GRAYSON HUGH and Polly Messer
with Special Guest Caroline Doctorow & The Steamrollers
A NIGHT OF ROOTS MUSIC: FROM BLUES TO BLUEGRASS!
In May of 2010, after a fifteen year absence from the public eye and ear, blueeyed
soul legend Grayson Hugh released "An American Record". This longawaited
recording heralds the return of this internationally acclaimed singer/
songwriter and masterful pianist. In the words of CMAWorld.com writer Bob
Doerschuk: "Grayson Hugh has been there and back again. His story - our
story - has to be heard". This Connecticut born artist released his 1988 RCA
Debut “Blind To Reason”, that achieved widespread airplay throughout the
States and in Europe. The record went gold in the United States and Australia,
and his music videos were in heavy rotation on VH1. Riding the success of this
album, Hugh proceeded to wow audiences around the world with his
passionate, high energy live performances.
Hugh's follow-up record “Road To Freedom” (MCA 1992) was produced by
the late Bernard Edwards of Chic. This album, arranged by Hugh and featuring
a more rootsy rock/country/soul band, garnered much critical success.
Billboard Magazine called it one of 1992’s top-ten albums. Upon hearing an
advance pressing of "Road To Freedom", director Ridley Scott personally
requested two of Hugh's songs from the record to be featured in his film
"Thelma and Louise". Yet another song from the record became the end-title
song for hit 1991 film "Fried Green Tomatoes".
The music industry was impressed and his legion of fans was devoted but, in a
classic tale of record company mismanagement, by 1994 Hugh, through no
fault of his own, found himself without a label and on his own. Discouraged
with the mercenary music business, Hugh moved to rural North Carolina for a
few years, eventually winding his way back to the Northeast and landing a job
teaching songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He continued to
write prolifically and perform occasionally, amassing a library of over two
hundred new songs.
In 2006, while living on Cape Cod, the ideas for a new record began to take
shape. Dipping into his huge library of never released songs, and writing some
new ones, Hugh began work on a deeply personal album, unencumbered by
major record label restraints. The release featured the diverse musical styles he
had always loved: soul, country, rock, gospel, jazz and bluegrass. The result
was "An American Record".
In the process of making the record, Hugh reconnected with his former backup
singer and friend Polly Messer. One harmony led to another and they ended up
producing the new record together and getting married in August of 2008.
Leonard Pitts, Jr. (2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary) wrote in his
glowing review of the release: "In a world where music is often a brittle
artificiality, the music he makes is hard and strong, convicted and convincing.
And true. Most of all, true... Because his music is soul in the sense that it looks
you in the eye and speaks to you from the gut, that it is real, honest and - we
keep coming back to that word - true... This is 'An American Record'. Some of
us are glad the wait is over at last."
Caroline Doctorow's career boasts nine top Folk/Americana albums and a
reputation for delivering a song with a velveteen voice.
"With a rustic back porch stance that finds her akin to Emmylou Harris, Nanci
Griffith, Judy Collins and Lucinda Williams, she has all the makings of an
understated star." Lee Zimmerman /No Depression.
Caroline and her band The Steamrollers have generated a tremendous buzz
around her home base of Eastern Long Island and the surrounding area.
Recently her touring schedule was expanded to include appearances at several
legendary venues including The Guthrie Center, The Narrows Center for the
Arts, New Bedford Summerfest, The Katharine Hepburn Theater with and
further south to Nashville, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and in Knoxville for
her third appearance on the famed Blue Plate Special LIVE radio broadcast on
WDVX. She has just released a new CD featuring the songs of legendary folk
icon Mary McCaslin called I Carry All I Own, on Narrow Lane Records.