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Randy Granger plays the hang drum for a crowd June 16 at the 2012... (Niki Rhynes/For the Sun-News)
LAS CRUCES — A hospital room. The machines pump the body with liquids that battle a terminal cancer. There are beeps and hums from these machines. There is music there.
"An upheaval like that; I was sort of taking notes, mental notes, because I know you can't go though something like that and not learn from it," said Randy Granger, a local musician.
As the days passed, with Granger waiting and caring for his partner in faraway hospitals and at home, the cancer proved to be too much for machines and science to battle. Wayne Crawford died in March 2011.
Later, Granger thought about ways he could translate his painful, personal experience for everyone else. He wrote 13 tracks for his sixth album, titled "Strong Medicine," in the world and Native American genre. He is raising money for the production of this new album on Kickstarter, a funding website. He needs to raise $3,500 for the production of CDs: the disc, cover and artwork. So far, he has $3,366 pledged from 80 people throughout the Internet world.
Through Kickstarter, the public can take a look at his project and decide to become a backer, or a person who pledges a specific amount of money toward the project's completion (or start). In turn, the backers receive a gift from the artist. In Granger's project, backers receive digital copies of the new album, a signed copy of the album, an honorable mention in the album cover, a 30-minute flute lesson with Granger or an enchilada dinner and performance by


"It's about 75 percent done," Granger said about the music to be etched on those discs.
Granger is a busy musician these days and is currently in North Carolina being featured in several music festivals in that area. When he comes back, he will finish up the tracks and get production started — if his project is fully funded via Kickstarter, which is a likely case. Then it's off to Wisconsin for the International Native American and World Flute Association convention, he said.
"Part of being a musician is to really take your music to where people haven't heard you," Granger said.
It is only in the last seven years when he has been a full-time musician.
"Music has always been who I am and I've always done it," he said. "It's not an easy life. You have to make some sacrifices, but that's OK, when you do what you love and you do what you're put here to do."
Since he was about 5 years old, Granger has been singing. Then he moved on to drums and many other kinds of instruments. He plays a variety of percussion from throughout the world and started playing the Native American flute in 2004.
He's strongest in the percussion department, but has been giving music lessons since he was in high school, he said.
His music has been nominated and awarded at the Indian Summer Music Awards, Native American Music Awards and New Mexico Music Industry Awards, among other award organizations, according to his website,
In this midst of all the notes, he also majored in journalism at New Mexico State University, but that was something his mother made sure he had to fall back on if music didn't work, he said.
He also practiced as a massage therapist for a few years and that's where he was introduced to his calling.
"I think that's where I first started hearing flute music," Grangers said. "It's a peaceful instrument and peaceful music."
He attributes his ability to play numerous instruments — quite well — to being in band. It taught him discipline and how to focus on sounds.
When people ask him at festivals or demonstrations "'how long did it take you to master that?'"
"I always say that I'm still learning every single time I play it," he said. "Learning a new instrument is actually fun for me."
He knows the language of music. He knows how to express himself and how to draw the sounds he wants from many different instruments because they all have the same scales, notes and sounds, he said.
For "Strong Medicine," he wanted to express the feeling of being "cathartically joyous." In the title song, the beeping and humming machines he recorded in the hospital start off a beat. It's about transforming fear, pain and grief into something beautiful: into a song.
It's not sad for him in any way, though. It's "cathartically joyous," Granger said.
Andi Murphy can be reached at (575) 541-5453.
Randy Granger
• Donate and help the production of Randy Granger's new album, "Strong Medicine" at
• July 1 will be the end of the KickStarter campaign.
• The album will be available online at, iTunes, CDBaby and Spotify with hard copies available at Quillin Studio and Gallery, 317 N. Main St., where they carry all his other albums.