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Monday, May 28, 2012

Darryl Gregory - Big Texas Sky

Darryl Gregory – Big Texas Sky
2012, Emptyhead Musikwerks
Darryl Gregory has seen it all, from the seedy clubs of 1990’s New York City to the wings of off- and off-off-Broadway shows.  He’s seen the music world from the classroom, the orchestra pit and behind the boards.  Even relatively settled now with a wife and children, Darryl Gregory continues to create.  Gregory’s latest album, Big Texas Sky, is an eye-opener for both the power of music and the power of spirit.
“Aunt Jean’s Piano” is a quiet lament of a relative called home too soon.  The song opens with a duet hymn in classic mixolydian harmony, before Gregory transitions into a loving tribute to a beloved aunt who inspired a life-long love of music.  It’s a heart-tugging song full of love and grace, played in a reverent country arrangement.  “Anywhere But Here” is a classic country anthem about a young lady stuck in a small town full of small dreams.  It’s a solid story song, full of wailing pedal steel guitar and a hope for something more.  Gregory shows his vocal limitations here but holds his own.  Techno, rock and blues come together on “Workin’ Man”, with slide guitar and an Industrial percussion style underlining a classic country/blues story song told by a man punching the clock so his lady can have the finer things.  The song is catchy but seems a bit out of character here.
“How Do I Tell Her” is a soliloquy from a man who has lost his job, and is agonizing over how to tell his wife that life has suddenly changed.  Love redeems all here, but the song cuts to the deepest insecurities of an old school working class man.  The melody flows like water, and you could easily imagine this tune in a movie or a countrified musical.  “What About Love” seemingly continues the story line, with the couple giving up their ties to worldly means and simply living.  It’s a recognition of all that is truly important, with love being the currency they share.  Gregory’s songwriting here touches deep to heart and human spirit in this moment.
“Elegy For An Old Man” takes the story tellers soliloquy form to another level; an autobiographical sketch of a life well lived.  There is something magical in the story telling here, as Gregory invokes thoughts of Gordon Lightfoot.  The song follows the life arch, retrospectively, of a man ready to sail off for the great beyond but telling his tale one more time before he leaves.  This is a ‘wow’ moment for Darryl Gregory, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see this song picked up by other artists and covered over time.  Gregory winds down Big Texas Sky with “Prayer & Allelujah”.  Starting out in somewhat contemplative fashion, Gregory kicks it up into a classic southern gospel barn burner that will have you on your feet and shouting to the skies.
Darryl Gregory is a pleasant surprising; showing strong compositional abilities and a talent for storytelling that is rare.  While Gregory’s voice is somewhat limited in its comfortable range he doesn’t let it get in his way, singing with the sort of confidence and strength that has powered the careers of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and others.  Big Texas Sky ranges as wide as the red dirt it reflects, as Darryl Gregory leads listeners through inspiration, confidence, loss, rebirth and celebration.  It’s a wondrous journey, authentically human and fervently told.  Here’s hoping Darryl Gregory has more where this came from.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at  You can purchase Big Texas Sky directly from Gregory’s website, or through the e-tailers below.

Amazon MP3                 CDBaby (CD & MP3)          iTunes

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