We recently discovered Grey Season playing at a friends house party. Our friend had donated “above and beyond” to the groups Kickstarter campaign to make the self titled record they’ve just released. They were all rightfully proud to tell us how it was recorded in Levon Helm's studio barn.
The members of Grey Seaon all spent time at the Berklee School of Music and it was telling that they sounded like seasoned veterans even though they’re all in their very early 20’s. They didn’t use a PA system which struck us as weird until we heard them sing; all five of them sing together.
Then Matt Knelman the lead guitarist, told me that they got started playing on street corners and that they’ll still do that from time to time.
They basically had their street gear at the party: tiny drum kit and bass amp and acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins and playing at lower decibels so the vocals could be heard.
Their lyrics are very earnest and sometimes morbid in the way young lovers can be. Satellite sounds like the hit of the record. It’s got a chorus that jumps out at full scope in a contemporary, radio-friendly way. Another stand out is their cover of Bob Dylan’s "Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind" with an acapella introduction.
At the core of the sound, is the voices of Jon Mills and Chris “Gooch” Bloniarz who also plays the banjo and mandolin. They harmonize on most songs and, indeed, this pairing was the nucleus around the formation of Grey Season.
The group is rounded out by the lanky Ian Jones who peppers bis phrases with f-bombs but can rip on bass and reminds me of Pete Erchick, our old roommate and stellar musician with The Olivia Tremor Control, and Ben Burns who could play in most any band as a singer, guitarist and banjo player, much less what he does here on drums.
We see big things on the horizon for Grey Season. Besides the fact that they
don’t like the comparison to Mumford & Sons, Grey Season should benefit from recent groups that like them who harken back to “Americana” stylings.
(When we spoke to them we couldn’t believe they hadn’t heard "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" by the Byrds. They’re folk but not so much country. Yet we’d love to hear them cover one of those tunes such as "You Don’t Miss Your Water."
Grey Season hails from Boston but are traveling around New England and New York and most likely further and further out as the word spreads. Check out Satelites: