Tuesday, September 02 2014
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I'm just a dude - a normal dude. I chose to be a musician when I was 5 years old. No-one would teach me, though, 'cause my hands were too small. I waited until I was 9 before the lessons started. They were really easy, and I used to not practice, which would annoy my teacher. My parents would stop paying for lessons, and I'd beg them to keep taking lessons and promising to practice more. That went on until I was too "cool" for piano lessons, which was right around 14 years old - coincidentally about the time I started taking the pot.

Fast forward to 1997 - after many bands (Giant Panda Gypsy Blues Band, Double Dose, Medecine Show, Bluzymorvay, Peace Frogs, Dark Carnival, Love Pig, Rosco, Angie Aparo) and tons of parties, I thought maybe it was time to grow up and get a real job. I got my degree in business programming and got myself a real job. My (ex)girlfriend was happy I'd finally come to my senses. That's when music chose me. After a year of corporate soul-killing work, I realized that it wasn't up to me - I was born to play music, and it wouldn't stop haunting me until I got back to it.

The year 2000 I toured constantly with now-famous Angie Aparo (whom I'd toured with before my corporate year), signed to Arista records. I moved to Denver in 2001 after 6 months in Boston with Mountain of Venus. I met countless great people and made many new friends that I know I'll have for the rest of my life. I frickin' love Colorado - my first true home (away from home).

Touring part-time with Outformation and playing full-time in Denver I came across a couple punks named Tori and Chad that would eventually lead to Polytoxic - a dynamic passionate musical blend of fire, dirt and air. Twice we won "Best Jam Band" for the Westword magazine showcase show. We took the Westword award for Best Concert in 2005 for our re-enactment of The Last Waltz by The Band. We started playing in a burrito restaurant and ended up playing at the Fillmore in Denver, and selling out Cervante's Masterpiece Ballroom.

2006 was eye-opening, and my road turned to New Orleans. 2007 was a ton of hard work, but also turned out to be one of the best years of my life. I married the love of my life down here in New Orleans at the end of April. Outformation toured alot, and we released a new album in August, "Traveler's Rest". The fall was huge for us, playing shows to support the new record, and opening for bands like Widespread Panic, Umphrey's McGee, and Shooter Jennings.

2008 hit the ground running. Outformation signed with a management company in January, Mad Management out of Nashville. We're were very excited to have another piece of the puzzle in place, a piece that we really needed to help us grow to the next level. Heavy touring through the spring led us to record another 13 songs in July at The Fidelatorium, a studio owned by Mitch Easter. The completion of that album, plus the release of a live DVD from '07 would bring the year to a close.

My path has taken another turn in '09, away from Outformation and towards my life in New Orleans. I'm playing a ton, and an apprentice in the craft of piano rebuilding and tuning. I am still traveling some, throughout the Southeast and Colorado primarily, working on my house, and spending time with my wife. I have immersed myself in the music scene down in New Orleans, learning and growing, and trying to add whatever positive energy I can add to the rebuilding. I don't know what the future holds, but it's great to be living my dream.

Classically trained from the age of nine, CR Gruver has traveled down many roads on his journey through the world of music. Raised by music-loving and supportive parents he was introduced to many forms of music, including big-band and jazz, eventually drifting towards rock, blues, and R&B. He enjoyed growing local success in the Philadelphia area through the '90's, and wound up in the Southeast, touring extensively for a couple years. This would lead CR to Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Angie Aparo, who gave CR his first experience with a major label (Arista Records) and the modern-rock/pop world. His keyboard rig changed from piano and Hammond organ to synthesizers, triggers, and sequencers, adding a whole new world of knowledge to his expanding arsenal. Early morning radio shows, television appearances, and intensive van-touring for 18 months as the keyboardist for Aparo taught CR valuable lessons about the workings of the music industry and would bring him finally to Denver Colorado in 2000.

CR spent a short 6 months with jam-band Mountain of Venus touring the New England states, and returned to Denver in 2001. He spent 5 years in Denver, and in that time went from relative obscurity to becoming one of the most respected and sought-after keyboardists in Colorado. He sharpened his skills even more playing numerous styles with a wide variety of musicians, locally and nationally, including Leo Nocentelli, Jimmy Herring, P-nut Daniels, Bernie Worrell, Jeff Pevar, Jo Jo Herman and Eric McFadden. He was a founder and member of Denver power-trio Polytoxic, hitting the road again for a year-and-a-half throughout the Southeast and West coast. Polytoxic went on to win "Best Jam/Improv Band, Westord Showcase" award two years in a row (2005, 2006), "Best Jam Band" (Marquee magazine, 2006) and the Westword Magazine's award of "Best Live Concert, 2005" for their re-enactment of The Band's "Last Waltz". The experience with Polytoxic, in which CR played left-hand bass and right-hand keys, honed his skills even further. He took on the roles of management, booking, and accounting, which led to starting his production company, Tabima Enterprises, in 2005.

While in Denver he was spotted by Atlanta-based Outformation in 2003, and began sitting in with them at shows across the country. Playing places over the next couple years like New Orleans, and festivals like Bonnaroo, Outformation brought CR even further into the light as a legitimate member of the music community. Splitting his time between Outformation and Polytoxic, 2006 brought more travelling and higher-profile opportunities. The disbanding of Polytoxic gave CR more time to play with Outformation, and their September '06 tour ended with a two-night stand opening for Widespread Panic at the Charlottesville Pavilion.

The road turned to New Orleans at the end of '06, where CR is now a resident. He joined Outformation full-time to start '07, playing over 130 shows on the road and many at home in the Big Easy. 2008 was more of the same, touring nationally and building a reputation in New Orleans. By the end of '08 CR realized that his path and that of Outformation were beginning to go separate ways, so he played his last Outformation show on New Years Eve and is now ful-time in New Orleans.

CR's plan is to immerse himself in the music and rhythms that are unique to New Orleans, while continuing to tour nationally on a smaller scale with various acts. He has taken on learning the craft of antique piano rebuilding/tuning, music is always his first love and he lives his life upholding his motto of "Trying to make the world a better-sounding place".
Band Members
me, myself, and I
Favorite Bands
Almost anything that makes me grit my teeth and make the "lemon-sucking" face. If it's got genuine passion, and speaks from a place of truth and honesty, it's been an influence to me. I can only hope to even remotely live up to my influences. Actual names are too numerous to mention.
 
 
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Website: www.crgruver.com

 
 
 
 
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