Thursday, December 11, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why Covers?

"I was about 25 before I ever heard the idea that rock and roll was meant to be disposable. To me, the great songs have lasted." Jackson Browne

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been approached at the end of a gig, by someone who exclaims something like: “I loved that song when I was a kid!” or “I’d forgotten all about that song and how much I loved it!” Remembering, passing along and keeping alive a great song is actually a strong part of folk and roots music tradition. For generations, songs were sung and played at gatherings, and with any luck at all, they were recorded, and in this way they lived on.  It’s really interesting to see how a particular song changes as it moves along this path, taking on the characteristics of the person performing it. Through the years lyrics may be slightly altered, harmonies added, maybe even a bridge or verse included that wasn’t in the original. The song is a living, growing organism. 

An extreme example of this practice are the ancient songs She Moved Through the Fair and Black Waterside. These tunes can be traced back to medieval times and the earliest lyrics to She Moved Through the Fair were penned in 1916. There are many, many people who have performed these songs, passing them along through time, but look how Jimmy Page morphed these songs and made them his own. 

There’s also the haunting song  Molly Ban which can be traced back to 1796 and has been passed on through the generations. Here’s a version leaning towards the traditional.  Peter Paul and Mary fans probably know it as Polly Von, which they recorded in 1963 and made unmistakably their own. Bob Dylan also recorded it in 1992 and Chris de Burgh in 2002, among countless others throughout the decades.
The idea of the importance of the cover song really hit home for me personally, when I heard the news that Linda Ronstadt could no longer sing now that she is stricken with Parkinson’s Disease.   Now Glen Campbell is losing all memory of the songs he wrote and is unable to recall or even play most of them. Sadly, there have been several of our heroes who have passed away in recently years and we’ll lose even more as our own generation ages. What occurs to me is that if people aren’t singing their songs live to an audience then does the great work done by these artists just disappear? Do these songs just die too? Certainly, the majority of the radio stations aren’t sharing them, so when the original artists aren’t around to perform them for us then it’s up to musicians who are currently on the road, to keep these great songs alive. The icing on the cake is that current performers are likely to, just like in the folk and roots traditions, be adding some spit and polish and breathing new and different life into the old songs.

Does this mean we shouldn’t strive to be singer/songwriters and support the working artists of our time? Absolutely not! We need to keep populating the world of music with more new songs, more new music. We should however, pay attention to and support the performers that are working hard to keep the older songs alive. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Magic: via Alfonso Tobar

Monday morning, after a two gig weekend, we woke to find this amazing post from Alfonso A Tobar. It's the reward for all the hard work we put into our performances, all the study, practice, time, expense, energy and effort that goes into the shows you see. Thanks Alfonso, for your kind words and beautiful photos!

In order to see magic, you must believe in it. Every day I ride my bicycle in or around Alamance County, NC.
Saturday night, I decided to go around at night time. Burlington was empty and silent. As I continue to move through the streets, I discovered an unusual echo of some noise and I followed into it. In the middle of the street nocturnal lights, I found what I was looking for, some crowd, something nice, real people....

Graymatter, a local band, was performing live and playing great music. Their audience were relaxed, chatting quietly. And you could see friends chilling out with some beer.
These are the first days of autumn down here.
The sound of Graymatter's music was simply cool and magic. I stayed there, enjoyed the moment, grabbed a couple of shots with my camera. Then, I faded back into the night. (Thank you guys. I had a wonderful time).
That was Saturday, the last week end of September...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Look at our Great New Stage Sign!

The very talented Morgan of Grayscapes created a fabulous new stage sign for us! We'd been looking for something fun and creative that we could have up on stage with us and she created exactly the right thing. She's a talented artist, creating original art and works on special request commissions too. If you're interested in seeing her pieces or having her create something special for you, you can reach her here. Thanks Morgan!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where has your Graymatter tee been this summer?

