I had a great conversation for Boyd Baker for his Good Gracious podcast. We talked about my role at KSU, the importance of Improvisation and Entrepreneurship courses for music students, and my work with duo partner Laura Coyle including our upcoming "A Night of Joni Mitchell" concert at Venkmans on Sunday, September 29. Check it out!
A Night of Joni Mitchell with the Laura Coyle & Trey Wright Quintet
Celebrate the music of Joni Mitchell with the Laura Coyle and Trey Wright Quintet performing Joni’s hits “Woodstock”, “Big Yellow Taxi”, and “Carey” along with selections from her classic 1970’s albums Blue, Hejira,and The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PwTkV8zXRU to hear the quintet’s arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” off Trey’s recent Blue Canoe Records release Begin Again.
Over the past decade, vocalist Laura Coyle and guitarist Trey Wright have established themselves as first-call musicians on the the Atlanta jazz scene. In 2017 they began their duo project, and have since performed at the Athens Jazz Festival, the Roswell Arts Festival, Morgan Hall at Kennesaw State University, Agnes Scott College, the Red Light Café, Venkman’s, Hendershots in Athens, Churchill Grounds Jazz Sessions at Mason Tavern, and the Columbus Jazz Society concert series at The Loft. For this tribute to Joni Mitchell, the duo will be joined by saxophonist Mace Hibbard (of Lyle Lovett’s Large Band), bassist Robert Dickson, and drummer Justin Chesarek (Professor of Jazz Percussion at KSU).
Tickets at www.bigtickets.com/e/venkmans/joni-mitchell
The Art Behind Begin Again
I have gotten great feedback about the art for the new record and I wanted to take a minute to thank the artists involved in the project. Due to the personal nature of Begin Again, I knew that I wanted to take a different approach for the artwork. Out of a lack of ideas, I initially pursued a photo shoot and then realized that I wanted the cover to be a piece of art that matched the intent and mood of the record and not just a picture of me. In the process of looking for an image for the cover, I was drawn to Kevin Holliday’s photography. I’ve known Kevin for many years, both from my time in Athens and Kevin married a closed friend’s sister (I even had the honor of playing their wedding!).
I was moved by Kevin’s artistic statements, particularly the opening paragraph introducing his series “Guiding Light”:
"I have set forth, in this series, to depict a metaphor of our steadfast guidance of light over the course of time. By placing street lamps against a moving sky, created with long-exposure techniques, I am simply revealing that while circumstances may change, time may pass and we continue to move forward, there is an ever-present constant for each of us. This constant, depicted by a simple street lamp, may be different for us all, but it is there nonetheless. If you simply replace the lamp pole in each of these images with a visualization of your own constant, you will be comforted in knowing that no matter the storm or no matter how dark the skies may be, your “Guiding Light” will hold strong."
Kevin’s description of “Guiding Light” matched the album’s theme of struggle and healing. I instantly gravitated towards Kevin’s image ‘silent access’ and enlisted the help of Madoka Oshima to design the cover. Madoka had done an amazing job on my 2015 release Songs From Oak Avenue and I knew she would bring the right aesthetic for this project. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and I hope you will support these amazing artists and check out their work on their websites!
Photographer Kevin Holliday: https://www.kevinhollidayphoto.com
Graphic Designer Madoka Oshima (she is also an amazing pianist!: https://www.madokaoshima.com/
Purchase your own physical copy of Begin Again at: https://www.treywright.com/store/p8/Begin_Again.html
or ... listen online on the platform of your choice: https://orcd.co/qkbrdke
I am excited to share this new tool that includes links to my recent Blue Canoe Records release Begin Again on a wide variety of platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and many others. I hope you'll give the album a listen on the platform of your choice!
Begin Again …
This music was born out of struggle. By the end of 2015, I was feeling burned out and exhausted from years of constant gigging and teaching. In May of that year, I lost a close friend, bassist and long-time bandmate, Carl Lindberg. Carl and I co-founded the band Squat in college, and Carl’s encouragement was one of the main reasons I left my graduate studies in Sociology to pursue life as a musician. I couldn’t imagine music without him …
In October of 2015, I fell apart. I had dealt with mild depression in the past, but nothing prepared me for the depressive episode I experienced that Fall. I lost the ability to function and felt stuck in a spiral that I couldn’t get out of. I began therapy and after several failed attempts to find a medicine that worked for me, I found myself in an intensive outpatient program at Ridgeview Institute in Atlanta. I took a break from performing music that I feared would become permanent and struggled to get through my classes at Kennesaw State University.
Over time, I began to get on my feet again with the support of friends and family, and I started to pursue a new interest in yoga and meditation. After reading Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living, I took a life changing 8-week course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Atlanta Mindfulness Institute. I knew I needed to find a new path forward if I was going to continue working as a musician. For too long I had let music define me, and I let the pressures of life as a musician overwhelm me.
A 2016 house concert of original music with my quartet was a turning point. Even though I had debated canceling it many times, it was healing to make music with close friends in front of a supportive audience. By the end of that year, I began talking with vocalist Laura Coyle about starting a new duo project together. We each welcomed the idea of having a partner to share the business side of music with, freeing up more time for creative collaboration.
In 2018, drummer and producer Marlon Patton approached me about documenting the songs that I had written during this tumultuous period. Begin Again features many of the groups and musicians that I have worked with over my career including the Trey Wright Trio, the Hibbard/Wright Project, Squat, and Laura Coyle. It was particularly meaningful to pay tribute to Carl Lindberg by recording his song “Looking at Each Other” with Squat members Darren Stanley, Kevin Hyde, and Tommy Somerville.
This music is not meant to be sad. In many ways, it is quite the opposite. For me, it is life affirming. The songs “Begin Again” and “May You Be Free” were inspired by my readings and exploration of mindfulness and the song “Me and Einstein” is dedicated to my many adventures with my nine year old son Timothy. I am forever thankful for the friends and family that stuck by my side during this period (you know who you are!). I hope you enjoy the music on this record. For me, it is cathartic and a reminder that you can always begin again.
Trey Wright, January 2019
Itunes Preorder for Trey Wright's upcoming Blue Canoe Release Begin Again!
Preorder your copy now !
New CD Begin Again to be released on Blue Canoe Records on 2/1/2019!
Upcoming CD release features 7 original compositions plus renditions of bassist Carl Lindberg's "Looking at Each Other" and Joni Mitchell's "The Hissing of Summer Lawns". For this latest CD, guitarist and composer Trey Wright is joined by vocalist Laura Coyle, saxophonists Mace Hibbard and Sam Skelton, trombonist Kevin Hyde, bassist Marc Miller, drummer and co-producer Marlon Patton, pianist Tommy Somerville and percussionist Darren Stanley.
Trey Wright Artist's Picks Spotify Compilation!
In anticipation of the upcoming release of Begin Again on 2/1/19 on Blue Canoe Records, I have created a compilation playlist on Spotify of past recordings including selections from Squat, the Randy Hoexter Group, the Hibbard/Wright Project and my releases Where I'm Calling From, Thinking Out Loud and Songs From Oak Avenue.