Tag Archives: Walt Richardson

Grant Woods at 3 Leaf Recording Studio.

Grant Woods aims to fix Arizona’s image problem with music

Grant Woods and Walt Richardson

Grant Woods and Walt Richardson

You don’t need a beard or bed head to make a musical statement these days. In fact, you can be the former attorney general of Arizona and drop an album to save Arizona if you want to.

And that’s exactly what former AG (1991-1999) Grant Woods has done.

Woods grew up in the ‘70s — the heyday of songwriters Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Kris Kristofferson. (Grant is also inspired by Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen.) Music has always been important to the former Arizona attorney general, who notably had Simon & Garfunkel lyrics displayed beneath a photo of him and a man named Preacher in his office while AG.

An avid writer, Woods decided to pick up the guitar about 10 years ago to start fine-tuning his songwriting. Now, it has materialized into a 10-track album featuring Arizona musicians.
It wasn’t a great master plan, he says.

“Everyone was excited to be involved in something that reflected positively on Arizona and showed us for what we really are, which is a diverse, open state,” Woods says. “The arts are very important here. Music is very important here. In that world, they’re about inclusion rather than exclusion, supportive rather than divisive. That’s what Arizona is about…If you listen to (the album) and see who is involved, it makes the point.”

Grant Woods and Nils Lofgren

Grant Woods and Nils Lofgren

The album, titled “The Project,” because a better name never came up, featured Nils Lofgren, Gin Blossoms’ Scott Johnson, Hans Olson and Walt Richardson as well as a few less established standout musicians such as Blaine Long. Like the guest musicians, the genres are unique to the performers who were able to take some artistic licenses in style.

“Everybody (in Arizona) is from someplace else. I’m not, but everyone else is,” Woods says. “That maybe doesn’t give you a distinctive sound, but it gives you a variety and depth other places may not have. We’re lucky here.”

The album was recorded at Sean Cooney’s 3 Leaf Recording Studio in Phoenix and is being released on Bright Angel Records. Though all 10 songs were written by Woods, he doesn’t appear anywhere on “The Project.”

“I avoided singing or playing,” he says. “The playing would have been a bad joke with these people in there. For me to pick up a guitar with Scotty Johnson or Nils Lofgren would have been the equivalent of me picking up a bat and pinch hit at a Diamondbacks game.”

However, the chance to hear Woods perform one of his originals isn’t completely out in left field. He’s hosting a charity concert at Orpheum Theatre on September 18, where the musicians on the album will perform — and are urging Woods to do so as well. The concert will benefit the Arizona School for the Arts, attended by Woods’ daughter. Tickets are $22.

Quick hits by Grant Woods:

One song every person needs to hear: “Me and Bobby McGee” – Kris Kristofferson

“The Project” is best paired with: SOL Mexican beer

The album is available through online streaming services and to download via iTunes.


Former AG Grant Woods releases new CD, plans concert

As Arizona’s Attorney General during the 1990s, Grant Woods used indictments, lawsuits, and legislation to upset the status quo. Now, instead of government, the former Arizona top prosecutor is turning to music to create change.

The Project, a collaboration of Arizona musical all-stars performing 10 of Woods’ original songs, will be released today. Performers on The Project, each of whom volunteered his or her time, include Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Gin Blossoms guitarist Scott Johnson,Lawrence Zubia of the Pistoleros, Al Ortiz, Francine Reed and Ray Herndon (both touring with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band), Michael Nitro, Alice Tatum, Walt Richardson, Blaine Long, Mindy Harris and Hans Olson.

The Project is available beginning today on iTunes and onAmazon. The album art was featured on the NASDAQ billboard in New York’s Times Square today.

Woods, who served as Arizona Attorney General from 1991 to 1999, calls The Project an effort to change his home state’s national image. All profits from The Project will benefit theArizona School for the Arts. The Project was produced by Cindy Standage and recorded at Sean Cooney’s 3 Leaf Recording Studio in Phoenix. The album is being released on Bright Angel Records and will be available for purchase on iTunes, CD Baby and other online music outlets.

“Arizona has a rich music history that is diverse and inclusive, but unfortunately that has been overshadowed by numerous controversies,” explains Woods, who remains a high profile political and community leader in the state. “Once word spread about The Project, musicians and singers jumped at the chance to be part of this effort to showcase Arizona talent and change our image. This has been a labor of love for everyone involved.”

A benefit concert will be held Friday Sept. 18, 2015, at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. All available musicians who performed songs for The Project will participate, along with surprise guests.

Tickets will be available for $22 plus applicable fees beginning May 18th atphoenix.ticketforce.com.

Follow The Project on Facebook and Twitter, and learn more about it atwww.theprojectaz.com.


Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Events Invite Guests to Shake Up the Week and Stir In Some Fun

While temperatures remain chilly in much of the country, things are heating up with the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain events. The award-winning resort is beckoning guests to shake the late-winter blues with a mix of creative cocktail classes and live music that mark the return of two popular, high-demand programs, Mixology 101 and Sundays in Paradise. The resort has also unveiled a revamped menu for the daily premium happy hour in Paradise Valley, The Pour.

On Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., Sanctuary’s expert mixologists will host Mixology 101 at jade bar, teaching participants to craft a selection of cocktails inspired by a different spirit each week. At $30 per person, theMixology 101 schedule is limited to 10 people per class and includes:

February 16: Operation Gin – From Jenever to Tanqueray 10

February 23: Whiskey Run – Scotches, Irish and Bourbons

March 2: Brandy Concoctions – Cognacs and the classics

March 9: Vodka Experiment – Infusions and other elixirs

March 16: Hollywood Cocktails – From Marilyn to Sinatra

March 23: Tequila Time – Agave treats from Mexico

March 30: Tiki Hour – Rum from around the world

Sundays in Paradise gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy Paradise Valley’s lush scenery and the live tunes of musicians like Andre Delano and Khani Cole from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a cover charge of $5 ($15 for a special engagement on March 10). Gourmet Picnic Packages are also available for $55 ($65 on March 10), including admission for two, a bottle of wine, choice of appetizer, and preferred lawn seating with a blanket for the afternoon. This season’s artist line-up includes:

February 17: Andre Delano

February 24: Walt Richardson

March 3: Sugahbeat

March 10: Matt Rogers

March 17: Khani Cole

March 24: Mel Bridges

Also, check in for Sanctuary’s popular daily happy hour, The Pour, serving up a brand-new menu featuring wines and spirits, cool cocktails, and savory small plates by celebrity chef Beau MacMillan. Everything is $6! The Pour is held daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Sanctuary’s jade bar and 10 p.m. to midnight at edge bar.

For more information, please call (480) 607-2300 or visit sanctuaryaz.com.