By: Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer
March 14, 2013
Graybyrds’ Gray Burchette put away his guitar at the age of 12.
Little did he know that as an adult he would one day build a guitar that would be passed to a former client who would help create a sound beloved by the Elkin community and beyond.
Artists Zac Brown, Edwin McCain, Paul Thorn, Darrell Scott and Vicki Genfan credit Burchette for providing them with guitars.
Jonathan Byrd began playing guitar at the age of 13. Early in his musical resume, Jonathan played for a band called Tidal.
Andrea Byrd started performing in front of audiences at the age of 3, singing mostly gospel music.
The trio would eventually unite and create a band and sound that reflects the passion of the Yadkin Valley, say fans, a connection that runs deep into the hearts of those connected to faith, community and family.
The Graybyrds are born
Jonathan met Andrea in 1999. Andrea auditioned for the lead singing role of Tidal. After playing together for three years, Jonathan and Andrea were married in 2002 and started a duo acoustic act together.
The Byrds played several shows a year on their own and released the album “A Song for You.” Simultaneously, Jonathan played guitar for the Jamie Carroll band.
Jonathan and Gray met in 2005 when Jonathan ordered a custom-built acoustic guitar from Gray. After the sale and becoming great friends, they realized the music tastes were quiet similar and started hosting jam sessions.
The three created a band called GrayByrds, “Gray” named after Gray Burchette, and “Byrd” named after Jonathan and Andrea Byrd. The trio officially formed in late 2007.
“Our first gig was at Basin Creek,” said Bruchette. “It’s moments like your first gig that you can’t forget.”
In 2012 the Graybyrds grew with the addition of Randall Couch on the bass and Scotty Prevette on drums.
Growing like a family
“The sound just keeps getting bigger and more diverse,” says Bruchette when discussing the addition of the two newest members of the band.
“We do get together and practice and go to concerts. We are all friends,” said Jonathan Byrd.
“I have played in different bands over the years. Good band members have a certain relationship, and it grows with time. You have to be respectively close,” said Couch.
When pressed if tension ever forms between band members, Couch said it’s all put in perspective.
“I try to give equally encouragement and praise to each member. Yes, you grow tight even so that others are jealous of this. We are having fun trying to get the fun to you. Great friends, great music, this is what people enjoy,” said Couch.
“We just kinda unwind from our busy day jobs, laugh and joke around,” said Jonathan. “There’s been some pretty funny songs written during them that I doubt anyone will ever hear. We all just mesh together so well, we’re like a family.”
They keep it simple
Drummer Prevette asked not to forget the snack food.
“Peanut M&Ms and Jeff Eidson’s famous snack mix — that’s what the band munches on,” said Prevette.
“We all have a pretty good sence of humor,” said Jonathan. “Gray’s just a nut, and Andrea and Scotty are the same way.”
Jonathan says that Randall is the quiet wildcard first appearing shy, “ but added that “he’s one that can really surprise you when you get him going. We all kinda feed off each other. When someone starts something crazy we all join in on the fun.”
“The simplicity is just from loving music,” said Scotty Prevette. “Loving how it can lift youf spirits, heal your heart or take you back to a time that you never want to forget.”
Now with three releases under their belts, the Graybyrds say they are always writing new songs. Originals such as the popular “Helpless Romantic,” “Raven,” “Take Me,” Northern Girl,” “Slipping Away,” “Under My Skin,” are just a few.
The Graybyrds also cover many songs from Old Crow, Pink, Katy Perry and Cranberries.
The band is known for its bluegrass Americana to heavy rock. Their fan base keeps growing along with the shows, they say.
“Its hard to describe what they mean for Surry, Yadkin, Wilkes County. They’re here. They’re us. It’s always about us from this band,” said Wendy Rogers of Boonville.
In the fall of 2012 the Graybyrds shot their first music video “Raven.” The video was filmed and produced by John Litschke of J. Martin Productions.
“The video was something I have always wanted to do,” said Burchette, “To see a song come to life is something special.”
In the Raven video, Emma is a lady who fights obstacles. Every once in a while the Raven in her is turned loose from its cage, and a negative side of Emma comes forward.
“As you watch the video you can watch Emma turn from almost a porcelain doll to a dark seductress,” say the Graybyrds.
The conclusion to the story may be seen by watching the video; www.ravenmusicvideo.com.
“Emma Massingill helped us with several ideas and also did the CD cover art on the last two CD’s. She is also one of the Ravens in the video,” said Burchette.
The Graybyrds are all Wilkes or Surry County natives. Scotty Prevette grew up in Ronda. Randall Couch grew up in Pleasant Hill community of Elkin. Jonathan Byrd grew up in Roaring River and Andrea Byrd is from Wilkesboro. Gray Burchette is from Cool Springs community, Elkin.
The Raven CD/DVD is available at Generations in Jonesville and Antiques on Main beside Songs Treasure. It has 13 songs and a DVD of the Raven video.
The Raven was filmed locally.
“I know people will be shocked when they see this and can’t imagine it being shot around here. Having the Zac Reynolds Kathryn Reynolds connection is really cool too. We just got so lucky with this whole thing. We are going to shoot another one for the song “Under My Skin,” hopefully.”
Reach Anthony Gonzalez by calling 336-835-1513 or email at email@example.com