The Hippo


Jul 24, 2019








Eric Grant. Courtesy photo.

Eric Grant Band 

Where: Club ManchVegas, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester
When: Friday, April 14, 8 p.m.
Also Saturday, April 15, 8 p.m. at Whiskey Barrel, 546 Main St., Laconia
Full schedule at

In tribute
Eric Grant Band pens song for fallen comrade

By Michael Witthaus

 A touchstone of country music is loyalty — sturdy bonds like family, faith and tradition. When the Eric Grant Band lost Brian Howard to cancer last September after he battled the disease for 18 months, the band’s leader knew that an enduring response to remember him was needed. 

Howard handled EGB’s sound and lights, but he was more than a technician for the band, Grant said in a recent interview. 
“He got in even deeper,” he said. “He wanted to see our dreams come true … and he made things happen.”
That included straight up generosity. 
“If you needed something, Brian would be there for you,” Grant said. “I mentioned needing wood for my fireplace, and the next day there’s a pile of wood on my front lawn. That’s how he was; he wanted to make everybody’s lives happier and easier and better.”
To pay tribute, Grant responded with “Who Would You See,” a moving ballad to honor his friend. 
“He was everything a man could be,” Grant sings, “he was a man with a plan.” 
An accompanying video, released March 10, features a photo montage of Howard and footage of his memorial service.
The clip has already garnered nearly 4,000 YouTube views. Howard died at age 43, leaving a wife, Laureen, and their 9-year-old twins. In an email, Laureen Howard called her husband’s work with Eric Grant Band his “most pride and joy” and expressed hope that more people would see the video. 
“Brian would be so incredibly honored to have something go big,” she wrote. “This song applies to anyone that’s lost a loved one.”
The spark for “Who Would You See” was in Grant’s mind well before he wrote the song. 
“It was on the back burner for many years,” he said. “I had this idea after seeing some friends pass. ... I wonder if in spirit they can see us celebrating their life, after their life?”
With Howard’s death, those thoughts returned.  
“I can’t tell you how many times I have written a song and then months or years later, it totally related to a moment,” he said. “It could not be a more perfect song to dedicate to Brian and Laureen, and I hope that Brian is looking over us, still guiding and motivating us and steering us out of the bad and into the good.”
Moving forward, Grant said he and his band are plotting a move “back to basics; deep into our country roots.” In 2012, the group was named Best New Country Band by the NHCMA, and it’s looking to repeat that feat in the coming year. 
“We’d love to go back to Pigeon Forge [Tennessee, the site of the national competition],” he said.
A recent session at The Recording Co-op in Gilford with producer Ryan Ordway energized the band. 
“We talked about getting back into the originals but once we got in that studio, with the red light on … it just lit a fire under everybody,” Grant said. “This is a new group, about three years old … it’s super excited to take on the world — just like I was back in 2009.”
The band occasionally performs as its alter ego Sugar Rush, playing “high-energy fun dance party music,” Grant said. Conceived as a way to add more paying gigs to the calendar, the effort turned out to be a lot of fun. 
“The truth is country is rock,” he said. “There are rock roots to it.”
To prove his point, Grant mentioned that he was a hair band fan in his youth. 
“I grew up on Jon Bon Jovi,” he said, noting that guitarist Mark Phaneuf liked metal — Cinderella, Ratt and Dokken — while drummer Mike Salois favored modern rockers like King’s X. “Here we are. We just love music; we love everything.  That’s where we came from.”

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