Jul 042013
 

Hey I’m on tour – Why not make a tour poster!!! – Cut it out and share with your friends! Oh wait this isn’t the back of a cereal box!

I hope to see you at a gig this summer!!!

~ DG

DG-Tour-Poster-2013-web

Jul 102012
 

07/09/12 Darryl Gregory Sat On The Couch

SHARED BY VINNY “BOND” MARINI

Hey All!!!

Here’s a recording of the interview I did with Vinny Bond Marini on his podcast called Music On The Couch. He was a gracious host and the conversation was lively and insightful. Vinny plays three of my songs: ‘How Do I Tell Her’, ‘Aunt Jean’s Piano’, and ‘Anywhere But Here’.

I hope you enjoy it – let us know what you think!

Peace

Darryl

Listen to Music On The Couchwith Vinny Bondon Blog Talk Radio
Jul 092012
 

This is the sixth of 7 blog posts about the songs on my new CD “Big Texas Sky”. As part of this posting, ‘Elegy for an Old Man’ will be available as a FREE download for a limited time.

I had this lyric in my notebook for the longest time and I even had a melody that went with it, but I could not get any farther than the four lines that I had:

I am an old man
I have an old man’s body
I have an old man’s memories
I see with old man’s eyes

I had no idea who this old man was and why he was saying what he was saying. I also couldn’t figure out if this was a verse or the chorus to the song, but I liked the melody and I liked how it felt haunting and resigned. And there it sat in my notebook for almost a year and a half. I’d often revisit and sing the melody and just draw a blank.

Then I got this insight. This man was dying. He was at Death’s door and he was making an accounting of his life. I thought about this and the song Streets of Laredo came instantly to mind. As I started to write down ideas of who and what this old man was saying I started to think about my own father and what he might have said to me if he had had the chance to.

My Dad passed away in 1985. Withered away from cancer after having been a strong presence in my life; a broad-shouldered, hard living man. He was from Texas and I always thought that if he had stayed in Texas instead of living in Cleveland, he would have been a cowboy.

I like how the four lines I had been staring at for so long became the chorus and I liked that the chorus started the song (very Beatles-esque) and tied the verses together. I don’t know if I did this intentionally, but it felt good and made sense as I played through the rough drafts.

The verses tell the old man’s story. The narrative starts out proud each time, but then ends up as a resignation to the situation at hand. I think the most telling line is in the second verse when when he relates hi interaction with his children:

My children whisper their good-byes 
They stare into my eyes 
In me they see their future compensation

I really thought that this song would not be received well. It’s kind of a downer. Surprisingly it has been the song that most people ask me about and want to talk about. Everybody has lost a loved one or a parent, especially at the age I am approaching, and we can relate to the resignation that this old man is talking about:

There ain’t nothing left for me 
No more Christmas mornings 
I’m tired to the marrow 
And I’m ready to die

A note about the arrangement. I wanted to originally have a very mellow piano and bass accompaniment interspersed with a very distorted guitar sound in the vein of RadioHead or Adrian Belew. I found that the sounds were very distracting and so I opted for a more chordal distorted guitar that, in my mind, represent the old man’s fists coming down on the table as he is about to relate his story.

Take a listen and let me know what you think. This will be available as a FREE DOWNLOAD until July 16, 2012.

 

Apr 182012
 

This is the fifth of 7 blog posts about the songs on my new CD “Big Texas Sky”. As part of this posting, ‘What About Love’ will be available as a FREE download for a limited time.

It’s interesting to try to determine whether a song is sad or uplifting. What is it that makes a piece of poetry happier than another? Unless we’re dealing with Hallmark Cards, there is usually some aspect of a verse that has some underlying bite of mortality to it. Things change and it’s hard to accept. Change and regret, love and release.

I originally thought this song was about divorce when I was singing it as a solo. And, from the point of view of the singer, it sounded to me like the main character wanted out of the marriage.

Was I everything to you? Was I your ‘Rock of Gibraltar? Well it’s time to try something else – stop the newspaper and call the kids. 

But then I had the idea to try it as a duet where these lines are being sung as a statement and a response. Now, when sung as a duet, the lyrics take on a whole different aspect of a waning point in the arc of a relationship.

Well the kids are out of the house. We need to move to a smaller place. Are we OK? Do we still love each other? And the answer is yes, but differently – just breathe… wake up every morning and just breathe…

I wrote this song using an alternate tuning on the guitar called DADGAD where the strings are tuned to those notes instead of the regular EADGBE. The tuning gives the songs a spaciousness and haunting vibe probably because of all the open 4ths and 5ths that occur naturally over the course of the chord progression. The lap steel guitar drenched in reverb also gives the song a loneliness with that far-off wail that often sounds like it’s slipping off a cliff into oblivion.

My duet partner on this recording is Francine Wheeler. I really like how she doesn’t always harmonize above my voice, but is sometimes below it. I also like that her voice is not girl-ish and that it adds a maturity to the duet that supports the lyric content. It’s really a joy to work with someone that gets it. The “it” being how to relay a lyric and a melody/harmony without losing the vibe or the concept because the ego got in the way.

It’s interesting to look at songs or books or paintings that are created at certain times in an artist’s life. I look at this song and think that I would never have written this when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s for that matter. This is a song that comes from years of observation and experience and an acceptance of what love eventually becomes.

Take a listen and let me know what you think. This will be a FREE download until April 25, 2012.

p.s. In my live performances I often refer to a picture I found on the web that clearly illustrates the type of couple that I sing about. I try to describe it , but seeing it for one’s self is best. So I’m going to post it here. This is a photo by  Ian Gonzaga and you can check out his photo blog at www.flickr.com/photos/ianpgonzaga lots of great stuff there!

Apr 032012
 

This is the fourth of 7 blog posts about the songs on my new CD “Big Texas Sky”. As part of this posting, ‘How Do I Tell Her’ will be available as a FREE download for a limited time.

‘How Do I Tell Her’ is a song that has a simple premise, but a complicated delivery. The simple message is that a man is afraid to tell his wife he lost his job. The complication comes from trying to relate the emotions involved in such a transaction over the course of an average country song.

Being a music teacher in the public schools, I have been in the position of getting let go because of budget cuts. I have had to go home and have a frank discussion with my wife about the possibility of not having an income. Luckily I’ve always been rehired or have found another teaching position, but the difficulty of coming home to explain the situation is not something a person wants to experience.

The topic is current with unemployment skyrocketing and good honest folk being let go from jobs they thought they were going to retire from. How does a person feel when they go home to tell their spouse? “Like a thief in the night”, “A ghost in their soul”, “Afraid to deliver disappointment”.

You have no idea how the person on the receiving end is going to take it either. Will you collect their tears in kind for all of the bad news you are delivering? or will something else happen? Divorce or support?

The lyrics of this song went through more than a few rewrites. I workshopped it at a songwriter’s circle and got some surprising feedback. They basically said that it sounded like when the song was over the guy was going to put a bullet in his head. Yikes! I wanted a sadness but not too much. So, I rewrote and rewrote. I made the pivot of the story the love that the couple had for each other. “Til death do us part an all that’s supposed to mean”. Of course the wife needs to point it out to the husband (isn’t that usually the case?) and she essentially says get a grip, you’re not a loser and we’ll be OK because we have each other.

Next to “Anywhere But Here”, this is the most ‘country’ sounding track on the album. I wanted to go for that late 60‘s, early 70’s sound with the pedal steel awash in reverb and a male chorus of background singers. Sad, but not too sad. Something that would make a guy order a shot and a beer after having a listen. He’d raise the shot glass and say – “Here’s to that guy… I know how he feels… Man, I wish I had a woman like that…”

Take a listen and let me know what you think. This will be a FREE download until April 10, 2012.