Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Gran Torino was one of the most popular live acts in the Southeast.

Combining drums and guitars with four horn players and a percussionist, the nine-piece funk outfit from Knoxville toured 200-250 days a year and independently released four albums with the help of Carrboro label Redeye Records.

Humming along with no signs of stopping, their success took a hit in the wake of a certain dark day in September 2001.

“After 9/11 the bottom dropped out of live music and the music industry as a whole, from what we could tell,” said bassist Todd Overstreet. “We went from sold-out shows to overnight the shows just cut in half.”

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