Larry Graham can wow you with some classic old school hits and the legendary former Sly & the Family Stone bass player and leader of the equally iconic Graham Central Station band can break you off some new funk.
“You will definitely hear the classics like ‘One in a Million You,” and some things from the new album, ‘Raise Up,’” said Graham, who after a month of jamming in Europe, is set to swing through the Northeast.
Those stops include a busy week that features a concert at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis on Wednesday,
Larry Graham & Graham Central Station
August 26, 2015. The show begins at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. and, there’s little doubt that playing Rams Head means bringing your A-game.
“I always try to change things up,” said Graham, whose biggest hits include favorites like, “One in a Million You,” which reached the top of the R&B charts in 1980; “When We Get Married,” and “Just Be My Lady.”
Graham also knows that his loyal following and music lovers everywhere can’t get enough of the hits he created as a member of Sly in the Family Stone.
“People like to hear Sly and the early Graham Central Station as well as the current stuff from my solo album so I do mix it up and give a little here and there,” he said.
Among the more interesting things that happen on a Larry Graham stage is that everyone gets into the act. He often allows fans on stage to join him and his wife of 40 years, Tina, provides a soulful and crowd pleasing voice.
“In the 40 years Tina and I have been married, we’ve only spent two days a part,” Graham said. “We travel everywhere together and we enjoy doing the show and we really love after the show when we meet the audience, sign autographs and give them a spiritual magazine to look at.”
Also, there’s always the element of surprise, as a chance exists that a special guest like Bootsie Collins or even Prince could join Graham on stage.
Graham has performed and recorded over the last two decades with Prince, the superstar who recently appeared for a concert in Baltimore. He performs on Prince’s live DVD concert film, “Rave un2 the Year 2000.”
It should be noted also that Graham’s nephew is Aubrey Graham— better known as Drake, the famed actor and rap music star.
Born in Beaumont, Texas on August 14, 1946, Graham began preparing for life as a performer at age five when he learned how to tap dance. A short time later, he learned to play the piano and joined his high school band. Instead of the piano, however, he opted to play drums. At 15, Graham joined his mother’s band, “The Dell Graham Trio,” playing guitar while his mom played piano. It wasn’t long after that, Graham’s mother decided to change the trio into a duo with just a bass guitar and a piano player.
“I compensated for not having a bass drum by thumping the strings and I made up for not having a snare drum by plucking them,” he said of the unique “slapping technique,” he made famous.
Graham, who calls his mother his biggest influence, joined Sly & the Family Stone in 1967 and helped the band record its first album, “A Whole New Thing.” Their sophomore release in 1968, “Dance to the Music,” produced several top hits, including the title track and, “Everybody Is a Star.”
Graham left the group in 1973 to form Graham Central Station. In 1979, Graham launched a solo career and became known for his soulful ballads, earning a Grammy nomination for “One in a Million You.” In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Sly & the Family Stone.
“That was really a family. A lot of people don’t know it but Sly was always a great guy who treated everyone well,” Graham said.
Rams Head on Stage is located at 33 West Street in Annapolis. For tickets to the Wednesday, August 26 show, visit, www.ramsheadonstage.com, or www.ticketfly.com/event/800405-larry-graham-graham-central-annapolis/.