Bill Griese performs his Sweet Baby James act. Griese is coming to Salem's Grand Theatre on July 30. (Courtesy photo)

In Nashville, Bill Griese has a full band. But on July 30 in Salem, it’ll be just him and his guitar. 

The James Taylor tribute act is coming to the Grand Theatre because Griese, who takes the show on the road, is finally able to see his wife’s family in McMinnville again and is using the trip to sneak in a show. 

“I figured, I’m flying there anyway and it’s not a direct flight either so I might as well try and do a show while I’m here,” Griese said from his backyard in Nashville on Thursday. 

Taylor, along with other folk rock acts like Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills and Nash, shaped Griese’s taste in music as a kid. When he grew up, he found his voice mimicked Taylor’s.

“It’s not an overstatement to say that I have never played a show and not had someone come up afterwards and say, ‘Hey, do you know you sound like James Taylor?’ So, I gave it a shot,” he said.

Griese set his original music and career in marketing aside about five years ago and took up his Sweet Baby James act, taking his stage name from his favorite Taylor album and song. 

The New Jersey native said that moving to Nashville with his wife Kim, allowed him to pursue music more seriously, but he’s excited to make his way to Salem. 

“It’s just a cool place,” he said. “It’s a smaller city with a pretty nice, creative arts vibe. It’s not as big as Portland so it has character.”

Griese said his show is full of Taylor songs and is fully acoustic. 

“People always seem to enjoy it,” he said. 

The show starts at 7 p.m. on July 30. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at salem-grand.sweetbabyjamesofficial.com/ or at the door. 

Correction: This article originally listed the date of the event incorrectly. It is July 30, not June 30. Salem Reporter regrets the error.

Contact reporter Caitlyn May at [email protected].

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