Anna Graceman played her first Alaska Folk Festival 10 years ago at age 9. This year she’s back from Nashville to take the stage at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center Friday night. (Courtesy Photo | Anna Graceman)

Anna Graceman played her first Alaska Folk Festival 10 years ago at age 9. This year she’s back from Nashville to take the stage at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center Friday night. (Courtesy Photo | Anna Graceman)

Alaska Folk Festival draws singer-songwriter back home

She played her first Folk Fest at 9, a lot has happened since

It’s been 10 years since Anna Graceman played her first Alaska Folk Festival, and a lot has happened.

Since that first Folk Fest at age 9, Graceman has appeared on the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” competed on “America’s Got Talent,” moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting full time and participated in an all-female songwriting camp hosted by Mary J. Blige.

[Do you know the story behind this year’s folk fest art?]

“I’ve been in Nashville for about five years now,” Graceman said in an interview with the Capital City Weekly. “I really enjoy it. There’s music everywhere, so I’m able to perform live all the time. Also, there’s just an incredible writing scene as far as writers of all different genres. It’s just a really cool environment to be in. I’ve really been able to grow here.”

The 19-year-old singer-songwriter was back in town Friday to take the stage at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center with her family band, Graceman.

A family trip to Juneau last year set the wheels in motion that led to this year’s return trip to the capital city.

Graceman, a band of former Juneauites, will play Friday night at the Juneau Arts & Culture Centerl for Alaska Folk Festival. The band features, from left to right, Landon Graceman, 16; Anna Graceman, 19; and Allie Graceman, 14. (Courtesy Photo | Anna Graceman)

Graceman, a band of former Juneauites, will play Friday night at the Juneau Arts & Culture Centerl for Alaska Folk Festival. The band features, from left to right, Landon Graceman, 16; Anna Graceman, 19; and Allie Graceman, 14. (Courtesy Photo | Anna Graceman)

“What really brought the idea into my mind is my family and I went back to visit last summer, and we played a couple gigs there,” Graceman said. “It made us think, ‘Well, Folk Fest is going to be coming up.’”

She said she was excited to play, but also happy to see Juneau’s open skies and natural beauty.

“I’m very excited to go back and see that and drink the fresh water,” Graceman said.

When she performs Friday, she will be joined by her brother, Landon, 16; and sister, Allie, 14.

They played both covers and new compositions.

“We’ll be doing a mix,” Graceman said ahead of the concert. “Mostly originals, and a lot of the originals are songs that aren’t recorded, so it’s special because we really only play them live.”

Graceman cranks out new music at a prodigious clip.

“I try to release new music every month,” she said. “I stress myself out about it, but I’ve made a deal with myself that for a year I’m going to put a new song out every month as well as a video. I’m just kind of testing myself, and also I have all these songs I’ve written over the past couple of years. I really want people to hear the songs, so it’s every single month.

She said the music she makes with her siblings tends to favor a throwback sound with a little bit of Beale Street flavor.

“The family band is soulful rock,” Graceman said. “We have some blues influences, and the way that I write songs is full of stories. It’s energetic, and it has some Memphis sound going on.”

She said that sound is also present in the solo music she regularly records and releases.

“My solo stuff is very soulful as well,” Graceman said. “It’s organic with real instruments and little bit of grit.”

Graceman said using analog instruments and striving for a classic sound has always been a point of emphasis for her music.

“I’ve always wanted anything that I put out to be recreated live,” Graceman said. “Real music is what stands the test of time and not being stamped with a certain sound that was popular at a time keeps your song alive.”

“I want my music to be listened to 20 years from now,” she added. “Even if the songs kind of change genres, that’s what I’m always thinking of. Keeping it classic.”

More in News

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Nov. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

A sign seen near Twin Lakes on Sept. 17 encourages residents to wear cloth face coverings while in public. Health officials are asking Alaskans for help with contact tracing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Health officials seek help with virus notification

Recent surge created a contact tracing backlog.

Most Read