Grover, the beloved Berkshire County Bard, traveled the world doing what he loved in a long and celebrated career. From free concerts at the Great Barrington Lookout for 40 consecutive summers to the production of acclaimed children’s shows on PBS, his musicality was combined with deep empathy and a commitment to nurturing compassion in the world.
Grover died Wednesday at age 69.
âHe was driving, he was traveling, he was near Utica, New York, and he had the hindquarters,â said Kathy Jo Grover. “And they took him to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. David also had a number of underlying issues that he was facing, and in between, they were just unable to get him back. He was at it. hospital for a while, about 12 days, there was so much going on that they couldn’t keep up.
Grover has been David’s wife for 17 years.
âDavid was really the one everyone saw when you heard him play or sing or when he spoke to you,â she said. “He was truly the nicest, most generous man I have ever known in my life. And he never had a judgment on anyone. He always accepted who everyone was as they were. ‘it was.
Also a musician, Kathy Jo has performed alongside Grover for years.
âWe played the White House Easter Egg Roll, we played at the UN with Pete Seeger,â she told WAMC. âHe wanted millions of awards. He traveled with Arlo, but honestly I think the thing he was probably most proud of was just being able to share music with kids, especially kids with special needs. Seeing a kid come out of their shell in an instant and be comfortable and singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ into the microphone or something like that made him so, so happy.
One of his favorite memories of Grover comes from one of those moments with a youngster.
âHe was playing a show in your auditorium, at the Linda,â Kathy Jo told WAMC. âHe was sitting in his chair playing the guitar in the middle of a song, and there was this tiny little girl, she couldn’t have been more than three or four years old. And in the middle of the song. , she just got on stage and she pushed him up on her chair and she sat down next to him. And she wasn’t there because she wanted to sing or say anything to him. She wanted to. just sit next to him because she could just feel how a wonderful human being he was. She could just feel that he wasn’t a scary adult. He was just someone she was with her. wanted to be next, because that was the kind of guy he was. And that sums it up well for me. As far as our relationship, he was the same way. He always loved me for exactly who I was, which was beautiful.
âDavid could play with anyone in any country, in any genre, in any musical format. He was competent enough and able to hear,â the songwriter said. performer Arlo Guthrie. “And that’s what a real musician is, someone who can hear, not someone who can play something. Like a real artist knows how to see, as opposed to painting something. He was one. of those. And I enjoyed that from the first day I met him and started working with him, and I will always cherish that. “
The two began their decades-long relationship in 1975 at a benefit concert for a health clinic in Worthington. Guthrie loved Grover’s Shenandoah band and brought them in as a backing band.
âDavid was a great arranger. Everyone in the band was singing, and so when we had up to seven people in the band, I mean, it was huge. To have seven singers, you can put them in and get really complex harmonies long before it becomes popular with other bands. Maybe the Beach Boys were working on that kind of stuff, or the Beatles, or someone like that. But no one locally, that’s for sure. Shenandoah was able to do it, and they were able to do it thanks to David Grover, who had the organizational, musical, chop skills to make it happen.
A memory of Guthrie’s days on the road with Grover and Shenandoah comes from the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont.
âWhile they were playing, the curtain of fire fell, somehow came off and fell directly on the band,â Guthrie said with a laugh. âAnd they kept playing. They didn’t let him stop them. And I just looked at them in disbelief, and it was just the most incredible event – I mean, not the most incredible event. night. It got worse from there. But I will always remember and cherish that moment when something totally unexpected happens on stage and it doesn’t bother you enough, it doesn’t make you stop what you do, but you keep going, you get through. And David did. I’ll love him for that.
Drummer Terrence Hall, better known as Terry a la Berry, has been friends with Grover since their teens and has performed with him in Shenandoah and other bands:
“[He was] very funny at times, and really serious about the music he wanted to make, âBerry told WAMC. âIt was the work side of it, but then we traveled the country, everywhere, went everywhere and got to see and share so many amazing places from the Grand Canyon to the White House. He was literally my best friend for a long, long time.
A fundraiser for Grover’s family has already raised thousands more than his original goal of $ 10,000. Kathy Jo offered this message to all who are now grieving and who have heard David perform over the years.
âThey should know he loved them as much as they loved her,â she said. “And that he would like them to sing. He used to say: If God gave you a beautiful voice, you should sing in gratitude. And if he gave you a terrible voice, you should sing for revenge. And so they should, they should think that you should see him play and, and be happy and know that he loves them.