It was back in early 2019 that I first discovered the captivating and powerful music of indie singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J GRGRY (a.k.a., Joe Gregory) with the release of his single "Dinosaurs." The song blew me away with its energy, emotion, soaring vocals and poignant lyrical theme.
At the time, I caught up with Joe in a March 2019 blog post on SoundThread Music Blog to talk about "Dinosaurs," and to learn more about the eclectic, creative musical persona that is J GRGRY. Joe revealed that "Dinosaurs" was a song about him coming out and accepting himself as a gay man, and choosing a path of positivity and light despite religious and political detractors. One of the many songs that Joe wrote shortly after moving from Seattle to California back in 2017, he revealed that "Dinosaurs" unlocked something within himself that he'd been searching for a long time.
Anxious to get out on the road in 2019 and perform some of his new music, Joe released several singles, including "Dinosaurs." Joe recalls, "The version [of 'Dinosaurs'] from early 2019 was a demo we were working on. I wanted to have some new material out for the tours I was going on that year and I wanted to test the songs out on the road." However, the execution didn't proceed as smoothly as anticipated. Joe reflects on the challenges he encountered performing some of the demos in a live setting. "Engineer after engineer, venue after venue, struggled with the tracks so much until we finally figured out that those demos had major elements recorded and mixed out of phase, among other amateur editing mistakes, and the tracks became a nightmare to deal with performing live."
Not one to dwell on setbacks, Joe embarked on the significant and costly effort to save the songs that instilled such a sense of pride within himself. Joe comments, "If it weren't for the fact that I wrote everything and can play all the instruments myself, it would not have been possible to save them."
With the new release of "Dinosaurs," I reconnected with Joe to chat about his reflections on the song's meaning and to learn what's on the musical horizon for J GRGRY. Joe reiterates the underlying theme and message of "Dinosaurs," noting, "Like I mentioned previously, this was a call to myself to live authentically and passionately. Ultimately, to fight daily against racism and white supremacy. To fight for women's rights. To combat homophobia and transphobia, and to try to create a safer more loving world, day by day, person by person, as I go."
Expanding upon the song's lyrics and underlying message, Joe adds, "Something else I discovered touring with 'Dinosaurs' in 2019 was that my specific anti-Trump message wasn't as obvious as I thought it to be. The lyrics in the verses talk about his sheer ineptitude and that he doesn't even know an I.Q. test isn't something you pass or fail." With regard to the song's chorus, Joe reveals, "My depiction of a bird is meant to symbolize Twitter and the divisive, maniacal words he uses on that platform.
I'm not gonna listen anymore
to the birds chirp down the street, no.
I'm not gonna let 'em take anything other
than they've already taken from me.
With the new and spectacular sounding (re)release of "Dinosaurs," I stand firm by my previous comments that it ranks among the most perfect, beautifully composed songs I've ever heard. For Joe, the current release is clearly a fulfilling moment. He remarks, "I've never been more proud of one of my compositions and while this battle for the song to come to life, true to my vision, has been exhausting and demoralizing on so many days, I am so thankful to share this final version with you all."
What's next for J GRGRY, you might ask? Joe reveals, "We are releasing singles monthly through next spring (including an original Xmas song I'm super hyped about!!) and then a full 16-18 song album, this time next year." Along with a future relocation to Oregon, Joe adds, "Stay tuned cause the next six months are going to be really special!"
And with that, I leave you with a recent live-streamed concert that J GRGRY performed with Seattle's Nectar Lounge as part of their Virtual Concert Series. "Dinosaurs" opens up the evening's live performance.