Category: News

Winter Italian Tour Dates Announced

// October 15th, 2013 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News, Performances

I am beyond thrilled to be returning to Italy for a few weeks of shows this December – and not just because it will be a welcome break from Berlin Winter!

Many thanks to the incredible Rocketta Booking crew for organizing another amazing tour.

Keep an ear out – we may be adding some more shows to this run in the coming days, almost certainly one in Rome at the end of the tour…

December 1: Palermo, Italy – Palazzo de Gregorio (11 AM)
December 1: Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Italy – Parco Jalari (9 PM)
December 3: Capo d’Orlando, Italy – Virtuoso, Biblioteca Communale
December 4: Modica, Italy – Hometowns
December 5: Messina, Italy – Retronouveau
December 6: Marsala, Italy – Baluardo Velasco
December 7: San Cataldo, Italy – Muddy Waters @ Planet Underground
December 8: Catania, Italy – La Chiave
December 9: Giarre, Italy – GRU
December 10: Enna, Italy – Al Kenisa
December 11: Reggio C, Italy – Caffè Letterario AL BAR
December 12: Catanzaro, Italy – Paddy’s Irish Pub
December 13: Cava dei Tirreni, Italy – Mediateca Marte
December 14: Cassino, Italy – Nuove Officine Generali

Photo credit: Neal Santos, 2013

Italian Tour Dates Announced

// March 26th, 2013 // Comments Off // Music, News, Performances, Travel

Italian Tour Dates Announced!


Gillian will be completing a month-long tour of Italy and Sicily in March and April for RockettaBooking. See below for the complete tour schedule:

giovedì 28 marzo: IL CONVIVIO, Modica (RG)
venerdì 29 marzo: PIZZAPEPPER, Siracusa
sabato 30 marzo: AL KENISA, Enna
domenica 31 marzo: LA CHIAVE, Catania
mercoledì 3 aprile: BIRRERIA 34, Taurianova (RC)
giovedì 4 aprile: MOLLY MALONE, Lecce
venerdì 5 aprile: KEY DRUM, Sarno (SA)
sabato 6 aprile: BAR PINO, Campagna (SA)
domenica 7 aprile: GODOT ART BISTROT, Avellino
lunedì 8 aprile: LE MURA, Roma
martedì 9 aprile: FAT, Terni
mercoledì 10 aprile: “InModoAcustico” @ BAR MODO INFOSHOP, Bologna
giovedì 11 aprile: LENINGRAD CAFÉ, Pisa
venerdì 12 aprile: LA MELA DI NEWTON, Padova
sabato 13 aprile: BAGNO SOLO SOLE, Cervia (RA)
domenica 14 aprile: LOCANDA SAN ROCCO, Fermo (AP)
lunedì 15 aprile: CIRCOLO ARCI LEBOWSKI, Gioia del Colle (BA)
April 16: Foggia, Italy: Tolleranzazero
April 17: Reggio Calabria, Italy: Circolo 79
April 18: Castellemmare Del Golfo, Sicily: Picolit
April 19: Caltanissetta, Sicily: Sale & Pepe
April 20: Catania, Sicily: TBA
April 23: Rovereto, Italy: TBA
April 27: Berlin, Germany: Sofa Salon

Happy Birthday to The Hinterhaus!

// January 29th, 2013 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News

I am so, SO excited to announce that The Hinterhaus has finally arrived. It’s been a long journey across countries and continents to bring you these songs, and I couldn’t be prouder to share them with you. This album has been a labor of love for myself, Todd Sickafoose, the over 180 kickstarter backers in more than 10 countries who financed the CD, and the incredible line-up of musicians who have lent their many talents to bring these songs to life.

You can download a digital copy of the album on iTunes or order a physical copy of the CD through my online store, along with gorgeous supersoft Hinterhaus T-shirts, stickers, and other goodies. All preorders of the album were post-marked today.

In other great news, The Big Think just posted a wonderful article about (and video of) my performance at The Nantucket Project. That’s the conference where I got to meet Senator John Kerry! A very nice birthday surprise for The Hinterhaus indeed.

I am indebted to you for making my career and, by extension, this music possible. As an independent artist, I don’t have the backing of major label resources, but I have something even better – I have your support. And now I’m going to ask for your assistance in ringing every metaphorical bell tower around the world to spread the word about this record.

