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Granola Funk Express (otherwise known as simply GFE)is a local hip hop/funk band based in Asheville, NC. Granola Funk Express plays a very wide variety of music, although most of their albums are mostly hip hop (except for the recently released album SEED in Fall 2000, which is mostly Josh Blake who plays a very moody folk guitar, and writes great lyrics, while still backed up by the amazing band). their live shows are an amazing mix of folk, funk, freestyles, and long jams by the band.
Information on tour dates can be found at www.granolafunk.com (where the motto is "You can kill a cow, but I can't smoke a plant?").
Cactus frestyles with Adam Strange, Gabe, Foul Mouth Jerk, and whoever else gets up on stage, Cricket plays bass, and Josh is on guitar, there are usually 2 drum kits on the stage, plus Jennie Junk on bongos, and sometimes even another guitar player, so the jams can be pretty great.
If GFE is ever to be anywhere in your area, I highly recommend them, as they are a favorite of mine.

It all began with the Om, our mutual chant that is the calm before the storm. Everyone was ready to explode, so filled with emotion, so anxious to slip into the space between the beats. Granola Funk Express was about to burst into flames on stage, the Om ended, and we all prepared for the track. Bass line, drums hit, and suddenly we are into a rowdy song whose chorus rang “Invincible!”. So we are empowered from the music, we are invincible. For one set, we would be invincible, so pure and sinless; until the end of the song, we are infallible and righteous. That’s what the music does to you, it makes you strong, motivates you to be great.

Granola Funk Express is a conscious funk group, meaning that they don’t advocate the use of hard drugs (marijuana excluded, as well as alcohol in moderation), they support strong values for both individuals and families. Granola Funk (shortened to GFE usually) has released several albums and numerous singles which highlight certain members of the group. In 2000, the Seed album was released, which relied heavily upon bluegrass and folk styles, rather than the jam driven hip hop that Granola Funk Fans are accustomed to. Granola Funk fans are always prepared to be surprised, personally, I expect to be surprised during a show. I don’t want to buy a CD and go hear a band play songs straight off the CD, just how they sound on the CD.

The music was spacious, and the Asheville Music Zone was not nearly at capacity. As the next song begins, people begin leaving the bar to venture onto the dance floor to give praise to the band. The next song began, and steady waves of gyrations flow from the stage to floor. There is no line drawn between audience and musician, because a good crowd is as important to a GFE show as are the individual skills of the band members and emcees. Melodies played by Josh Blake on either keys or six string guitar drift in and out of the steady beat, until the song comes to a pause, and a woman’s voice from the right side of the stage murmers “Substance changes form.” I’m sure that from the stage, one could observe many individuals whose form was in some state of change at that point. At the end of the song, a Granola Funk emcee (named Cactus) steps to the front of the stage, and in the silence he introduced the next song.
“Now, don’t you get me wrong, everyone here at Granola Funk is all about expanding your mind and altered states of consciousness right?” the crowd responds with scattered applause and a few wails of agreement, “But, who out there knows someone who’s just to into the scene? Like if you wake up with fewer teeth than you went to sleep with, and you don’t remember shit, you need to re-evaluate what type of shit is going on in your life!” The crowd wails again with acceptance when another emcee grabs a mic. “Even if you do remember what happened, if you lose teeth in an evening out, you’re a waste.” Applause.

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