Home of Kim Ware's indie-folk collective and related projects
Throughout the album, vocalist Kim Ware (who helped get the group together in 2006) maintains the heart-on-your-sleeve, emotional rollercoaster class of writing she proliferates on her previous albums. Jumping between elements of folk, indie, and ambient music (with some church bells and steel pedal guitar in there too) Ware and company have created an album that will appeal to fans of bands like Cayetana or Bright Eyes without ever feeling like folk music is being forced down their throats. That’s a tough line to toe, and the Good Graces do it well.
It’s no stretch to call Kim Ware an Atlanta treasure. Fans of her songs have always been delighted by her keen eye for subtle images and toe-tapping arrangements. “His Name Was the Color That I Loved”–the first single from from the Good Graces’ upcoming full length Prose and Consciousness—is no exception. Written as an elegiac tribute to a patriarch, the song is a character sketch with Ware depicting the deceased as having “a way about him / a quiet confidence / a man of few words but they always made sense.” The song chugs along on a jaunty train beat made all the more stirring by the chicken picking of an electric guitar. The final product will find admirers from fans of Neko Case, Drive-By Truckers, and the Weepies.
The story goes that the Good Graces started on an impulse, when Kim Ware bought her acoustic guitar, Buzzy, from Lakewood Antiques Market in 2006. The artist was well regarded as a drummer in the Atlanta scene, but she and Buzzy proved to be a perfect duo as songs began to flow out from them. Now, the Good Graces are a revered indie-folk collective known for delivering evocative songwriting, and in those regards, “Snow Angels” is no different. The song strikes a chord of spiritual beauty about keeping ties with your loved ones even after they’ve gone. It hits a poignant blend of emotions in the subtle buildup towards its crescendo, where Ware’s reflective vocals are met by a broad stroke of folk instrumentation that, together, evoke their full sentiment.
Led by frontwoman Kim Ware, the Good Graces are prepping to release their new record, Set Your Sights on July 7th. Filled with atmospheric Americana and lush indie-folk tracks, the reflective set is set apart by Ware’s warbling Southern drawl (recalling early Sonia Leigh) confessional lyrics.
Album opener “Out There” sets the stage for Ware’s existential musings, as the songstress ponders one of humankind’s longest-running inquiries: are we alone in this infinite expanse? Is there anybody (else) out there? Philosophical queries aside, however, the Good Graces have always been at their best when enveloping Ware’s graceful guitar playing and expressive vocals in an ambient mist of lightly textured Americana and drifting folk, and here the group manages to sound both stark and stunningly majestic. Like the question it seeks to address, “Out There” is imbued with a sense of hopeful optimism and wonder, but swim past the natural beauty of Ware’s voice, and there’s a hint of foreboding in the water. When all is said and done, loneliness may just be our lot. What’s important is that we never stop searching and moving forward.
The Good Graces‘ Set Your Sights is a breakup record, and it tears me up pretty good. ... “7-Year Sentence (Going to Hell)” is the centerpiece of the record, an alt-country ballad that lays out the difficult complexities of the break-up with unusual, unflinching candor. It’s pretty heavy stuff. The song itself is way more fun than the lyrics, even if it’s a minor-key ballad; the band is in top flight (as they are throughout the record) from the booming bass lines to the zinging lead guitar to the choir singing the last chorus. The tune perfectly fuses alt-country gloom with indie-pop enthusiasm. It is not as weird as it sounds. ... But there are beautiful (and even fun!) moments amid the tough lyrics. The instrumental work here is top-notch, too. If you’re looking for a solid alt-country record, indie-pop record, or breakup record, this one will fit the bill nicely.
The Good Graces, an Atlanta-based tune-making endeavor guided by singer, songwriter, guitarist and all-around multitasker Kim Ware, has been gently beguiling listeners since 2007 (or 2006 – accounts vary). Southern by the grace of God, Ware migrated to Atlanta from Wilmington, North Carolina with a knack for candid, unsweetened lyrics delivered with a winsome voice and a front porch relatability. Musically, her songs tend to be what’s called in certain circles indie-folk, although they veer in whatever detour suits them, be it countrified twang, comfort-food jangle-rock, atmospheric dream-pop or etcetera, all of which are found on Set Your Sights, the fourth full-length album from the project, which is officially being released on Friday, July 7th.
It’s an exquisitely chosen band name, this Good Graces; for while frontwoman Kim Ware, of Atlanta, has been compared (favorably, and for the most part, accurately) to Juliana Hatfield, Liz Phair and Kristin Hersh, there’s an ineffable goodness and grace evidenced here that literally takes the breath away at times on this songcycle of love discovered, experienced, fractured, reaffirmed, then surrendered. ... Blood On the Tracks and Shoot Out the Lights fans, take note.
Kim Ware’s on-again indie folk project has served up a little slice of heaven for the Atlanta music scene (and the world). The album is a sonic dream, with beautiful instrumentation to complement Ware’s matter-of-fact vocals. ... Sun is an exquisite composition that pushes and pulls your emotions to the point that it must be heard again and again. Comparisons have been made to Liz Phair and Lucinda Williams, but tGG come out of the gate with a sound all their own.
Close to the Sun is a brilliant collection of acoustic-led tunes across a number of genres. ... the overall product comes together in a way that is emotionally impressive, intellectually rewarding, and aesthetically pleasing. Ware has done an incredible job pulling together genre-subverting arrangements and lyrics with beautiful vocals, resulting in an album that is hard to stop listening to. If you’re into acoustic-led music, Close to the Sun should very much be on your to-hear list.