The following is a list of things you can do to help The Hinterhaus get up and start taking its first wobbly steps in the world:

1) The Gift of Gab

The single most important thing you can do is simply talk. Talk about The Hinterhaus with your friends, family, and coworkers. Play the record for them when you’re driving your car or are in for the night with a bottle of wine (or freshly mixed manhattan. Did you know there’s a cocktail recipe in my new album? that’s right). Include your favorite harp cover next time you and your buddies are having a YouTube binge session, like this video of me singing Yo La Tengo. Choose a song from The Hinterhaus for your next mix tape (or CD, or dropbox file, or…whatever). If you’re the extroverted type and go up to talk to your favorite performer after their next concert at, say, The Mann Center, suggest me as an opening act next time they come through town. Likewise, if you bump into the owner or booking agent of your favorite local venue, drop my name. Use that button on the upper right hand side of my mailing blasts to forward the newsletter to someone you think might be interested. Every little bit has a ripple effect.

Bottom line? If you’re digging The Hinterhaus, tell someone.

2) Social Media Firestorms and the Digital Frontier

Do you use facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, Google+, YouTube, Reddit, livejournal, lastfm, bloggr, diaspora, Pandora, or even [shudder] Myspace? AWESOME. Share a link, post a status update, like my BandPage, include @gilliangrassie and #TheHinterhaus in your next tweet, put something on Reddit and up, up, up it (did you know I was a darling for a hot second because of a Morrowind Theme cover on YouTube?). Write a review on iTunes and rate the album. Write a blog post if you feel so inspired (oh my gosh, I’d be so flattered!). If you’re a regular reader of a music blog (coughPASTEcoughPitchforkcough) and hear something that reminds you of Rob Reich’s accordion on Marrow, or think that The Canonization of Margot Price would be relevant listening for the next article about eating disorders and body image on, mention it in a comment. It all makes a HUGE difference.

If you’re not a varsity-level internet fiend and didn’t understand any of the previous paragraph, it’s totally fine. Don’t worry. We’ll go back to analog activities right…now.

3) Call your local Radio Station

Radio, especially AAA radio stations are still extremely important in getting the word out about new albums and turning on new listeners to their next favorite artist. Radio stations, especially public, member-supported stations like WXPN are also VERY responsive to their listeners. If you call your local NPR affiliate station and request a song from The Hinterhaus, and a handful of other people in your area do too, the station will notice. And they might just start spinning a track off The Hinterhaus or have me in for an interview or in-studio performance or Tiny Desk Concert. XPN has been very supportive of me in the past, but I’ve never had a track on “regular rotation,” (meaning, for AAA, 6-7 times a week, rather than once a week). Requesting your favorite song off the new Gillian Grassie album by phone or station website makes a BIG difference.

4) Buy the record

Ok, I know this seems obvious. But seriously. Come to a show and buy the album. Get a friend and go in on a CD bundle together. Download The Hinterhaus on iTunes… and then write a review. You’d be shocked by how few full digital album sales it takes to make it into the top 100 chart for iTunes singer-songwriter genre… and by how big of a deal it is to be on that list, even for a day. If just 1/4 of the people on my mailing list bought The Hinterhaus on iTunes on the same day, we’d be there. No joke.

5) Buy (or make!) a T shirt… and wear it.

Eric created a totally gorgeous design that pairs with the album artwork, and then local wunderpress Camden Printworks silkscreened them onto supersoft, designer T shirts with a special ink that’s also very, very soft. This is not your average college sports jersey, I promise. They’re really, really nice. You can pick one up at any show or order them online here.

6) Study Buddies

Are you in college? I would LOVE to play at your school. Or do an interview for your student paper. Or be a guest on your college’s radio station. Or all of the above. Let’s talk. E-mail me.

7) Have a House Concert

First off, house concerts are one of my all-time favorite ways to perform. They are fun, and casual, and intimate, and always very, very special. If you’ve never hosted a house concert before, but are curious, shoot me an e-mail. I promise it’s a lot less intimidating than you might be imagining, and totally worth the effort of throwing a low-key party.


If you have other great ideas for grassroots promotion, I would love to hear about them! My e-mail address is Please don’t hesitate to use it.

Okay, like I said, I don’t have the major label rolodex or bankroll to expect the kind of coverage Teagan and Sara have had about their new album release (Heartthrob came out today too! have you heard it? It’s awesome!!!), which is part of why I decided to release this album in January. That gives us ALL of 2013 to start rolling a tiny snowball down the hill in the hopes of it becoming an enormous hinterhaus igloo by next winter (there’s probably some problems with that metaphor. work with me).

