The Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 8th, 2015

The highlight of the pre-telecast Premiere Awards was when 20 Feet From Stardom won as the year’s best documentary. The Director lost his battle to cancer as he was finishing the credits to this amazing cinematic capture of the industry’s top back up and session singers. His young son spoke with his younger sister by his side, as their mother stood behind them, along side one of the iconic singers featured in the film. The boy, who looked to be about 12 years old spoke about his father’s wishes to bring this story to the world, and how proud he was of him. There was not a dry eye in the house. Beautiful. Another gratifying moment was watching my friend from South Africa win for the best new age album. His genuine joy and excitement epitomized a true music creator’s highlight of his creative life.

Telecast Awards Show: AC/DC’s opener jump started the night, with the entire audience encouraged to wear their provided devil horns headband for effect. Fun! From there the night flew ( sometimes watching from TV is not the same experience ) as you could feel the electricity of music’s biggest night. We did not notice the subtle Kanye West drama. It was only when the chatter after the fact, along with seeing the footage, that it really sank in. I purposely wanted to wait to post about the show to let my distaste for his energy spill out on my otherwise positive accounting of the evening. I will say this though….there is no new ego under the sun. We have seen those like him before and will see them again. Diseased egos darkening the community that otherwise is seemingly rising above the industry stereotypes of old. One very prominent figure said we should hold Kanye to his word and encourage him not to play with us anymore, as he threatened to do. Amen to that.

The after party saw Jesse J rock her anthem “Bang Bang” and other hits. Then Gloria Gaynor played her hits to conclude with ” I Will Survive “. We ended the night by dancing to the mixes of one of the planet’s most famous DJs until the early hours of the following day.

New friends met. Old ones renewed. Another great way to end the awards and convention season of 2015.

Musicare’s Person of the Year: Bob Dylan, Friday Feb. 6th, 2015

Being on the production team for another year of the Musicare’s Person of the Year event is always an honor and a privilege. But this year took amazing to another level. That’s the hardest of the hard to do, because each year pays tribute to the music industry’s icons. The cream of the cream of the crop….
It wasn’t that the amazing artists who played performance tribute could dip into arguably the most prolific body of songs to chose from. It wasn’t the entertainment industry’s best and brightest who rushed to their seats in anticipation of seeing and hearing a man who made a career out of not being seen nor heard, unless it was on his terms. And it wasn’t even President Jimmy Carter himself introducing him as a man who’s words had more impact than all of the Presidents combined.
It was the approx. 43 minutes that Bob Dylan spoke. He spoke about his career, influences, inspiration, detractors, critics, the global social mindset when he began, through his over 50 year career, and right to that very night. With razor sharp recollection and acumen he was like that person you thought was sleeping. Sleeping in his own world. But he was always paying attention. More than many of us who claim to be more alert to this humanity and the ground we inhabit. He fooled you, he fooled me, and he fooled even those who have been watching every move he has made.

And his words bounced, dipped, jumped, and hugged. Spontaneously they cut sharp then round, saucy then soft. And with the bump and rumble of the most skillful wordsmith who had the advantage of preparation. You could hear how his songs were born. Not far from his random thoughts. I was witnessing a once in a lifetime event….

He left me with life changing phrases. One that stands out is his recollection of a conversation with Sam Cooke, when Sam said ” a voice should not be judged on if it’s pretty. It should be judge on it’s ability to convince you that it is telling the truth.”

Towards the end it was obvious he was not going to perform. In the beginning I would predict I would have been, as others in attendance, disappointed. But I would not trade his words spoken for any performance. I’m sure all others would agree as well.

We heard the voice that expressed what generations could only think. And he somehow had a voice that would enlighten while giving you the feeling that he was just like the rest of us. if there was one common thought it would have been ” he is telling the truth.” That same thought the world had when they first heard his songs in the beginning. When he was changing the world one song at a time.

I walked to my car after saying goodbye to my friends and collaborators and looked forward to silence to make sense of what I experienced. And I thanked the author in my heart who seeded my love of music, for gifting me this night…..

It’s the season….

