with the name Truth and Salvage Co.?

Grace: Well you know, when you’re a band it’s one of the toughest things that you toil over. There were lots of different names. A friend of our suggested Truth and Salvage to us. It kept coming back up and we would say, “Yeah, that’s pretty good, but we’ll think of something better.” One day we were just like, “There’s a reason why this name keeps coming back up.” It represents truth, like what we are all seeking to do; what we love. We just want to spread the truth about music, like how it’s supposed to be fun and uplifting. There was something really honest and true about what we were trying to accomplish and do, so the word truth made a lot of sense. The word salvage was really about us as a band. Not one of us is great, but when you put us all together, we manage to salvage the best parts of ourselves to make something as a whole that’s really good. Those two words really rang true with us. We just tacked company on the end because we were a company of men. And there it is- Truth and Salvage Co.

Frerer: I like how you all picked something so meaningful to represent yourselves. It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of success in many of the things that you have done. I saw that Truth and Salvage Co. released an album in 2010. What song are you most proud of?

Grace: That album was a culmination of everyone’s work for years and years. That first album is special because it’s really the best of everyone’s songs. That album is like a “Best of Truth and Salvage Co.” It’s hard to say which one in particular is my favorite, but there’s a song on the album called, “Brothers, Sons, and Daughters” that I think probably I feel most emotionally attached to because it’s a really beautiful song written by our drummer that talks about the importance of family and friends. It sort of echoes what Truth and Salvage Co. represents. I think that song is really special.

Frerer: It sounds like it. I will have to go back and read the lyrics while listening to it! What has your musical journey taught you?

Grace: I’m still learning. I feel like I’m still a baby. One thing I think I’ve probably learned more than anything about music is how to let go of your ego and how to trust people around you; to be honest. I’d say compromise probably is the greatest thing that music has taught me. It carries over into everything that we do.

Frerer: What do you love most about your hometown.

Grace: There’s so much to love about Tupelo. It’s the people! Tupelo is comprised of a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life. The sense of community and people in Tupelo is genuine. You can’t find a better city in America where if you need a hand, someone is willing to help. That’s a really special thing.

Frerer: Adam, I so appreciate you taking the time to chat and let me pick your brain!

Grace: Thank you! I appreciate the interview!

For more information about Adam or Truth and Salvage Co., you can visit their website at  www.truthandsalvageco.com or visit iTunes to download their album.











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