Here’s to the strength of our collective nudges.

Thank you so much for everything.


join the mailing list and get free music at

MTV Scratch Video

// November 29th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, News, Uncategorized, Videos

I was invited to perform at the MTV offices at the Viacom building for a special pop-up event put together by the wonderful folks over at MTV Scratch. They had me surprise executives and staff with a concert as they walked through the stairwell.. Check it out below.

Gillian Grassie @ Scratch from Scratch Vimeo on Vimeo.

You can also read their blog post about the event. Here’s an excerpt:

“We recently invited singer-songwriter and virtuoso harpist Gillian Grassie, just back from a five-week tour of the US, to perform for us here at Scratch. Gillian was kind enough to play the role of “surprise musician,” positioning herself in the cavernous stairwell linking all the floors of Viacom’s fifty-three story Times Square headquarters. Her haunting voice and seraphic accompaniment echoed throughout the vertical space, slipping into foyers and offices through cracked doors and usually quiet air ducts.”

NERFA, New England, & New Ts

// November 15th, 2012 // No Comments » // Music, News, Performances, Travel

I just spent a whirlwind weekend at the North East Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference in Kerhonksen, NY, hanging out with a wonderful bunch of folk DJs, concert presenters, venues, festivals, and very talented musicians. Saw some old friends, and made many, many new ones. This was my first time attending NERFA and let me tell you, when you’re at a hotel with 800 folks in the industry and the music starts at 9 AM and doesn’t quit till 6 AM the next morning, you can wear yourself out a little. But hey, if Gene Shay can do it, so can I.

I earned myself these blisters, which I consider to be little badges of honor for jam sessions well-had.

Feet Dry and Fancy Free

I had a couple days off right after the conference and spent them hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail near Bennington, VT. Sunday night I lay out under the night sky on and listened to the wind gust up the valley and over the ridge all night and lost count of all the shooting stars. I woke up the second morning in the Melville Nauheim Lean-to to find the forest transformed by snow! Sometimes taking time to get myself a little lost in nature is just the medicine the doctor’s ordered.

On Wednesday it was back to civilization for my first show at the legendary Caffe Lena! I taped a performance and interview with WEXT’s Chris Wienk that aired the same day – he was a real treat to work with. Also, if you missed it, here’s the little piece where I tell some stories about my very first band…

Looking forward, I’ll be up in Middlebury playing at 51 Main this Friday night. Send your friends, it’s free entry, great food and drink. I’ll be playing from 9-11 PM. I’m back in NYC on December 8th to perform for the 10th Annual Advent Hope Benefit Concert, proceeds to assist Hurrican Sandy relief efforts. That starts off at 7 PM at 111 E 87th St. The Winter Solstice will find me performing a special holiday show at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia on Friday, December 21st, with an as-yet un-named special guest. Get your tickets early folks! In the New Year, I’ll be down in the D.C. area for a house concert on January 5th, and up at the Acoustic Long Island series on February 6th. And Keep your ears peeled for news about The Hinterhaus release this winter!

German tour, TedxEast, & a staged reading

// May 1st, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News, Performances, Travel, Videos

My dear friends,

Spring has sprung and new beginnings abound. I’ve been listening to a few versions of The Hinterhaus master and am chomping at the bit to share this music with you! Look for an official release sometime around September. As a teaser, I hope you enjoy this video of a live, solo performance of the title track at the Kito Theatre and Museum in Bremen, Germany in January:

The Hinterhaus – live at Kito in Bremen, Germany

In the spirit of trying new things and being adventurous, I’ll be joining the talents of Liz Filios and Tara Demmy in a staged reading of a new play by my dear friend Amelia Longo called True Stories. The performance will be at The Painted Bride in Philadelphia this Wednesday, May 2nd, as part of their Bridal Salon Playreading series and is being directed by Alison Garret. Now, friends, it has been a LONG time since I got up on stage to do anything other than sing and play harp, so if you’d like to take the plunge into uncharted waters with me, I’d welcome your company. The show gets started at 7 PM – $5 gets you in the door AND free food AND free booze (yes, please!). True Stories is a memoir performance that tells the story of a woman struggling with the ideas of truth and expectation in a relationship and in love. It drills down into her experiences to explore the idea of multiple perspectives in one individual; taking direction from the line “The true story is vicious and multiple and untrue after all,” in Margaret Atwood’s poem “True Stories,” it is an active search for truth in a world of multiple possible truths.

