What is your name? What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Great question. I’m not entirely sure. Le Devoir called my debut release, Field Notes, “slow Americana” which captured, I think, the tone and sensibility of my music. You’ll have to tell me if this describes my current release, Still Lifes. I’m not sure it does, even though the album features quintessentially American instruments: the pedal steel and lap steel guitar.
Give us a little bio about you.
I grew up playing the piano but became interested in the guitar in high school. During my college years, I took up the dobro because my friends started playing bluegrass and the dobro was the only instrument not yet represented among my peers. I had also always loved the sound of the dobro having heard Jerry Douglas on my dad’s records. I eventually picked up lap steel guitar, and later, pedal steel guitar. I was living in the Pacific Northwest at the time. I think the most formative period of my musical development was a year spent in Austin, Texas, where I played in a variety of bands and was either rehearsing or playing out every other night. There’s nothing better than living in that kind of environment for a year or two if you see music as part of your vocation. That was in my early twenties. After that year in Austin, I moved back to the Pacific Northwest where I worked various jobs, got married, started having kids, and continued playing music. I also got into recording and began composing for film and commercials. Some of that work can be seen on my website (www.mgrigmusic.com). Most recently, my family and I have been living in Durham, North Carolina which is both a beautiful place and home to a wonderful community of musicians. Durham is where I reconnected with Scott Orr who runs Other Songs Music Co. He invited me to release my music under his label which is turning out to be a great partnership.
Tell us more about your music.
I love the many forms of the steel guitar – dobro or resonator guitar, lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar. I also love instrumental music that’s sensitive to issues to space and ambiance. There’s nothing like listening to music and being captured by a series of notes or a vibe that gathers one’s attention and invites more attentive listening. I’m not sure if my music does that for others, but I think this sensibility animates my approach to composing and recording.
You have a new EP ‘Still Lifes’ set to release, what can we expect from it?
Layers upon layers of steel guitar, some of which is played in a fairly straightforward manner, some of which is cut up and chopped into sonic bits, and some of which is run through and manipulated by loop pedals and other effects. Some of the tracks run into each other, so it’s meant to be listened to from beginning to end. Preferably with headphones.What was the recording process like? Lengthy. Some of the tracks were recorded about a decade ago around the time I bought my first multi-track recording program. I was living in Seattle at the time, and multi-track recording was this new and wonderful thing. I spent a lot of time tucked away as it rained (of course), layering lap steel and pedal steel guitar, experimenting with sound. Some of the experiments worked. The ones that did made it on Still Lifes. The newer tracks were recorded intermittently – some in the Pacific Northwest, others in Durham. I did the final mixing in Durham and Scott Orr handled the mastering.
Do you have any gigs or a tour coming up?
If so where will you be heading?
I have a few shows in Durham, North Carolina.
Are you a signed?
Yes, I’m signed to Other Songs Music Co. which is run by Scott Orr out of Hamilton, Ontario.
Who are your influences?
For Still Lifes, I would credit Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Stars of the Lid, and A Winged Victory for the Sullen as influences.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
I hope to be playing out and touring more so, either solo or with a small ensemble. I will certainly continue releasing records, as I feel like I’m just getting started with that.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Lots of reading and writing. I’m currently in the middle of a PhD program. I also love spending time with my family.
Where would your dream venue to play in your hometown?
I like small, intimate venues – bars of cafes that are dark and inviting. There are plenty of those in Durham.
Would you be up for collaborating with an unsigned artist or band?
If so how can they contact you? Sure. I can be reached via my website: .
Where is your dream festival to perform?
I would love to play the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?