Coming Soon To A Jazz Trio Near You?
Story by Steve Ruff
Picture by Greg Lawless
Talking to Greg Lawless was really cool. He is by far one of the most gracious guys that I have been able to speak with, and he was extremely nice and very eager to help out in any way that he could. I was honestly disarmed by how pleasant he was. Dialoguing with Greg about Gene Eugene (see upcoming special edition) was interesting because he had known Gene for so long and he spoke so fondly of him. I remember when we ran the story with Allan Aguirre in the last issue, and how Allan told me that Greg had played on their first album. He’s been around the industry for a long time and had the opportunity to work with several great bands and artists that were forerunners in the scene. I was able to catch up with him about what he is doing now.
I asked Greg if his solo album, Prayers and Lowsongs was the only thing he had released. He said, “Yes it is. We decided to put that on the Gene Eugene Tribute album, and I wasn’t really comfortable putting it out there then, but we did it at the time to show that we were going to continue to make music and carry on after Gene’s passing. When I asked him if he was still playing he responded, “I don’t have a band or anything. I moved to a small town in Oregon about 15 years ago. For a few years I would fly down to the Green Room if we had a recording or a gig to play. Also during that time I played solo acoustic gigs in coffeehouses, or opening for other bands, and I did that for a long time. A couple of years ago I felt that had kind of run its course, so I’m not doing that anymore. Now, musically, I play all the time but I’m not recording. I have two kids, and I was never able to make a living playing music, but my family is real important to me… so we moved up here and I played when I could and just worked and raised my kids and stuff. Now my kids are both grown, married and doing well on their own. I would love to play with some people again so maybe I’ll just see what happens with that.”
Greg’s solo album was an acoustic singer/ songwriter disc that was filled with poetic lyrics and really gave a chance for his guitar playing to shine. The music was minimal, so nothing really overshadowed his playing, and it was pleasant to hear him by himself. As far as what he’s into now? “I’m trying to kind of learn to play in a new way. I think I’m going in a different direction. I don’t know if I’ll be doing the solo/acoustic thing anymore. Things are kind of up in the air for me, musically anyway. I’m hoping in the next year or so, believe it or not, I want to start a jazz trio. There’s some new stuff out there that’s really inspiring, not straight ahead jazz, but stuff that uses the harmony of jazz, not really the swing and rhythm. Something like a guitar, bass, drums and maybe a trumpet or sax. At this point in my life that is the music that really challenges me, it feels right to me and I feel like there’s a lot of potential for me to grow in that music. It’s the direction that I’m going and probably the direction that I’ll be going for quite some time. So, if I do get anything together in the next year or so, it will be something like that, and at that time I will probably throw up a MySpace page.”