Granville Automatic is Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins. The duo write songs pulled from a shared love of good storytelling, horses, history and war. Granville Automatic is named after a 19th-century typewriter: Vanessa is a collector. With sonic references like Lyle Lovett, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson, Granville Automatic has created a quiet and lyrical sound devoted to telling stories from the past. After writing together first in the spring of 2009, the pair has more than 100 songs.
The band's self-titled debut studio album is now available. Recorded at The Station House in Echo Park, Los Angeles, with producer Ted Russell Kamp, the record features 11 songs including “Comanche” (about the horse who survived the Battle of Little Big Horn), “Hazel Creek” (about a town flooded when the TVA built Fontana Dam), “Blood and Gold” (the story of the mustang), “The Groundskeeper” (about a Civil War ghost seen at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee), “Flying Mercury” (about the 19th-century Pepin & Breschard Circus), "Carolina Amen" (about a solider lost in the Civil War battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse), “Copenhill” (about Sherman’s burning of Atlanta) and “Shores of Maryland” – as well as live favorites “Never On A Sunday”, “Tacoma Coal Line” and “Don’t Come to Tennessee”.
The studio band included Kamp on bass, drummer Jim Doyle, guitarist/pedal steel player John Schreffler, Jr. and Bethany Dick-Olds on fiddle and vocals. Legendary harmonica player Mickey Raphael also joined in.
Also look for the iTunes exclusive Live from Sun Studio, an eight-song set recorded live at Memphis’ historic Sun Studio and released in 2012.
The band has appeared on the PBS television programs Sun Studio Sessions and WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour - as well as Nashville Public Radio's Live at the Bluebird Café (their photograph now hangs on the wall at the famous venue).
Chosen as the 2012 Composers in Residence at Seaside, Fla.’s prestigious Escape to Create program, the pair spent a month in residence there, writing An Army Without Music: Civil War Stories from Hallowed Ground. The new material premiered to a capacity crowd at the Seaside Repertory Theater. Those songs will become the duo’s third album, a double album: one disc of songs recorded live on battle sites across the country, and the other disc offering full-band studio versions of the songs. The pair has partnered with the Civil War Trust for the live recordings, which are on-going in 2013. For more information on this project, visit www.granvilleautomatic.com/civilwar.
The girls are also currently writing their fourth album, Dancing at El Mercado - a collection of songs inspired by Texas and Vanessa's childhood in the Lone Star State.
Granville Automatic averages more than 250 tour dates a year. The duo has played at Hotel Café in Los Angeles, the Tin Angel and World Café Live in Philadelphia, The Bitter End and The Living Room in New York City, Momo’s in Austin, Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta and the Bluebird Café in Nashville. They have also showcased at BMI’s Acoustic Lounge in Los Angeles and appeared on Nashville’s 103 WKDF radio, Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Thacker Mountain Radio and NBC Atlanta’s Morning Show.
They have performed at SXSW, the CMA Music Festival, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival and the Key West Songwriters Festival.
The band was a finalist in Mountain Stage’s NewSong Contest and a semi-finalist in the Unsigned Only competition. They won third prize win in Spin Magazine’s Next Great American Road Song contest, made the finals in the Maurice Small Town Sounds competition and USAA’s GarageBand Playoff and were in the Top 50 for the Wildflower Performing Songwriter Competition.
Both girls have a history in the music business: Vocalist/songwriter Olivarez wrote and recorded a Top 10 single in Canada, has three cuts on Sugarland records, including a song on their multi-platinum Enjoy the Ride album, and received a Dora nomination for her work in the Toronto production of Hairspray. She was also a finalist on the second season of American Idol. Guitarist/songwriter Elkins is a Grand Prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest who has showcased at the Billboard/BMI Acoustic Brunch at SXSW, at BMI showcases in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville, and at CMJ. Elkins’ songs have appeared on television programs from Smallville to Rescue Me, Jersey Shore to CNN and in the film Mean Girls 2.
Balancing lives between Atlanta and Nashville, the two co-write frequently across the States for other artists – including collaborations with Nashville’s top country and pop writers and some of the best and brightest pop and urban writers in Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles. A pop song they co-wrote was recently placed on ABC’s The Lying Game.