All the World’s a Stage for Actor-Musician Tim Grimm
If you ask actor and folk musician Tim Grimm which performance medium he prefers, don’t be surprised if his answer is “both.” He considers himself something of a renaissance man, and he’s spent the last fifteen years both on the screen and globetrotting with a guitar in hand.
Those travels will lead Grimm to East Lansing for a show at the Orchard Street Pump House April 14 at 7:00 p.m. Toronto native and Grimm’s contemporary Jon Brooks will also perform at the show.
On occasion, Grimm gets to combine the both acting and music, which he says he finds most rewarding.
“I still act and I am pretty active in professional regional theatre around the country.” Grimm said. “Sometimes, I can mix the music and acting in projects like The Grapes of Wrath, which I wrote the music for and have performed in in Indiana, New York, and Florida. They are related skill sets - acting and performing as a singer-songwriter - they're both about telling a story and accepting the audience and inviting them in.”
Grimm’s acting credits include many films, including “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford, and co-starring in various TV shows, with “Reasonable Doubts” as one of them. Grimm is a native of Indiana, and after graduating from Earlham University in Richmond, Grimm made his way to Ann Arbor where he graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master’s of Fine Arts.
These days, however, Grimm is mostly focused on his blend of folk/country Americana music, the music he’s been perfecting ever since meeting his primary influence and hero, the legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Grimm first met Elliott in Ann Arbor in 1985.
“Ramblin' Jack was a huge influence,” Grimm said. “Jack had a couple of free days and wanted to ride bikes and go swimming. I was able to accommodate him on both fronts, and that began a long friendship. A few months later, I found myself backstage at the Newport Folk Festival with him.”
Grimm learned from Elliott the music is the most important thing, and to just be yourself onstage.
“Important lessons from Jack I learned are to not take yourself too seriously.” Grimm said.
“That you can put on a good show anywhere and anytime. Regardless of your physical state or state of mind. If you're having fun, the audience will too.”
This inspiration has lead Grimm through ten albums, with his most recent being 2017’s, “A Stranger in This Time,” which he recorded under the moniker Tim Grimm and the Family Band, which includes his sons Connor and Jackson.
Jackson will perform alongside him during the show at the Pump House. Connor, who is a bass guitarist in his own right, is not on the current tour.
“It's a huge treat to play with Jackson, as well as my other son Connor who plays the bass guitar.” Grimm said. Jackson was the last one in the family to come to music. He really started in college, and he's only been out of school for a year. He began by learning theory, which is the opposite of how I operate. So, his skills begin there and are supplemented by having a great ear and a delicate touch.”
Grimm added, “He definitely chose to play on his own. In his own space, and he brings a lot to the table.”
The singer-songwriter is brutally honest when it comes to the subject matter of his music, and he’s looking forward to tackling some sensitive issues on this current tour.
“No topic is off-limits,” Grimm said. “I've written a lot about the rural Midwest, and in the ‘folk’ world that's maybe what people most associate me with. But, the land I love, anything that seems wrong or broken is fair game. A Stranger in This Time is probably the broadest release in terms of subject matter. It pulls no punches. We live in dangerous times and that has to be addressed in my opinion.”
Dudley “Smitty” Smith, who books the shows for the Pump House, said bringing Grimm to East Lansing for a show was a no-brainer.
“Tim is one of the best storytelling singer-songwriters I know,” Smith said. “The rough tenor of his voice is a perfect match to the timeless stories he tells. “Tim is the best of what Country Music once was: relatable and universal, yet very personal.”
More information on concerts at the Pump House, is available here.
The Pump House is located at 368 Orchard Street. Doors open at 6:30, the music starts at 7pm, and there’s a suggested donation of $20, with all money going to the artists.