Like thousands of guys, Curtis Grimes started singing sad songs after he broke up with his gal. But unlike most of them, Grimes was good enough to make a living off his music after he got over his heartbreak. Born in 1986 in Gilmer, Texas, Grimes was a star athlete in high school, and as pitcher with their baseball team, he helped take his team to the state championships. A strong student as well as a star on the diamond, Grimes won a scholarship to Centenary College in Louisiana, but after splitting up with his fiancée, he set aside both baseball and academics for a while. As he sorted out his feelings, Grimes began toying with his roommate's guitar, and soon he bought his own six-string from a pawn shop and began playing in earnest. Grimes resumed his academic career at Texas State University in San Marcos, but he brought that guitar with him, and began playing and singing for friends at parties. Grimes received positive feedback from his friends, and moved up to playing local bars and frat parties.
Grimes was working often enough that he formed a band, and after winning a contest that earned him an opening slot at a Kenny Chesney concert in Austin, he decided it was time to make music a full-time job. Grimes began playing the country circuit in Texas and Oklahoma, and 2009 saw the release of Grimes' first album, a self-released effort titled Lonely River. Grimes got a taste of national exposure in 2011, when he was chosen to compete on the popular television talent competition The Voice. Grimes auditioned with Blake Shelton's hit "Hillbilly Bone." Shelton, who was one of the judges, didn't bite, but Cee Lo Green was impressed, and became Grimes' coach for his eight-week run on the show, which took him to the quarterfinals. As The Voice increased Grimes' visibility, he released a seven-song EP, 2011's Doin' My Time, and continued to tour regularly. In 2014, Grimes unveiled his second full-length album, Our Side of the Fence, while the 2015 EP Bottom of the Fifth saw Grimes making his way onto the Billboard Independent Albums chart, peaking at 29. (The title song also topped the Texas Regional Radio chart, as did the tunes "Baby Don't Cry," "Our Side of the Fence," and "The Cowboy Kind.") In November 2016, Grimes dropped another full-length effort, Undeniably Country; the first single from the album, "From Where I'm Standing," became another Texas radio hit. ~ Mark Deming