Formed in 2008, the acoustic duo, Grant Street Grifters, specializes in Folk, Old-Time, and Blues and is based in southwest Pennsylvania's Steel City. Since their inception, Peter Flynn (guitar/vocals) and Trish Imbrogno (double bass/vocals) have been a fixture in the Pittsburgh music scene, as well as sharing their talents up and down the I-79 corridor. The combination of their polar opposite playing styles lends a unique sound to traditional American Folk music.
The duo met at Duquesne University where they were students in the late nineties. Trish was on her way to a Bachelor Degree in double bass performance and Pete was on his way to, well...nothing in particular. Trish headed west, Pete stayed in Pittsburgh, and they wouldn’t see each other very much over the next ten years. But, thanks to the magic of online social networking, they were able to reconnect, and eventually The Grifters were born.
Grant Street Grifters began their career as "The Grifters" at L.L. Bean, after Trish received a call from their headquarters in Freeport, Maine. They were about to finish construction of their newest store at Ross Park Mall and were looking to have live acoustic music for the grand opening. As Trish recalls, she may have been a little loose with the facts when she accepted the gig. “The call was completely unexpected.
"When the woman on the phone explained who she was and what she wanted, I was like ‘Sure, I’m in a band that fits what you’re looking for.’ Then I called Pete and told him we need to put a band together and learn a bunch of songs ASAP! We started practicing and a few weeks later I received an email asking for the name of our band, which of course we hadn’t thought of yet. Pete chose ‘The Grifters’, since we had kind of conned our way into the gig.”
Growing up in a musical family, Pete had been playing the guitar since age eight and started to show an interest in traditional American music in his early high school years. During those years, when most of his musician friends were worshiping Hendrix and Jimmy Page, Pete had a different set of guitar heroes – the acoustic guitar wizards who were discovered and rediscovered in the great folk music boom of the early sixties. He dusted off his dad’s old records and immersed himself in the music of Dave Van Ronk, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis and Doc Watson.
Trish grew up listening to hard rock and heavy metal, even playing in an early 90's "hair band." She saw the light in her teens and became interested in the sounds of the Grateful Dead, Phish, The Allman Brothers and other more roots-oriented bands, all the while studying Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. She didn't try her hand at playing the music to which she listened until 2007 when she co-founded The Polished Pearls, a duo with singer/songwriter Andrea Scheve that eventually grew into a acoustic quintet. One of the players to round out the band was Pete on lead guitar. The Pearls played a series of shows over the next year with Trish gaining the confidence to actually play something off the page, and Pete regaining his chops.
But just when it all came together, it all fell apart. Andrea was forced to relocate to California and the band was no more. Enter a phone call from Maine, and the rest is what lies before you in these pages.
What does it sound like when a metal head turned Deadhead classical bassist and acoustic roots guitarist get together? You'll have to hear for yourself...