Indeed Gram's short career was marked by a conspicuous lack of commercial success. Nonetheless, before his tragically early death, Gram played a key role in bringing together the worlds of rock and country music. He also made some stunning records. Born to a wealthy but ill-starred Southern family, Gram started out playing folk music with the Shilos whose story is told here for the first time. After founding the International Submarine Band during a spell at Harvard, Gram headed West to Los Angeles, where he turned The Byrds on to country music - resulting in their acclaimed Sweethearts of The Rodeo album, before quitting to form the Flying Burrito Brothers. After the Burritos split, Gram recorded two stunning solo albums, turned the Rolling Stones towards roots authenticity and introduced Emmylou Harris to a grateful world.
Sadly, none of Gram's musical ventures captured the imagination of the contemporary record-buying public, and his dreams of stardom were frustrated. Also, though rooted in country music culture, Gram lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle to the full hanging out with Keith Richards, living fast and drinking hard. Gram's second solo LP, Grievous Angel, is a haunting masterpiece of country soul. By the time it was released, he had been dead for four months. He was 26 years old. Gram left behind a rich and varied musical legacy. His country-imbued Cosmic American Music paved the way for generations of country rock crossover acts from The Eagles and Crosby, Stills and Nash to The Lemonheads and Lambchop. His timeless songs have been covered by a multitude of artists and his reputation continues to grow and grow. Freelance journalist and alt-country musician Jason Walker has spent seven years interviewing Gram's friends, colleagues and collaborators. The result is the most detailed portrait yet of the ill-fated rich kid who invented country-rock.