Behind the pastoral vocals and the classic arrangements, Grand Forks is, in the most simplistic terms, a good folk album. Traditional folk music, which got its name because it's music by and about common people, is an expression of a way of life, and this is exactly what Brosseau does. He weaves tales of life and the lives of those who reside in Grand Forks, North Dakota – his home town.
A concept album, there is a common theme to all the songs - the flood of 1997. Stories, not only of the disaster but the spirit of the people who lived through it, run from beginning to end of the album much the same way the waters welled and rose from their banks. The most obvious is the album closer, "97 Flood." Stylistically true to the format, it is backed with a formula guitar arrangement; his tale personifies the raging waters, referring to it as "her" and singing of the destruction she brings. Beyond the devastation is the deeper tale of how a community pulls together to battle the storm, and then rebuild in the aftermath. "97 Flood" is sedate and ends Grand Folk on a powerful note.
In contrast, the opening song, "I Fly Wherever I Go" is a toe-tapping, upbeat, and uplifting song. It's also about overcoming obstacles, but doesn't have the same overwhelming doom and gloom feel. It's more a beacon in the storm, a song of hope and optimism. We (as a community) will overcome this tragedy is the point of the folk tale Brosseau tells, and that seems to be the message he wants the listener to walk away from the album with.
On his website, he describes the album. "Grand Forks is about hope and success over obstacles, the coming together of a community, the endurance and hardship and heartache, homelessness and loss; it is about the future, it is about the past." And he does so in a very traditional style that will be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of folk music in its purest form.