Baby Gramps is a steel guitar performer, who, though born in Miami, Florida, has been based in the Northwest USA for at least the last 40 years. He is famous for his palindromes. Baby Gramps started performing in 1964 and is still playing professionally as of 2010.
Baby Gramps plays a mixture of styles and eras including traditional blues, children's and labor songs, and his own compositions. His busy and unusual guitar style includes flat and finger picking, and "chording" with the back of his hand and his elbow. His singing styles include throat singing. His performance is based in part on improvisation and he often encourages audience participation. Baby Gramps has performed as a street musician, and has toured with Artis the Spoonman, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and Phish. His rendition of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" was featured in Martin Bell's Academy Award-nominated documentary film, Streetwise (1984).
Writer Patrick Ferris said he has "a mass appeal in the sense that any audience between the age of 2 and 102 are captivated by his vaudeville antics, hilarious lyrics and animated guitar playing... His voice is a cross between Popeye the Sailor and a Didgeridoo and the plinkity plink of his VERY worn National steel guitar, sounds like a wind up jack in the box. If you listen closely and know anything about music, you'll realize Gramps is an absolutely incredible guitar player. Being a professional musician for over 40 years can't help but give you some sort of chops, but Gramps is a modern day Robert Johnson; a revolutionary guitarist that, like Thelonious Monk on piano, can play the notes 'between the cracks.'"
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