Grey Reverend, otherwise known as Brooklyn-based artist L.D. Brown, came to playing the guitar almost by accident.
Back in 2005, Brown was moving into an apartment in Philadelphia, and, perhaps by fate, inherited an acoustic guitar left by the former tenant. Soon after, Brown was learning the instrument and composing his own songs.
Listening to the music of Grey Reverend, you don’t necessarily hear a player who’s immersed in the complexities of music theory or jazz improvisation. But in actuality, Brown is a versed musician and studied jazz guitar under the legendary Pat Martino.
Here’s where the story takes a turn. While working towards his dream of becoming one of the great jazz players like Montgomery, Metheny or his mentor Martino, Brown hit a roadblock and began experiencing problems with his hands.
He was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neurological disorder that effects ﬁne motor skills. Brown vowed to never put down the guitar, but because of his decreased ability to play technical jazz fingerings, absorbed himself in more subtle folk and blues styles.
Grey Reverend represents this turn for Brown. While the playing is more folk-oriented than jazzy and the singing can at times verge on a whisper, the chord choices and progressions are refreshing and deep. As Grey Reverend, L.D. Brown becomes a modernized version of an old school delta bluesman. It’s raw, soulful, and at times, melancholic, but remains densely musical.
Check out the video for “Everlasting” below, which is the first single from Grey Reverend’s new full length A Hero’s Lie. Directed by Dominic Lahiff, the surreal visuals perfectly match the tone of the song.
Grey Reverend plays select dates throughout the US this October. Learn more at www.greyreverend.com.