Cypress Grove

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Artist Bio

Cypress Grove was born in London into a musical family. His father was a professional jazz drummer who at one time played with The Chris Barber band. In the late-1950s and early-1960s, Chris Barber was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of seminal blues artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters. Cypress was taught by his father to play drums at an early age. But by the time he turned 16, his interest had switched to guitar.

His infatuation with pre-war acoustic blues continued to develop, which led to a chance encounter with Jeffrey Lee Pierce from The Gun Club. Jeffrey had a real passion for roots music of any kind, so the two hit it off immediately. Jeffrey and Cypress started to regularly jam together on acoustic guitars in Cypress’ bedroom. Jeffrey eventually invited Cypress to collaborate with him on his long planned album of roots material – an album Jeffrey had been putting off for many years, as he could not find the right person to do it with – until he met Cypress. The album was released in 1992 – “Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee and Cypress Grove with Willie Love”. Jeffrey and Cypress went on to tour the album on a handful of occasions, both with a band and as an acoustic duo.

October 1994. Jeffrey and Cypress are filmed for Henri-Jean Debon’s “Hard Times Killin’ Floor Blues” film- featuring Nick Cave. The film was eventually released in 2008.

Jeffrey and Cypress started to rehearse material for a follow up album. Jeffrey invited Cypress to join The Gun Club. Both events were destined not to happen. In mid 1995 Jeffrey returned to the States. Cypress takes him to the airport. It is the last time they will ever see each other. Jeffrey died in March 1996.

After Jeffrey’s death, Cypress moved to France for some years. Traveling the entire country, playing various gigs, festivals and radio sessions.

In 2006, having returned to London, Cypress discovered a tape of Jeffrey and himself rehearsing some songs that Jeffrey had written. These were plainly works in progress, and while the quality was deemed too poor for release, Cypress started to record the songs properly and invited a number of musicians to help him complete them, including Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell, Primal Scream, Mark Stewart and Lydia Lunch to name but a few. This series of collaborations became known as The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project and resulted in what will eventually be a sequence of four albums – volume three will be released in May 2014. Isobel Campbell was so delighted with her duet with Mark Lanegan on volume one that she added the song to her live set, and invited Cypress to perform it live on stage with her and Mark at her London shows in 2008/9.It was around this time that Cypress and Lydia Lunch decided to expand on their highly successful pairing during the JLP sessions and started recording what would eventually become “A Fistful Of Desert Blues”.

Artist Press Photos

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