So our Graymatter tees have been backpacking and fishing in the gorgeous Adirondacks, taken a swim in the Hudson River, traveled to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, felt the cool breezes of Lake Ontario in Lowville NY, enjoyed the sun on the Jersey Shore, enjoyed the desert in Reno Nevada, and the beautiful mountains in Truckee California. Where has your Graymatter tee been this summer? Send us your photos!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Festival for the Eno

Graymatter is pleased to be invited to perform at the Festival for the Eno this year. It's the 35th annual event, held every 4th of July weekend, and for two days brings together 65 musical acts on 4 stages, beautiful crafts, demonstrations, kid activities, food trucks and vendors, a beer garden and ample opportunity to play in the beautiful Eno river.
The Eno River Association puts on this fun event as a fundraiser and 100% of the proceeds of the ticket sales go towards their good works. What do they do? The association focuses on land protection, advocacy, education, and land stewardship. They also hold guided nature walks for all ages and fun summer nature camps for kids. This event is not only important for raising funds so they can continue their work, but it's a way to celebrate the beauty of the Eno and the surrounding watershed, and protecting the area for future generations. The association was formed in 1966 and currently protects 6,900 acres, most of which is in the Eno River State Park, along with other parks and natural areas. It also owns 259  protected acres and hold conservation easements on an additional 828 acres. For more information on the weekend festival go to For more information on the association you can visit

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5K Run for the Children

The Prestige Foundation is a Burlington based mentoring group and they are hosting a charitable run in May. Their project aims to take high school students from Alamance County to work in Sam’s House Orphanage in Nepal for a month over the summer. Through exposure to a third world country and service to those in need, Prestige hopes to equip the students with the skills necessary to affect change in their own community. The first annual Run for the Children will also serve as a way to promote cultural and religious tolerance while reminding participants that unity and brotherhood are principles that transcend belief and background. The gathering spot for the 5K run/walk will be at Company Shops Co-op in downtown Burlington and the race will begin at 9am. Following the race, Graymatter will perform for participants of the race and other Active Streets goers. It’s going to be a busy day in downtown Burlington and Graymatter is pleased to help Lester and Keegan Pace with their charitable cause and to help the kids in Nepal. 100% of the donations cover the cost of transportation to and from Nepal as well as full expenses of the students. ***follow-up: over $7500 was raised! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Scrapbook Update!

Have you checked out our "Scrapbook" page lately? Dave's been doing a great job and creating some fabulous art for us! Click here to see what he's been up to!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Meet Rogue Band of Youth!

It's our pleasure to introduce you to Rogue Band of Youth! Out of Carrboro, NC comes this trio (and sometimes with two additional musicians sittin' in) of inspiring singer/songwriters. With two EP's already under their belt, "Wide Eyed Waltz" and "Infinite Bliss," this month they're releasing a self-titled, full length LP of original music and it's fabulous. We're thrilled to have been invited to celebrate their CD release by sharing an evening with them at Doodad Farm in Greensboro, NC.
Rogue Band of Youth has been getting some really great notices in the press this year. The Daily Tarheel calls their harmonies "masterful," Resound magazine touts their harmonies as "flawless" and Indy Weekly describes the band as a "folk-derived, harmony-heavy trio" and their music as "adorned with textural swooshes and orchestral swells."

So meet Patrick, Chloe and Jack (with Joe and Brad sitting in on bass and drums.) They're going to be doing some more touring in the near future and gaining more and more fans along the way. Give them a listen. We know you're going to love them as much as we do! Learn more about them, hear, download and purchase their fabulous music and find out where you can catch a show at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meet Driftwood!

If you don't already know Driftwood then we're very happy to introduce you! We got to know this band from Binghamton, NY a little over 2 years ago when they first came to perform at Doodad Farm in Greensboro, NC. We became instant fans, a friendship has grown and they've become a part of the Doodad family here. Their Reverbnation page classifies them as folk/indie/acoustic but you've really got to throw newgrass into that mix and a touch of rock n' roll too. They give a high-energy performance that just doesn't quit.
Driftwood plays a house concert in Greensboro, NC

This past year they built a successful Kickstarter project in order to produce their fantastic third cd.  With the help of friends and their loving community in NY, they were able to put together a video of one of the songs from that album and we were excited to see that CMT picked it up.

We were very excited to join Driftwood for a combined mini-set at a packed house concert in April of last year and have had opportunities to jam with them from time to time when they're here.
Driftwood and Graymatter join forces for a super fun mini-set!
Members of Driftwood and Graymatter, along with James Olin Oden and Bill Mitchell
jam late into the night on the Doodad Farm stage.

So meet Claire, Dan, Joe and Joey. Driftwood travels up and down the east coast, playing venues and festivals, earning more and more fans as they go. Give them a listen. We know you're going to love them as much as we do! Learn more about them and find out where you can catch a show at

Graymatter performs Barry's song "Doodad Farm" with help from Driftwood and with a joyful audience singing along.