Huffman explains, “Ray got involved with the project after we were introduced in Austin. He sat down and I nervously fumbled through a few of my songs for him. He is a phenomenal songwriter and someone I admire very much both musically and personally.” Hubbard agreed to produce the project and it was recorded in spring of 2000 in Dripping Springs, TX. The album, released in November of that year, is an EP containing six original tunes and a cover of The Hangdogs “Monopoly on the Blues”.
The album bears the stamp of Hubbard, focusing primarily on song writing and acoustic sounds. Some outstanding players contributed to this album, including Stephen Bruton, Paul Pearcy, Terry “Buffalo” Ware, Jon Mastin and Jim Richmond. However, underneath the sound of Miles From Here, there are elements of the band’s soon-to-come evolution. In the spring of 2002, Macon Greyson returned to the studio, this time in Denton, TX. During the two years of playing live in support of Miles From Here, the band had begun to develop its own distinct sound.
Huffman explains, “Having Ray produce the first record really showed us the importance of song writing in music.” Harley Husbands, lead guitarist, continues, “However, as we played out on the road, we really began to develop a more rock attitude in our musical approach. It really wasn’t a conscious effort to be more rock’n’roll, it just happened.” Macon Greyson took that attitude into the studio and co-produced their next album Uneasy with Erik Herbst at The Panhandle House. “We really wanted to have a hand in the production of this record,” says bass player Badger Vass. “We thought about a number of producers but finally realized that if we were going to put our own stamp on this, we needed to do this project ourselves.” Uneasy contains twelve original songs and a cover of Uncle Tupelo’s “Whiskey Bottle”.
Trying to describe the sound of Uneasy presents a kind of challenge, not unlike that of describing the band’s influences. The album is part country. The album is part rock. The album is a mix of the two.
Forget labels and stereotypes, the sound is their own. One reviewer stated, “ first kicked in the teeth by the song writing, then kicked in the gut with the music.” Macon Greyson has stayed true to meaningful song writing while adding a roots rock approach to the music. The album received good critical reviews and was followed by comparisons to Son Volt, Whiskeytown, Old 97s, Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks and early Wilco. “We really don’t mind those comparisons.
Those bands have undeniably influenced us,” says Huffman. “When those bands started, people compared them to their predecessors. A lot of bands really fight the â€˜comparison game’ because it can be irritating. But I suppose that comparisons can serve a purpose in that they give people who have never heard you before a base to work from.
Once people hear our music, hopefully they figure the rest out for themselves.” In November of 2004, Macon Greyson again returned to The Panhandle House in Denton to record their third album with Erik Herbst. “It was a natural choice.” explains Husbands. “We had such a great experience with Uneasy, there was no question that we wanted Erik involved again.” The newest release from Macon Greyson is entitled “Translate” and contains eleven original songs, and in keeping with their tradition, also includes one cover song. Interestingly, the band chose The Ramone’s “My Brain is Hanging Upside Down”.
When the band was asked why they chose a Ramone’s song for the record, their response was, “Why not?” The unsatisfactory answer to the previous question leaves the reader hopeful of a bit more explanation when the band is asked about the title of the new album. A bit more forthcoming, Huffman explains, “I have never been crazy about the idea of our albums having a title track. But I think the song Translate says a lot about the motivations and themes behind this record and ultimately made a lot of sense to us.” Vass continues, “The sounds and approaches on this album are very diverse. We tried to challenge ourselves and our listeners by creating something musically unique without losing the message in the songwriting.” The last bit of intrigue concerns the artwork for the album, which requires a bit of explanation.
“The centerpiece of the idea is something called the â€˜Enigma Machine’” explains Huffman. “The pictures are all gears and parts of a machine the Germans used during WWII to encode messages they were sending. One of the big breaks for the Allies during WWII was when they broke the Enigma code and were able to intercept and translate their messages. The whole idea seemed very fitting.” The music on “Translate”is all at once electrifying rock’n’roll, but before you can adjust your headset has become acoustic and rootsy.
Meandering through their diverse soundscape is something Macon Greyson takes very seriously, the lyrics. “It is our hope that listeners not only find the music interesting but that they find something in the song writing to grab and hold onto.” The band starkly admits, “The maturation process is always ongoing, but we as a band have finally grown up. We are not worried about where we fit anymore. We are what we are.” The brand new CD from Macon Greyson, “Translate” is something that will not fit easily into any categories, but after you listen, like the band, you just won’t care because this is an excellent band that has made an outstanding album.
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