After ending a three season long residency of shows, the fall began a season of songwriting and recording for various projects. We are excited for what songs will be born in 2015. More details soon. This second half of December traditionally finds life and music slowing down to spend with family and loved ones. Before we know it the brand new baby 2015 will bring on NAMM, MusiCares Dylan Tribute, Grammy Awards, and all the celebrations around them. So, let me raise my glass…wishing you and yours a peaceful, joyful, and safe holiday season. Thank you for letting me in your world.
Sincerely,
James

The Songwriting Master Class with Paul Williams


8.25.14: The Youth Cultural Arts Foundation (YCAF) presented Paul Williams to a packed house of youth passioned in the arts from all over California. I was honored to be Paul’s invited guest to panel and perform with Paul and Grammy Award winning songwriters Dave Merenda (“I Will Remember You” Sarah Mclachlian) and Chris Caswell (Daft Punk). The young talent was amazing! Generations evaporated as we welcomed them into the songwriters tribe! As we reflected in the days after, the evening’s joy lingered well after we said goodnight to the capacity crowd.There is nothing more rewarding than to change a young person’s history, if you can.

“The Journey Of A Song 60’s and 70’s” book release event Thursday 7-10-14 7:30-10PM

“The Journey Of A Song 60’s and 70’s” book release event and “In The Round” performance by James Grey, Warren Sellers, and Kevin Fisher.
Warren Sellers celebrates the published release of his first book for lovers of song.
Intimate meet and great, book signing, and live performance.

BILLY BLOCK BENEFIT at MI Concert Hall Thursday 4.10.14

Billy Block’s tireless effort, skill, and generosity was largely responsible for creating a thriving music community in every major music city. Currently based in Nashville, TN, Billy’s weekly radio shows, showcases, and concert promotions have launched many of the star artists and songwriters of today.
Now he needs our help….
The Billy Block Family Fund Benefit Concert will be a gathering of west coast performing singer-songwriters to help raise funds to help Billy’s fight against cancer. Scheduled to perform at the Musician’s Institute’s Concert Hall, located across from the famous Dolby Complex at Highland and Hollywood on Thursday 4.10.1, 7-12 pm: Mia Sharp, Randy Sharp, Dan Navaro, Bum Steers, Wendy Waldman, James Grey and Warren Sellers, Kevin Fisher, and many many more.
Billy was “that guy” – that guy who made a difference in countless aspiring artists and music lovers from the day they met him. Even if you cannot make this concert, please consider purchasing a $25.00 ticket in donation. Rest assured it is helping someone who has made a lifetime work of helping others like us. And rest more in the knowing that 100% of all proceeds go directly to this good cause. As Billy would always say – it’s $25.00, but you will be sure to get a million dollar feeling!

Done. Done. Done. And done…

>Smiled with my sweetheart as we watched the last sunset of 2013. Watched the ball drop, then saw fireworks light up the night as candle lamps rose up in the forefront.
>Began the new year with my traditional pier walk next to my girl. Beautiful start.
>Ate black eyed peas with friends for good luck in the afternoon.
>Casted and sealed my Grammy ballot for this year’s Grammy Awards show. (Good luck to ALL the nominees!)

Done. Done. Done. And done…

LIVE ON LAGUNA KX 93.5FM ON FRI. 12/20 @ 3:30PM PST

Joining Andrea Hamilton on KX93.5fm DJ Mookie’s drive time show on Fri. Dec. 20th 3:30pm pst. DJ Mookie chats with us and we perform “Waiting For Christmas Morn” from her acclaimed holiday CD ” Let There Be Light”. Tune in local on 93.5 fm, or world wide at www.935.com.

“Waiting For Christmas Morn” on Andrea Hamilton’s holiday release ” Let Your Heart Be Light”

The Grey/Hamilton penned “Waiting For Christmas Morn” is featured on Andrea Hamilton’s new holiday CD “Let Your Heart Be Light”. The critically acclaimed songbird’s mix of originals and time tested favorites, treated as only she can, is available on iTunes and everywhere on December 1st, 2013.