Longtime LCAD Liberal Art Professor, Grant Hier, Entered for Two Grammy Award

Grant Hier, Longtime LCAD Liberal Art Professor and Poet Laureate of the City of Anaheim, California and Louie Pérez, singer/songwriter from the band Los Lobos, have announced that Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel has been entered for consideration in two separate categories for the 62ndAnnual Grammy Awards(2019): Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and either Best Folk or Americana or Spoken Word Recording (to be determined by the Grammy committees in September).Voting begins on September 25th, with the Final Nominations announced November 20th, and the network telecast airing live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26th, 2020. The album is an ambitious collaboration of spoken word and music, recorded on two continents by 50 actors, artists, and musicians—some on their smartphones as voice memos or on hand-held digital recorders—as a tribute to the words and music of Louie Pérez. There are 18 song covers and 30 spoken word performances of Pérez’ poems, stories, and song lyrics—including unique “Aztlán Alchemy” erasure poetry, created by Hier from Pérez’ lyrics, specially for this project.


Joyride: Friends Take the Wheelwas conceived as a companion piece to accompany the new book, Good Morning, Aztlán: The Words, Pictures & Songs Of Louie Pérez, a retrospective of Pérez’ creative career as painter and wordsmith, with more than 200 pages of selected lyrics, stories, poems, drawings and paintings. Hier first floated the idea that Pérez record himself reading some pieces from Good Morning, Aztlán, and then have that burned as a special CD for a limited-edition package, with the proceeds benefitingTia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore, the foundation founded by Luis J. Rodriguez, former Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Pérez liked that idea, but wanted it to be his friends’ voices that brought his words to life for the CD. Hier suggested that smartphones could be used for those recordings, so that people could read from wherever they happened to be in the world, and then simply email them in, which would also expedite the production so that the CD could coincide with the book’s release. “We talked about how the delivery and emotional truth of the performances would be most important thing, trumping any concerns for pristine recordings,“ Hier explains. “In fact, those bumps and ambient background sounds might make for an even more immediate and intimate experience, like you were there in the room, especially if the production embraced that as part of the aesthetic of the project.” Pérez immediately asked Hier to be the first to record a piece for the CD, and started reaching out to other friends to read, but soon musicians asked if they could do musical a cover instead. Hier then suggested that Pérez call the album Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel, with the subtitle reading: “An unexpected side trip. The words and music of Louie Pérez, driven by his friends while he slept.” Pérez said to Hier: “I suppose you know you’re the writer and producer of this CD.” Hier then reached out to George Saunders, who had earlier that year invited Hier to voice a character for the audiobook version of his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. That recording, which features David Sedaris and Nick Offerman, later won the 2018 Audie Award for Audiobook of the year. “I saw some similarities between that project and this one,“ Hier explains. “Both involve a very large supporting cast whose parts are threaded together to create this chorus of diverse voices. The overall affect, I think, is a fresh and compelling portrait of our time and place. It was a beautiful thing to hear the diversity of accents and deliveries, then weave them together into a cohesive narrative journey. Of course, the material was solid. Louie has contributed much to the literature of our time, and to the Great American Songbook.”


Joyrideis about the length of a feature film, and just as cinematic. When listened to from start to finish, an American landscape emerges—from the Aztec roots of “27 Spanishes” (the story of the conquest of Mexico told in 115 seconds) and the Nuhuatl language in “Wake Up Dolores” (echoing the global story of diaspora and finding home), to porches, streets, drive-in movies, and drives across country. Tracks were recorded from such intriguing locations as a rainy porch in Athens, Georgia, and City Terrace, East L.A. (in the still hours of the morning with a rooster crowing far off down the street), and Hier kept that home-made ambience in, even choosing to include false starts and fumblings to shut the recorder off, which clearly added to the level of l’audio vérité. There are stories of myths and migrations, of survival and place, of finding identity and making a home. Readers contributing to this project include: George Saunders,Ser Anzoategui,Luís Alberto Urrea, Rose Portillo, Diane Rodriguez, David Greenberger, Luis Torres, the performance troupe Culture Clash, the Poets Laureate Rodriguez and Hier, and many others. Musicians include: David Hidalgo, John Doe, Rick Trevino,Syd Straw, Hahn Rowe (Somatic), Mitchell Froom, Vonda Shepard, Max and Josh Baca, Althea Grace, and the bands Quetzal, Cambalache, and Making Movies, among others.




Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel  


ACT 1 (53:43)


1.Intro • Guy Vickers (0:19)

2.“The Road to Gila Bend” ♫David Hidalgo(3:21)

3.“The Road to Gila Bend” Luis Alberto Urrea(1:08)

4.“Wake Up Dolores” Laura Andrade Padilla Dent (1:11)

5.“Same Brown Earth” Grant Hier(1:16)

6.“Be Still” ♫Quetzal(5:03)

7.“The Valley” Luis Alberto Urrea(0:57)

8.“Lagoon” Luis Torres(0:56)

9.“Song of the Sun” ♫Doyle Bramhall II(3:40)

10.“Tony and Maria” Luis Alberto Urrea(1:22)

11.“The Hardest Time” George Saunders(1:10)

12.“Made to Break Your Heart” ♫Syd Straw, Donald Edgar Piper, Hahn Rowe and Michel Delory (3:46)

13.“Reva’s House” Eileen Galindo(1:00)

14.“La Venganza de Los Pelados“ ♫Making Movies(4:42)

15.“Margie’s Heart” Rose Portillo(1:26)

16.“La Pistola y El Corazón“♫Josh Baca and Max Baca(3:37)

17.“Ironsides” Ser Anzoategui(1:23)

18.“Rudy’s Party” Herbert Sigüenza(2:02)


20."Good Morning, Aztlán" Luis J. Rodriguez(1:53)

21.“The Purple Moon” Grant Hier(1:33)

22.“Forever Nightshade Mary” ♫Wesley Stace(3:04)

23."Crayon Sun" Luis Torres(0:36)

24."Chinese Surprise" ♫Vonda Shepardand Mitchell Froom(1:11)

25."Paletero" Ser Anzoategui(1:31)

26.“If” ♫Mitchell Froom(2:10)


ACT 2 (1:03:53)


1."Mustard" ♫Edward David Anderson(3:14)

2.“27 Spanishes” Diane Rodriguez(1:55)

3."Holy Hell" Ginger McBride (2:10)

4.“The Circus Comes to Town” George Saunders(0:56)

5.“Two Janes” Diane Rodriguez(1:32)

6."If You Were Only Here Tonight" ♫John Doe(3:10)

7."Don't Disappear" Ric Salinas(4:52)

8."Short Side of Nothing" ♫LPIII and Ruby Rosas(3:03)

9."In 1964" Richard Montoya(2:55)

10."Father" Luis J. Rodriguez(2:25)

11."Saint Behind the Glass" ♫Althea Grace(2:42)

12."Viking"David Greenberger(0:34)

13."Little Things" ♫Jackie Greene(4:04)

14."Cuca's Blues" Rose Portillo(0:58)

15."The Long Goodbye" ♫Rick Trevino(3:18)

16."Angels With Dirty Faces" Grant Hier(0:35)

17.“One Time One Night" Luis J. Rodriguez(2:18)

18."Will the Wolf Survive?" Luis Torres(1:09)

19."Gates of Gold" ♫John McCauley(3:43)

20.“A Matter of Time” ♫David Hidalgo(4:14)


     • End Credits Guy Vickers (7:38)

     • “A Matter of Time: A Very Personal Remembrance” Mary Pérez(6:14)


Louie Pérez is an American songwriter, percussionist and guitarist for the multiple Grammy Award-winning band Los Lobos. Pérez songs have been showcased on every Los Lobos recording, beginning with And A Time To Danceand continuing through the band’s most recent album, Gates of Gold. Pérez also co-wrote songs with his writing partner David Hidalgo for two critically praised albums by Latin Playboys. In addition, Pérez wrote songs for Tony Kushner’s 1994 adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwanat the La Jolla Playhouse in California. He co-wrote the book for About Productions’ play Evangeline, the Queen of Make Believewhich premiered at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was Music Director on the film Carlos Almaráz: Playing With Fire. Many recording artists—including Waylon Jennings, Jerry Garcia, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello—have covered Pérez’s songs. His prose work has been published in a number of periodicals, including the Los Angeles Times Magazine, LA Weeklyand the New York arts journal BOMB. As a visual artist, he has exhibited his paintings and sculpture in many prominent galleries and museums in Los Angeles and New York.



Grant Hier is the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Anaheim and full Professor of English and Creative Writing at Laguna College of Art and Design. His book Untended Gardenwas awarded Prize Americana and nominated for both an American Book Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His last two poetry collections are The Difference Betweenand Similitude, and he has two more books forthcoming in the next year. Hier is recipient of both the Nancy Dew Taylor Prize and the Kick Prize for poetry, and his works have been widely anthologized. He is the poetry editor for Chiron Review. A book of flash fiction, California Continuum, which was co-written with the Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, John Brantingham, was published earlier this year. Hier also wrote the liner notes to the new Los Lobos album Llegó Navidad(forthcoming in October 2019), and he is the writer and producer of the double-CD Joyride: Friends Take the Wheel. In addition to writing, Hier is a musical artist, visual artist, former graphic designer, and art director. As a voice actor, he contributed the part of Stanley Hohner for the audiobook version of the New York Timesbestseller, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel, by George Saunders. That recording won the 2018 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year. More at www.ghier.com