Weaving Together Music & Art
Gray was born and raised in (Snake Hollow) Paint Rock, Tennessee. In this place he developed a sense of curiosity, discovery and imagination which he still pursues through his art and music. His work is rich in southern imagery, for example, from his song Brushy Mountain, Gray painted a convict, transformed into a blackbird, flying away from the remote East Tennessee prison with the lyrics of the murder ballad written across the sky. Like all of Gray's work, it is rendered in acrylic house-paint -- in this case on the side piece of an old church pew. Gray's art has been featured in the Oxford American and Time Magazine. Also, The Complete Hank Williams boxed CD set, featuring Gray's art, won a Grammy Award for design. His newest music and art is evocative of his childhood in Paint Rock, Tennessee near the Smokey Mountains where he was reared by his grandparents on a small farm. "From an artistic point of view, I'm glad I went through that,"said Gray,describing an anachronistic life-style as a child where he and his family had no plumbing or running water. His recent paintings are of blackbirds, mules, and men cutting wood or curing tobacco, often with lyrics of his songs superimposed on the image. "Sometimes I'll paint a memory and write out what I remember from it," explained Gray. "You could call this 'folk tales or songs mixed with painting'." Gray's work is popular among Nashville musicians, but it has shown as far away as SoHo, New York and as nearby as the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville and the Country Music Hall Of Fame.