An initiative funded by Guilford County

Songwriters@Scup w/Barry Gray, Lynn Blakey, and Bob Bedell

Sun, Jul 14, 2024

Songwriters@Scup is a monthly "songwriters in the round" event, sponsored by Mark Dillon, hosted by Scuppernong Books, and presented by Doug Baker.
With the support and encouragement of a Triad songwriter network, Barry Gray started playing his songs at open mics. A respected supporter encouraged him to enter songwriting competitions. The first contest he won enabled him to record a studio demo of two songs that he submitted to the NC Arts Council songwriting competition. After 30 years of songwriting, and with the help of the NC Arts Council, he published his first album of original songs, Footsteps. His folk style is speckled with blues, country, and gospel influences. The songs are about personal struggle and community; finding a way to make a difference in a complicated, unfair world is a common theme of the album.
Along with members of his family -- sister Bev Gray Gude, brother-in-law Dave Gude, and brother Brad -- Barry plays in Graymatter -- a 60s and 70s cover band known for their big harmonies. He is also a member of award-winning songwriter Wes Collins' band, along with FJ Ventre (bass) and Scott Dameron (guitar). Barry also writes and performs with fellow singer-songwriter Isabel Valls. Their voices blend in harmony and their guitar styles are perfect complements.
“When talking about Lynn Blakey’s place in the music world, you have to start with her voice. Distinctive and bell-clear, sometimes plaintive and always honest, Blakey’s voice is the underpinning of her appeal and of her acclaim, both as a frontwoman and as a guest vocalist. It’s an instrument that hushes crowds and makes grown men cry.
She has released several albums including Glory Fountain's Blame Love, and The Beauty of 23 (La Joy), as well as Tres Chicas' Sweetwater, and Bloom Red and the Ordinary Girl (Yep Roc). Both ensembles toured throughout the US and Europe, headlining and playing shows alongside artists such as Ralph Stanley, Jeff Buckley, Calexico, Molteni, Ian Moore and Tift Merritt.
Today, Blakey is finding fulfillment in the creation of new songs: straightforward, soulful, melodic epiphanies that surge and swim in the waters of love, living, and loss. Blakey’s newest endeavors are supported by her husband Ecki Heins, who lends sympathetic harmonies and sweeping fiddle lines. A five-song E.P. “Meadowview”was recorded with notable North Carolina producer Jerry Kee. and released April 2011.”
—Rick Cornell, music writer for The Independent Weekly, No Depression, Oxford American, and others
Singer-songwriter Bob Bedell is based in Pittsboro, NC, and has been writing and performing songs for decades. Bob has recently turned his focus from folk-rock band to singer-songwriter mode, joining several writers circles around the Triangle and Triad areas, finding motivating inspiration for his writing at every turn. Bob's songs have an eclectic style of alternative Americana pulling from indie folk/rock, alt-country, and blues. His songwriting is ambitious and endearing, leaning on love, loss, renewal, and reaction for the clarity found in life. One radio interview said that Bob's music allows the audience to "walk through the song where it becomes a part of them", allowing them to insert their own story into the song. Bob is currently working on the demos for his first solo album.