I’m also thrilled to be a (small) part of the TedxEast conference in New York City on May 11th (eep!), where I’ll performing a few songs for the conference guests and speakers, including, yep, The Roots.

After that it’s off to Europe again where I’ll be playing a few dates in Germany, thrilled to be sharing the stage again with Stefan Honig. German folks, stay tuned, because I’ll be announcing a few more shows (including Berlin!) in the coming weeks as well as an appearance on Balcony TV, Hamburg.

Fresh of the plane, I’ll play the other side of the river in NJ at Barrington Coffee House on June 22nd, and join Karen Gross & Suzie Brown at the Tin Angel on June 30th in a concert to benefit Girls Rock Philly. July sees me at the Princeton Farmers Market and co-billing with Zack DuPont and The Darling Side downstairs at World Cafe Live, Wilmington: The Queen.

If you want to see/hear more from me, please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with venue suggestions or house concert inquiries. I’d love to play for you this summer.

Much love,


NBC Music Box Sneak Peak at The Hinterhaus!

// December 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News, Performances, Videos

Check out this video from NBC Philadelphia’s Music Box series, which features an interview and a sneak peak at two songs from The Hinterhaus!

NBC Philadelphia Music Box Feature

If you like the video, consider checking out other episodes from the series and sharing your enthusiasm with NBC Philadelphia to ensure that other independent artists can continue being featured! Many thanks to Vincent Gabriel Antonini for producing the series. You can check out lyrics to “The Canonization of Margot Price” and “Back to Your Flat” on the lyrics page!


// May 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News

The Kickstarter campaign raised over $14,000 for The Hinter Haus.

Thank you all so much for supporting independent music & the dreams of one little harpist/singer-songwriter.

I am so full of gratitude for each & every one of the 179 incredibly generous backers who pledged to bring this project into the world. Feeling very infinite & small tonight. What an amazing journey this has been!

Tomorrow morning, I catch an early plane bound for Bogota, marking the start of another adventure as I tour with the ESL Folk Project through Colombia, Peru, & Ecuador. Keep an eye on my blog for updates from my travels abroad. I’ll be posting more updates through Kickstarter to keep my backers abreast of the album’s progress over the next few months. I think that by the end of all this, we will have created together something very fine indeed.

But for now, it’s time to finally exhale. And perhaps have a glass of wine on the front door steps. And maybe write a new song.

With love,


West Coast Adventures

// May 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News, Performances, Press, Travel

It’s a cloudy, early morning in San Francisco, and I’m sitting in the kitchen with the day’s first cup of coffee, listening to a quiet house.

morning run by the golden gate bridge

morning run by the golden gate bridge

I’ve been staying with some friends in Outer Richmond this past week to rehearse with the ESL Folk Project in preparation for our tour in South America. I met Matt, Brendan, & Jordan last summer in Tomsk where we began our first tour, bringing a special program using American Folk music as a cultural supplement for students learning English in Russia. The U.S. State Department loved the project so much, they decided to fund us again for a month-long tour in Colombia, Peru, & Ecuador. It’s the first time that we’ve all been together since Ufa last summer & the reunion has been sweet indeed. Tomorrow morning we’ll catch an early flight to Bogata the adventure begins! We expect to be doing some blogging updates from the road, but I don’t know how regular our internet access will be, so I wanted to write a little post sharing some of the highlights of my past couple weeks in California.

Oh, hey there, Hollywood...

Oh, hey there, Hollywood

I flew to Los Angeles on April 29th to visit my dear friend Rosy, who had generously offered to host a house concert for me. We spent the weekend cooking & then celebrated May Day with music, a feast featuring dishes from all the countries I’ll be visiting on the ESL Folk tour, & over a hundred guests.

That there's 70lbs of onions. I cried.

That there's 70lbs of onions. I cried.

On Monday, fellow Fellow Ted & I visited the Caltech campus to talk about our recent experiences as Thomas J. Watson Fellows on a panel for prospective applicants. Here’s hoping one of their many intriguing proposal ideas gets funded next year! We drove down to San Diego & spent a couple days learning ridiculous covers on harp & guitar, playing them for dear distant friends on Skype, & sampling the finest fish taco stands in the city. Ted also treated me with a breakfast of matzo brie, which is kind of like Jewish French toast (and totally delicious).

