Michael Grigoni

Michael Grigoni is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in dobro, lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, he now lives in Durham, North Carolina.

He has released several instrumental albums on Other Songs, and more recently, two albums on 12k, Mount Carmel and Slow Machines (with Stephen Vitiello). His latest album, Earth Awhile, is a collaboration with Chihei Hatakeyama and Stephen Vitiello on White Paddy Mountain.

His music combines electric and acoustic textures, field recordings, and dense layering techniques. While he seeks to display the personality of the steel guitar in ways both familiar and strange, he also creates sonic landscapes in which the personality of the instrument is buried, at times to the point of erasure. His music has been described as “cinematic pastoral” (Stationary Travels), “meditative, evolving, expectant; a kind of slow Americana” (Le Devoir), and capable of “holding you at a deliberative, transformational distance” (Indy Week). NPR Music included Slow Machines among its top ten albums of February 2020.

He credits his musical sensibilities to his graduate studies in ethnomusicology and theology as well as to the various places he has lived and traveled. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant Award by the Durham Arts Council. He holds a PhD in religion from Duke University and teaches at Wake Forest University.

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