Whiter Shade of Gray….

31 Mar



The wizard. The man behind the curtain.

On the last day of January of ’06 a little blog took its first big breath with the audition clip of an American Idol hopeful that had piqued interest around the country with his gray hair and booming soulful voice.

The blog (not the man) got bigger and bigger, attracting new “readers” and posters each day. Through the fretful journey of the American Idol Season 5, there were vast discussions on “Artists with Soul” like Ray LaMontagne, Amos Lee, Cat Power, Jamie Lidell, Eva Cassidy and James Morrison. Fantastic (yet respectful) debates on Monkey vs. Robot, Selling Out, Tipping Points, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory analogies. Naturally, there were also discussions on song choices, wardrobes, hairstyles and AI manipulations. More than 50 people in chat on “performance night”, who’d a thunk that?

Then, the confetti falls on the right dude. Righteous exuberance abound. Like proud parents we watched “our boy” make it…to Leno, GMA, Today Show, and Ellen. But what made him tick? Who was this guy, really? Well, our omnipresent man behind the curtain found out for us. An EIGHT PART interview with the new American Idol. And what an interview it was.

Then, in the middle of the celebration….FINITO!…..gone like the wind. Gut kicked. After a long summer of deafening silence, the blog (and the man) were back. This time, “official”. While certainly a “win” for the man, maybe not so much for the blog. Different time, different people, different tone. Like that over-used “brief shining moment that was Camelot”, it’s hard to re-create something that was organic and unplanned, yet ends up fabulous for a short time and in a small space.

So, after much consternation, we arrive at FINITO, Part Deux. While certainly saddened at the prospect of losing the “water cooler” where so many great conversations were held, this time it’s less sorrowful and feelings of gratification and appreciation are paramount. This time, it feels right.

A week ago, after realizing that it was only a matter of time until all of the artful dodging and internet gymnastics that Gray was having to do was going to force a choice, I expressed, at Monkbot, that I had passed Denial, and was in the latter phase of Anger of the Kubler-Ross Grief Scale. Over the last week, I think I managed through Bargaining and a wee bit of Depression and am finally to the Acceptance stage…particularly since someone I consider a good friend will experience a huge relief and satisfaction that he did something good that really did profoundly affect others.

Not many people can go through this life and claim that. I sincerely appreciate the hard work and effort put into creating an entertaining, insightful and educational site. He inspired me to take some baby steps to pursue my own “efforts”. I hope that Taylor Hicks understands and appreciates the friend he has in Gray Charles (the man). Dude, you are ALWAYS welcomed here.

So how DO you sum it all up? Words seem so hollow but maybe this touches it a bit:

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

True dat. Here’s to not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next…..and, to saying “yes”.

The Poet Game….


Posted by on March 31, 2007 in gray charles, the internets


14 responses to “Whiter Shade of Gray….

  1. Rich

    March 31, 2007 at 8:33 am


    Just wanted to let you know I’ll be reading. Always enjoyed your posts at Gray’s. If you get a chance, check out YsabellaBrave on YouTube. She tried out for Idol and was rejected 1st audition. She reminds me of Taylor the way she makes you feel the music. When you watch her videos, it looks like she goes into a trance and channels music from some place far away. Lots of soul and blues, and a little rough around the edges.

    Can guys be fangirlie? Anyway, I would be interested in what you think of her.

  2. Shelley

    March 30, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Nicely put, DD. I especially love the Radner quote.

  3. music maven

    March 30, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Shel — Gilda is one of my all time favorites. A very wise woman gone much too soon.

    Rich — Thanks for your post. Ysabella is certainly talented and much more so than most of the AI crop this year. She’s rough but with a little “polish”, she could really go some where. I particularly like God Bless the Child. Thanks for the recommend and come back any time.


  4. AgingHippie

    March 30, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the link. Was ready for a new c Agree with your thoughts – ha ! – now that’s hardly a surprise – usually do.

    If I’m honest I have to admit that it is the right time for Gray’s as we knew and loved it to fold it’s tent.
    The same things you said were getting to you in your message at boogie were also starting to drive me away as well.
    Just find it ironic that the only reason I was still around was because I’ve come to care about that kid and yet today was the first time I ever wrote a post

  5. AgingHippie

    March 30, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Well apparently Verizon and I are having hiccup issues tonight bounced me just as I hit submit – – last part of my post should read

    yet today was the first time I ever wrote a post directly disagreeing with Gray. Feel lousy about that – – really wish I’d slept in !

    Hope you’ll still be posting – always enjoy your thoughts.

  6. music maven

    March 30, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    AgingHippie — thanks for the post. I will be here doing my little thing. It’s music. I’ll be talking it and debating it and playing it. If you’d like to “play”, please come back.