Ted! You made Matzo Brie!

Ted! You made Matzo Brie!

I took the train up from SD back to LA (and, as always when traveling public transit with my harp, talked to lots of curious strangers) & then caught a rideshare to San Francisco with a woman who managed to fit me, my harp (in flight crate), & a young australian woman fresh from the airport into her Prius! I was dropped off in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood just in time to play another house concert for a super fun audience featuring a surprising number of AmeriCorps volunteers. By midnight, I’d made my weary way to Outer Richmond where the ESL Folk Project has been living & rehearsing this past week.

Brendan, Matt, & Jordan

We’ve been working hard, logging several 9 hour days of solid rehearsal, learning lots of new material & lesson plans for the students we are *super* excited to meet in Peru, Colombia, & Ecuador. This time around, the U.S. State Department is organizing several large public concerts in addition to our schedule with the schools, so we’ve put together an entirely new program! Some of my favorites to learn have been John Henry, Red Clay Halo, Old Joe Clark, In the Pines, & Casey Jones.

lots of lyrics-learning...

In our spare time, we’ve managed to share several delicious meals (Jordan’s a wizard with a cast iron skillet) & visit the Sutro Baths, a 19th Century swimming facility that now lies in ruins on the Pacific Coast, not far from the house where we’ve been staying. When not making a hootenanny in the living room with the guys, I’ve also been learning cover song requests from a kickstarter campaign for my next solo album, locking myself in the (acoustically pleasing & quiet) bathroom to make iMovie recordings, & posting them on YouTube. One of the covers, a version of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Theme on harp, was picked up by the online gaming community & went viral, making this one of the most viewed bathrooms in San Francisco! Big love & thanks to,,, The Elder Scrolls facebook & twitter feeds,, & thousands of individuals for spreading the video like wildfire. I stayed up late last night learning the Ultima Online Theme (which was one of the earliest follow-up requests from & posted it on YouTube this morning as a gesture of my deep gratitude for the outpouring of support that’s come from the gaming community over the past few days.

over 42,000 people have seen this bathroom!

We’ve already started getting some press coverage in South America, like this article: Ramblin’ Across the Andes.. Time to get back to packing – looking forward to sharing our stories from the road!

Much love,

sorry, Pickles, you can't come...

P.S. My next concerts in the U.S. will be on Monday, June 13th at the Rockwood Music Hall in NYC & Saturday, June 18th at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. The Tin Angel shows have been selling out, so if you’re interested in coming, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance!

$12k goal reached & a viral YouTube cover

// May 12th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Music, News, Press

What an amazing two weeks this has been.

On May 1st, the kickstarter campaign passed its $10,000 goal, covering the costs of professional radio promotion when The Hinter Haus is released. Yesterday, you exceeded expectations again by pushing me over the $12,000 mark & additionally securing a publicist! If we reach $15,000 by the close of funding at 11 PM EST on May 14th, I’ve promised to run pressings of the album in both CD & Vinyl format.

There are now 124 unbelievably generous & amazing backers involved in this project who are living in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Senegal, China, France, Ireland, Italy, Sri Lanka, & Australia! It’s incredibly exciting to me that these songs, which were conceived during a time of international travel & exploration, are now receiving support from people in so many parts of the world.

I started posting the YouTube cover requests that have come through on the campaign this week. One of them – an adaptation of The Elder Scrolls Morrowind Theme – has gone viral with over 18,000 hits in its first day! There is a new, soft, warm place in my heart reserved for the RPG community. Thanks to Mike,,, & the Elder Scrolls fb & twitter pages for passing the video around!

Please continue sharing this project with your friends by posting the kickstarter link on your facebook wall, twitter feed, blog, or e-mail list. If you’ve already done this & haven’t yet received your copy of “Borrowed or Begged,” please just give me a heads up on facebook, twitter, or at gillian [at] & I’ll send you the download link.

As excited as I am by the ambitious figure we’ve managed to raise together, it’s important to remember that this campaign is not only about fundraising, but also reaching new listeners. Every friend you share this with is another potential fan, which is every bit as valuable to me as each dollar contributed to this project.

It is thrilling (and a little overwhelming) to have had such a positive response to this record so quickly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!