A Sit-Down Chat About "Sail Another Day" w/ Nathan Nix

Grisbee formed when singer-songwriter Jeremy Grisbee and his wife moved to Houston, TX from Springfield, MO in 2012 and reconnected with his old friend David Lascoe, the frontman for fêted Houston band Poor Pilate. With David as his entry point into the Houston scene, Jeremy began booking solo shows around town.

As he made inroads, Jeremy hit it off with guitarist Seth Plemmons, who was looking for a project to join and encouraged him to start a band. When bassist Jack Gordon and drummer Gus Alvarado, formerly of Houston bands including hard rock group Snow Plow, came into the picture, Grisbee the band was born.

They immediately set about rearranging the songs that would eventually become debut album Sail Another Day, tracks originally crafted to be performed solo.

"With a lot of the music I played, I wanted to make it as interesting as possible with just the acoustic guitar, so it wasn’t just your basic chord progressions,” Jeremy says.

While it had worked for him in the Ozarks, surrounded by a rich history of folk and Appalachian music, he knew a new city and new musicians meant a chance for the songs to evolve into something different. When he began meeting players, he made it a point to emphasize collaboration.

"I never wanted it to be like, ‘Here’s my project,’” Jeremy says. "My goal was to have a band." 

In particular, Jack and Gus’ background playing heavy music brought a new energy and muscle to the songs, which was something Jeremy welcomed.

"They bring a different flare to folk rock music, a different perspective,” Jeremy says.

While Grisbee sorted through the songs and adapted them to the strengths of the new players, Jeremy asked vocalist and mandolin player Kate Wasserman to join the band after hearing her sing at a local venue. In addition to being a talented singer and songwriter in her own right, Kate brings a femininity to the songs that contrasts well and adds depth and dimension, continuing the theme of experimentation and evolution.

With a solid core in place, Grisbee began tracking, mostly on tape, with Paul Cox at 226 Recordings in the historic Heights area of Houston.

For Jeremy, the songs on Sail Another Day are a document of period of time in a relationship that featured extreme highs and lows. When it came to the lows, though, he aimed to find the silver lining in each experience rather than wallow in misery like many of his contemporaries.

"I don’t think any of these songs are strictly emotional,” Jeremy says. "They weren’t a pity party. It was more processing how do I get out of these emotions, how do I become ok with it?"

Songs like “Bargaining Floor,” about a couple working through their difficulties, and “Love Has Sung Its Song” are both products of these rough patches and seek lessons in experiences that were miserable in the moment.

"I wanted it to be something that was more true in the long term, something I grew out of and was able to keep,” Jeremy says. “(Songwriting) is a way of processing with the intention of getting closure or a peace about it. The lessons I learned from these songs are something I can sing over and over."

In the album’s closing track, “You Know How to Pick ‘Em Well,” Jeremy pulls from an ancient mariner's proverb — Red sky at night, sailors’ delight / Red sky at morning, sailors take warning — to illustrate the wisdom in seeking perspective.

“Many times, the bravest ones are those who don’t go out in that storm,” Jeremy says. “The ones who say, ‘We need to put a pause on this and figure it out.’"

The ultimate goal of this wise approach is summed up in the album’s title, which are also the last words sung on the album: Sail Another Day.

"I realized recently that I write really optimistic songs,” Jeremy says. "I don’t wanna ever end on a sour note. It’s not about reliving a terrible moment. And the songs that were really hard were the roughest times I could think of in my life. It’s about saying, 'We’ve lived through this and these are the lessons I’ve learned from these terrible moments.’"