About Kev Gray and The Gravy Train:
“My Dad asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I said, ‘A musician”. He said, ‘Well, you can’t do both’.”
Kev Gray and The Gravy Train are an award-winning, multi-genre band based out of England, America and Japan – depending on the weather. Based around the lyrical songwriting of lead singer, Kev Gray, their music is a melting pot of lush melodies from acoustic lounge, folk gospel, bossa, funk, original blues and blue-eyed jazz. A fusion of traditional genres, resulting in an antidote to modern conformity. Soulful vocal textures add a nice polish to contemporary lyrical content that mirror everyday themes – cold feet at the altar, the rat race, having children, escaping responsibility, swingers parties, the inability to grow up. The band’s mission is unashamedly that of bringing music back to the listener.
During the Covid lockdown, Kev embraced the opportunity to reinvent himself as a recording artist and is finalizing a new lockdown-inspired album – Time To Live Again – using fellow musicians from over 30 countries recorded and arranged online by Thomas Hilse. Singles will build up to the album release during 2021. The new album will show an artist with the rare ability to transcend difficult conditions and creating truly moving music perfectly suited to the chaotic yet incredible times we are living in.
Interview with Kev Gray – Jul 2021
Q1: Can you please tell our readers your real name as well as your stage name?
Kev Gray [KG]: Our stage name is Kev Gray and The Gravy Train, so my real name is not Gravy Train. It is Kevin Alfred Gray. I was named after the Irish Saint Kevin (Caoimhín) who my dear mother prayed to during the Caesarian section. I was 3 pounds heavy, 6 weeks early, and stuck in a box for a month – and have been escaping its return ever since.
Q2. Where are you from and Where are you based?
KG: I am a Geordie, that is to say, I am from Newcastle, England. But I live in Japan 6 months of the year and England and the US the rest of the time, touring and promoting my songs. Took me a while to set up but finally got the balance I need. Stuck in Japan due to Covid, this winter I was playing gigs in the Winter Olympic resort of Hakuba, for the season – snowboarding the hangovers away. Over half the hotel got Covid and I was quarantined, so we built an igloo on the hotel roof and live-streamed a gig from inside. The Music Igloo & Bar cheered people up all over the world at that dark time, so planning a giant one next time. Without knowledge or training, they are actually really hard to construct, and need lots of constant love and attention, just like everyone else.
Q3. At what age did you start making music?
KG: I got into it late, not until my 30s – the last cherry blossom. I wrote a few songs for wedding presents as I was skint. People liked them and I was encouraged to take it more seriously. Starting playing gigs, despite being really shy at first, but got sponsorship after a producer saw me playing in a total dive. I had to give up my journo career, which, looking back was a good thing as it was as garbage as I was. So it’s all been worth it. If you keep going along your chosen path, you will get where you wanna go. And even if your Shangri-La is not what you imagined, it’s as much about the journey than the destination. A meme we have seen a million times, but it’s true if you really live that road.
Q4. What genre would you consider yourself?
KG: This is a toughie. We are a multi-genre band, which is both a blessing and a curse. The general theme of the music is to write about modern stories in classic vintage genres from Funk, Jazz, Blues, Gospel to Bossa-Nova and Pop. Most songs are based on people I meet and stories I hear or experience. Humans are amazing – an endless source of inspiration, amazement, and utter despair.
I also started doing Deep House with a Russian DJ in Thailand last year, too. He just sends the track and I bang out the melody and lyrics. I think anyone can crossover if they get the chance. It is all a total love of music.
Q5. If you were given a chance, which Artist would you love to perform with?
Dead – Hank Williams – I could have learned a lot drinking and singing with him. A lyrical genius and extremely funny.
Alive – Paul McCartney. The more I know about him, the more I see what a creative genius he was. Apart from all the classic tunes, he was an incredible singer of both power and delicate beauty. He wrote masterful story-telling lyrics like Eleanor Rigby; plays every instrument on his albums; wrote a guitar classic in Blackbird. Invented MTV Unplugged back in 1969 with Let It Be album, and wrote a Symphony with no training. A total natural talent and a fountain of music. And he is still playing 3-hour gigs at 77. So yeah I would like to hang out with a 77 year-old Scouser – when you still got it, you still got it. What a champ.
Q6. Tell us more about your latest track or Video (what is it all about) and please explain the concept or message.
KG: It was just released and it’s called “Time to Live Again”, hitting hopefully the right sweet spot in the summer once the vaccinations have rescued the art of live-playing musicians. The song was written on a beach in Thailand during lockdown, a post-pandemic feel good anthem to get people living and loving again.
It features a global team of top notch musicians, recorded, mixed and mastered online during the COVID pandemic in America, Brazil, UK, Thailand, Italy, and Germany.
We are especially very proud that the song features Grammy Winner John “JR“ Robinson, an American drummer and session musician who has been called “one of the most recorded drummers in history”. He is especially known for his work with producer Quincy Jones, including Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum Off the Wall album and the charity single “We Are the World”. John has played drums with more than 50 Grammy winners, including Lionel Richie, Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Madonna. On the bass, he is supported by the German funk bass guru Oliver “JABBA“ Frerichmann. A groovy dream team.
We decided to release the song on July 14, the day the Frenchies liberated us from our chains, and blessed us with a new era. Hopefully post-lockdown will be as auspicious.
Or as the poet and mad genius, William Blake, would say it: Bliss Was It in That Dawn to Be Alive
In a world of separation hopefully behind us, our message is
MUSIC UNITES US. Music really is the ANTIDOTE – IT’S TIME TO LIVE AGAIN.
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