August 2, 2007


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Catch the Grift
A little bit funk rock, a little bit cow country
By Erica Febre

Coming from what members of the band call “cow country,” The Grift is an original funk rock and pop band based in Vermont. Formed in Colorado, the band moved to Vermont more than five years ago and frequently performs in New Hampshire.

“We use a lot of the syncopated rhythms, between the keyboard and the guitar, to help bring the funk out. Those parts create that funk feel while the bass and drums are pretty straightforward,” said Clint Bierman with The Grift.

The Grift is Bierman on guitar and vocals, Jeff Vallone on drums and vocals, Ryan Erskine on keyboard, and Peter Day on bass and trumpet.

“While we do like to jam, we consider ourselves more songwriters, incorporating a lot of vocal harmonies and just well-written tunes,” said Bierman. “We do leave room for some improvisation but the majority of our songs are really hook-oriented songs.”

With four studio albums, The Grift estimates their record sales at about 12,000 and close to 1,000 live performances.

The Grift is an independent band with their own record label, GlennSource Records, which also works with other New England underground artists. The label has released 10 other albums, aside from The Grift’s.

The band is also working on a new album for the fall, tentatively titled Four Card Manti. They like to call the album an “iPod shuffle” because it offers such a wide range of different musical elements.

Day, the band’s bassist and trumpet player, plays both instruments at the same time, according to Bierman.

“He taps the bass with his left hand and plays the trumpet with his right,” Bierman said. The band has photographs of this task posted on their MySpace page for unbelieving eyes to see.

Last December, The Grift added keyboard player Erskine. Before that Vallone used a sampler to mimick the sounds of a keyboard player.

“We used to have a lot of tunes that were pretty dependent on electronic beats and sampling but we’ve gotten away from that with having a keyboard player now,” said Bierman.

The Grift also fills in as the backing band for another Vermont-based band, Jer Coons. Jer Coons is members of The Grift along with Jer Coons on vocals and acoustic guitar and Jake Pirkkanen on percussion.

Hear ‘em
Who: The Grift
When: Friday, Aug. 10, starting at 9 p.m.
Where: Harlow’s Pub, 3 School St., Peterborough, 924-6365.
How much: Admission cost $8.
For more information: Music samples are available at or For more details about the band Jer Coons, go to or Harlow’s Pub is online at