    Oh, and about disagreeing with Gray…I don’t think he’d have it any other way.

  7. Jax

    March 30, 2007 at 9:41 pm


    You put into words what I could not express.

    I told someone today that the first time … Finito part one was like getting hit by a truck, it physically hurt. Today is really sad but as you said we never really got back what was lost the first time around.

    Losing Gray is like losing a brother. There have been days that I could have pinched his head off but there are no words to express to the man what that site has meant to me. The community that he built still exists today. We may not see each other as much but nothing will ever take away the fact that we were there together at the beginning of this wild ride that is Taylor Hicks.

    My concern for Taylor is that he needs someone to step up immendiately & take charge. But it cannot just be anyone. It has to be a fan. A TRUE fan. That’s what made Gray so special, he started it all because he is a fan. Just like us.

    Thank you again, your words brought tears and applause.

  8. baby duck

    March 30, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Well, this will teach me to look at the sidebars and click on the links. I didn’t know ’til now about your blog, double d, when you added the link in your comment. Gray’s departure leaves a void that perhaps your site will help to fill. I’m not at the Acceptance stage quite yet, I guess because I still want that Perfect Ending, after the Clear Middle, and I feel like ‘it’s only just beginning’.

  9. Carol

    March 31, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Well said, DD. I had come to accept that Part Deux was never going to be the same as the original. I missed many names of old … quickly learned the new ones to avoid … longed for the music and related discussions from before … but found other sources along the way. I did still check in daily, because I knew Gray would bring us the latest news (with no spin on it) on a timely basis, but I wasn’t as invested the second time around. So, I’m OK with Gray’s decision because it’s based on what’s right for him and his family. That said, I do think his exit is a huge blow for Taylor. Unfortunately, his “team” cannot handle the site(s) they run now, so how can we think Part Trois will be any different?

    P.S. Remember the WalMart debate?

  10. Gray Charles

    March 31, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    I have a long connection to Greg Brown’s music going back to a very solitary four or five years I spent in Maine in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Greg was around playing locally many times. I spoke with him quite often after his shows at a place that no longer exists called “The Left Bank Cafe” in Blue Hill, Maine. Something came together there with music and people and my own life that would be really difficult to replicate. My connection to music in my college/post-college years was born from something entirely different than the pure emotional connection I was able to make with musicians that I’ll call the “non-earnest” Singer/Songwriters around then.

    Most of the poignancy of the “Poet Game” for me was based on the following lyric

    Sirens wail above the fields – another soul gone down – another Sun about to rise.
    I’ve lost track of my mistakes, like birds they fly around and darken half of my skies.
    To all of those I’ve hurt – I pray you’ll forgive me. I to you will freely do the same.
    So many things I didn’t see, with my eyes turned inside, playing the poet game.

    I’ll always think of the things I gave up to make this happen. Not that it wasn’t worth it but there was quite a bit of pain involved that I’ll be happy to be rid of.

    Maybe Taylor reminds me of Greg in some ways. Take a look at this

    and see the wide range of music Greg put out there. 115 songs in 21 shows – and Greg probably would have done 115 in a shot at some of those shows.

  11. Theresa K.

    March 31, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I really like your blog! I, too, just found out about it and intend to link to it. We’ll all go on.

    For what its worth, I never thought of Gray as a fan of Taylor’s, though he was a great supporter of his. Gray was a fan of good music and the people who tried to put that good music forth. Taylor Hicks just happened to be one of those people and Gray hitched his train for one very interesting ride.

    Let’s all just commit ourselves to being true to good music. Life will go on and get even better.

  12. music maven

    March 31, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Gray — That is certainly an array of music. Kun-NECK-shuns like those you speak of are what makes music so powerful. I reviewed this thread:

    and the comments and how you tried to get us to “tell the story”. That’s kind of what this blog is intended to be. To tell the story of the music and how the kun-NECK-shun is made.

    Thanks for that. And for Greg Brown. Along with many others.

    I’m a quote gal. It’s not a bunch of rhetoric….to me, they mean something. Most great things in our life ARE painful. Rarely, if ever, is something of meaning painless.

    One of my favorite quotes is by Vince Lombardi:
    “But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious. ”

    In many ways your journey has been a parallel of Taylor’s. Even in the time of his life, I’m sure there’s pain. However, the victory IS sweet.

    Off to listen to some Greg Brown.

  13. baby duck

    April 1, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Just for the sake of comparison, here’s a list of songs Taylor has performed in his shows. Impressive.

  14. nolagirl

    April 4, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    DD, love the quote. Man, how true in so many ways for so many of us.


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