Established rock ’n’ roll stars travel by luxury bus.
Adam Grace and the rest of Truth & Salvage Co. travel in a 15-passenger van.
“When we open for The Black Crows, they have a huge tour bus. It’s funny to see our van parked next to it,” the 34-year-old said. “We’re not to the point we can afford that. At least we have something to shoot for.”
Understand that Grace isn’t complaining about the van, which was somewhere between Ames and Davenport, Iowa, for this phone interview.
A 1993 alumnus of Tupelo High School, Grace has spent years trying to build a show business career in New York and Las Angeles. Now, his band is traveling the country, and life is good.
“We’re living in a place of thankfulness. Everyone in the band has been struggling for years,” he said. “We don’t take anything for granted.”
He plays piano and organ for Truth & Salvage Co., and the band will open for The Black Crowes at today’s show at The Lyric in Oxford.
In addition, Chris Robinson, lead singer for the Crowes, is producing Truth & Salvage Co.’s first CD, which is due in early 2010.
“We were the first band Chris Robinson wanted to release on his label, which was a great compliment for us,” Grace said. “For an established musician to want to back us, that really helps a lot.”
Tupelo fans may recall Grace as Adam “Amazing” Grace, a magician who performed throughout the region when he was a teenager. After high school, he followed his show business dreams to the East Coast, then went to the West Coast.
He’s acted in movies and TV shows, and performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, but acting and magic are on hold.
“The love I have for performing and doing magic, that won’t go away no matter what,” he said, “but I only have time to follow one thing at a time. The music thing is taking up 100 percent of my time.”
A couple of years ago, Grace was in a different band, but he got together with a group of friends to play for fun each week.
“We all had serious side projects,” he said. “This thing we started doing was attracting people. I guess because of the fun we were having when we did it.”
A mutual friend brought Pete Angelus to hear the band. Angelus worked with Van Halen in the ’80s and The Black Crowes in the ’90s. He liked what he heard, and wheels started to turn.
Grace describes the band’s sound as “American rock ’n’ roll,” that has room for country rock, indie rock, soul music and more.
“It really skips around a lot,” he said. “The genre depends on which song we’re doing at the moment.”
Truth & Salvage Co. has been on its current tour since August. One of the shows took place outside The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J.
“It was a couple of thousand people watching us,” he said. “When we got off stage, we realized Bruce Springsteen was standing there watching us. It was surreal. Here is ‘The Boss.’ It was his home crowd. He said he liked our music. That was amazing.”
Grace also got to spend time with Levon Helm, legendary drummer for The Band and Bob Dylan.
“He reminded me of someone from Tupelo,” Grace said. “He’s just a good-hearted guy, nothing but love in his heart.”
During a different tour in April, Grace and his bandmates traveled from base to base in Iraq.
“We got to play for soldiers who were in bases that were way out there,” he said. “They had not had anybody to entertain them for a year. We got to play some rock ’n’ roll music.”
Grace came away with an appreciation for the job the soldiers are doing for their country.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” he said.
He didn’t compare his sacrifices to the soldiers’, but he’s been on the road and away from his wife, Amanda, for a while.
“I miss her. She’s in Fulton now, spending time with her mom while her father is in Iraq,” Grace said. “They keep each other company while the men are away.”
The tour schedule has several stops in the Southeast over the coming weeks, so he’ll get some family time.
But the band has many more miles to travel in that 15-passenger van.
“The fun is coming from the experiences we’re having. I think people have the idea that the road is a nonstop party,” he said. “You only get so many chances to impress someone with your music. We’re working to make it happen.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal