By Carolyn Peterson
Back in the day, good four-part harmony was easier to come by, but many of today’s bands rely on pre-recorded music and vocals to give a smooth tone. For the band GrayMatter, ‘graymatterizing’ songs of their youth and four-part harmony are what they do best – and why they are so popular on the local band circuit. “Our covers are usually ‘graymatterized,’ said Bev Gray Gude, “meaning that we’re likely to come up with different arrangements and/or instrumentation and we always layer on harmonies. We’re re-imagining and recreating the songs of our youth. It’s pretty terrific to look out into the audience and see people singing along with us to their favorites. The audience lifts us up and it’s for them that we keep working to get better at what we do. Our original songs are full of 4-part harmonies and personal storytelling, and because there are four singer/songwriters in the group, we have a range of styles, whether it’s tender ballads, folky Americana or driving rock and roll.” Along with Bev, who plays 12-string and high strung guitars, flute, tambourine, bodhra and tabla, GrayMatter’s band members include Barry Gray, acoustic guitar; Brad Gray, acoustic, electric and sitar guitar; and Dave Gude, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, and mandolin.
A Family Affair
Growing up, the ‘Gray’ kids, Bev, Barry and Brad, listened to a lot of the early folk singers like Peter, Paul & Mary, Kingston Trio and Bob Dylan, soaking up those harmonies. “Our dad, Bryan Gray, was also a big influence. He played guitar and piano, and after many of our family dinners, we’d often gather our instruments, come back to the table and sit around singing and playing together
for hours,” recalled Bev. When Dave Gude and Bev started dating at ages 14 and 15, Dave immediately joined in with the Gray family, performing for years together in various configurations until 2011, when the group formed the current GrayMatter.
Love What You Do, Do What You Love
Pinpointing exactly what the members of GrayMatter like best about performing is hard to do. “Playing and singing big harmonies on top of those great classic songs that we cover is amazing, and we love working on and performing each other’s original pieces. Our audience’s reaction, from singing along to dancing, is the best! We have people come up to us after a show and tell us that we’ve played a song that they so loved and haven’t heard in a long while. We’re bringing back good memories during our shows and people really respond to that,” Bev stated.
Being Busy is a Good Problem to Have
“This has been a great summer for us. We’ve really been busy
and have met lots of great people and other talented musicians. GrayMatter was invited to perform at a John Prine Tribute Concert in Greensboro this past May and at Bull Fest in Durham, NC. Recently, we performed live on WQFS 90.9 FM in Greensboro, NC, playing all original music. We’re working hard, staying busy, and are so appreciative of the people who invite us to play their venues and events, and so grateful for our wonderful audiences,” said Bev.
GrayMatter is currently researching studios to record a CD of their original music by the end of the year. There are links to their music and embedded music at facebook.com/graymatternc and at graymatternc.com. For more information on upcoming events, visit graymatternc.com.