GRAYSON HUGH & POLLY MESSER / KERRI POWERS - East Rock Concert Series at mActivity in New Haven,
Fernando Pinto Presents: Grayson Hugh & Polly Messer / Kerry Powers
East Rock Concert Series at mActivity in New Haven,
Sunday May 19, 2019
Tickets $20.Adv. $25.
Doors 6:30/ showtime 7pm
Grayson Hugh & Polly Messer
Singer-songwriter-pianist Grayson Hugh has been wowing audiences around the world for the last 30 years with his soulful singing, poetic lyrics, masterful piano playing and passionate live shows. Discovered in a New York City elevator, Hughs major label debut Blind To Reason in 1988 introduced the world to an artist who, in the words of producer Michael Baker, looked like a blue-eyed biker but sounded like all of the great black singers in the world rolled together. His records climbed the charts, he toured the world, contributed songs to Oscar-winning films (Thelma and Lousie, Fried Green Tomatoes, he taught songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he mysteriously disappeared for 15 years and reappeared again. After his 2008 marriage to harmony singer Polly Messer (former member of Grayson Hugh & The Wildtones and the popular swing band Eight To The Bar) he released An American Record in 2010 and Back To The Soul in 2015. Back To The Soul earned a slot on the Offical Ballot for a 2015 Grammy in the Best Americana Album category.
Besides performing acoustic shows with Polly Messer and his band Grayson Hugh & The Moon Hawks, Grayson is currently writing songs and a score for Hungarian director Balazs Hatvanis film Captain Flame, set in 1980s Budapest.
Grayson Hugh is an American original, a singer-songwriter of soulful rhythm and rough-sweet blues. He is the uncompromising truth in a fake-it-till-you-make-it world.
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, Miami Herald, January 9, 2019
Grayson Hugh was honored as Top Soul Man for Our Time at the ROCK JUSTICE AWARDS in recognition for his decades of soulful performance, songwriting, album releases and jaw-dropping, barnstorming piano playing. Hugh, along with singer Polly Messer, completed a raucous 90-minute set upon a nine-foot concert grand piano before adoring West Coast fans who had a chance to connect again with their favorite artist.
- Sarah Tulowkitzki, Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2018
"Amazing show last night!!! I always expect great music from Grayson Hugh and am never disappointed. But at last night's concert at The Katherine Hepburn Theater, he took us all up to a new level because of the musical chemistry with Polly. It's a magical blend!"
- Colin McEnroe, Host of The Colin McEnroe Show, WPNR/CPBN, April 10, 2011
+ Kerri Powers
Powers is something of an anomaly. Shes like the music scenes version of the protagonist in the film, The Natural, having spent the prime of her career out of the spotlight -- in her case, tending to her family -- only to return from absolutely nowhere to wow and amaze. Where Robert Redford made all the fans sit up and cheer with mammoth home runs, Kerri Powers is going to make people listening to this album do the exact same thing with exceptional song writing and equally exceptional delivery. -- Chip McCabe, Lonesome Noise
Kerri Powers was destined to be a musician from the start. While most kids her age spent their childhoods following frivolous pursuits, she spent hers reading, painting, writing stories, learning guitar and composing her first songs at the tender age of nine. By her own admission, she was a shy child, but her creative pursuits gave her an appreciation of the larger world around her. Those instincts seemed to have been bred naturally, given that there was undeniable talent embedded in her genes. Bing Crosby was a distant relative on her fathers side, while her mothers relatives were said to be descended from author Herman Melville. Notably too, Powers paternal grandmother made her living by playing piano and providing musical accompaniment for silent films, making her a show business standby back in the day.
Not surprisingly then, Powers was encouraged to pursue her own creative ambitions while still in adolescence. Her mother, a talented visual artist in her own right, owned an extensive record collection, which gave Kerri her initial exposure to irrefutable icons like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Prine. I would sit in a wicker rocking chair by the record player and sing along to the songs, she recalls. I remember hearing John PrinesHello in There for the first time and feeling that something magical was happening. It was a momentary yet memorable trip to a sad but hopeful place of lonely old faces.
Powers started playing professionally in local coffeehouses throughout her native New England, and went on to release several well-received albums in the new millennium, culminating in Faith in the Shadows in 2009. Two of her songs were later featured on the Fox series Rescue Me starring Denis Leary. After taking time off to get married and raise her young son she returned to performing, counting among her credits the Boston Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival, among other prestigious gatherings. Shes also toured Europe while opening for Canadian singer/songwriter Fred Eaglesmith in The Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
This flurry of activity recently culminated in a new self-titled album, her first effort in five years. With a track list that includes eight searing self-penned songs along with incisive covers of Janis Ians Jesse, and The Bee Gees To Love Somebody, it ranks as Powers most accomplished collection to date. The recording was a last minute decision, she recalls. The idea was to cut a couple of tracks simply to see how it would go.
The results a sound thats homespun, sparse and understated -- provide another ideal showcase for Powers intimate and expressive song writing, as well as her adroit ability to interpret the works of others.
Fully reenergized and excited about rebooting her career, Powers is looking forward to a return to touring both here and overseas. Clearly, the creative spark that was ignited so early on is fully fueled once again.
285 Nicoll Street
New Haven, CT 06511