Forecastle X: Interview with Rachel Grimes

Pianist Rachel Grimes, alongside the rest of King's Daughters and Sons.

The 10th annual Forecastle Festival is imminent. And it will be massive.

Straight-up Louisville post-rock but with a dash of wooded folk and oft-haunting dual vocals, King’s Daughters and Sons are just one of two avenues for checking out the stylings of Rachel Grimes this weekend. Not melancholy nor particularly joyful, KDAS’ knowing pop-hymnals are gorgeous in a ‘slowly wilting flower’ kind of way and yet consistently willing to build towards scrambling, milieu-drenched, righteous pay-offs.

A classical pianist and composer by trade, Rachel Grimes will follow-up Saturday’s King’s Daughters and Sons performance with her own solo set on Sunday. Warm, green, sometimes dripping with serenity and at others fraught with contemplation, Grimes’ solo work is one of the greatest testaments to Forecastle’s continued commitment towards true diversity of talent. And it comes from our own backyard.’s Forecastle X preview coverage continues today as Louisville-native Rachel Grimes speaks to the differences between solo and collaborative efforts, whether or not a city can have a “sound” and her favorite places to perform.


You’re getting ready for not one, but two performances this weekend. Both solo and as part of King’s Daughters and Sons. Do you tend to approach and/or prepare for acts, whether solo or ensemble, in different ways?

Yes – for the solo piano music, I spend a good bit of time practicing and trying to maintain and improve my technique. I develop new music through improvisation usually, then gradually get it into a final form through practice, then eventually write it down. For the band, we usually start together with a jam on an idea, then break out into smaller groups, like guitars and piano, or bass and drums. Usually we will spend an evening at someone’s house just building a song structure and vocal melody lines and harmonies, Joe writes some lyrics along the way, then we bring it all back into the practice space.

I would say that both approaches involve a lot of trying it out, making a demo, putting it down for a bit, and picking it back up again.

King’s Daughter and Sons in particular has been described as “purely Louisville” in its sound. How do you feel about that descriptor and what are your thoughts in general towards the local music scene and/or sound if you can identity one?

Surely one good reason we sound Louisville is that we have all spent most of our lives here breathing the air and drinking the water. And listening to the incredible variety of music that the live scene has to offer. People have been discussing this notion in the abstract for quite some time. I really don’t think there is a specific sound or style to Louisville’s indie scene, except “doing it our way” is THE way around here.

Forecastle prides itself in both the diversity of its line-up and the opportunity to highlight the best of local/regional talent. When did you first get the wind of playing at this year’s festival and what do you think the event means for our city?

When I heard back in the winter that MMJ was going to be headlining and co-curating the return of Forecastle, I thought that was a wonderful idea. I found out that we were invited in February. Watching and reading about the Jacket swooping around the world and making so many people so happy over the last many years has been such a joy. Who better to bring their ideas about making this new iteration of the Forecastle Festival truly local and celebratory of the unique place that is our river town. I love the idea of the Louisville Village, the incorporation of so many local artists, and the excellent setting of the banks of the Ohio River.

You’ve played gigs all over the world. Where has been your favorite place to play and how do you feel when you get the chance to come play back at home?

I have had so many rich and wonderful experiences from a jam-packed room in Cork, to gorgeous re-built church in Dresden, to a rock club in Palermo playing with a chamber orchestra where we barely fit on the stage. Truly, being a traveling musician is the best way to see the world – talking with people and trying to interpret local dialects, or just making do with very limited French or smiles and beers, eating amazing food, and flashing through a new town every day on the train. This Sunday will be the first outdoor rock festival show I have played as a solo pianist – sure glad that is going to be in my hometown.

Are there any fellow acts this weekend that you’re most excited to check out? Any you’ve got your eye on for that next big collaborative project?

I am looking forward to Pres. Hall Jazz Band, Everest, Beach House because they will have a drummer, Wax Fang, Andrew Bird, MMJ, and Ben Sollee and so many folks I have not heard before. So many people it would be a fun to collaborate with, we’ll see….


Forecastle X makes landfall in Louisville this coming weekend, July 13-15th and’s coverage will be continuing all week, and well into the next. Stayed clicked for additional interviews as we count down the days alongside live-blogging from ground-zero all weekend. And there’s much more festival information available on


Additional festival coverage:

Forecastle X: Interview with Wax Fang’s Scott Carney

Forecastle X: Holly Weyler talks of Local Love and Killer Jams

Forecastle Festival preview: An interview with Kentucky’s Sleeper Agent is forthcoming

My Morning Jacket’s Two-Tone Tommy talks about curating Louisville’s Forecastle Festival, band members’ solo projects, Grammy nods and what’s next for MMJ.


Chris Ritter is a Louisville-native freelance writer, journalist and blogger enthusiastic about all things entertainment, media and technology.

More articles by me here

Chris Ritter <<<< <<<<