The Grey Legends
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It's a story of music-making that just keeps rolling.
Maryland musicians Russell Jones and Paul Murray started singing and writing songs together after meeting in a Prince Georges County high school in the 1970s. From the beginning, they had talent, rapport, and stood out from the crowd. They played a steady stream of popular venues in the Washington-Baltimore area and won an award for their work in the 1976 American Song Festival.
With incentive from Columbia Pictures, Russ and Paul recorded a four-song demo and worked with Buffalo Records to produce the 1979 album See You in Court. Billboard magazine reviewed and recommended the album, but the production process triggered artistic conflicts with the recording company. "Youthful temper" got the best of them, said Russ. At one point, they grabbed the master tapes from the studio and drove away. The pair soon worked things out with the producer, but the experience began to sour their interest in the industry.
"We were young, and we got fed up with the business," Russ said.
Life went on and so did their music, but jobs and families lead them down separate paths. Then, in 2009, that early album began showing up on eBay sites across the globe and brought them together again - at first for laughs and then for music-making that came as quickly and easily as it had in their youth.
Billed as The Grey Legends, Russ and Paul have been playing live and releasing new, professionally produced music on their web site. Life experience has brought depth, irony, and poetry to their work.
"Before, we had raw musical knowledge and couldn't see fifteen minutes into the future," Paul said. "Now we're more disciplined, more versatile. We didn't have that when we were younger."
They write in the studio, but you'll also find them making music in the woods of Tuckahoe State Park and tucked inside a duck blind by a Stevensville marsh.
Their indie acoustic blend, layered with deconstructed chords and vocal harmonies, invokes the comforting sounds of 1970s artists like Steely Dan and George Harrison, but pulls in American roots music, jazz, and twists that are distinctly their own.
"We're not going to be style specific. We can't," Russ said. "We go where the music takes us."