Greg Nagy

DownBeat Magazine's Best of 2015!

Roots Music Report

Vintage Guitar Magazine

Real nice review in the iconic Vintage Guitar Magazine.

"...excellently realized album."

"B l u e s rocker Greg Nagy makes the Northern industrial equivalent to Southern country of the 1950s and ’60s. He melds ’70s West Coast R&B, Brit- ish blues rock, Albert King tones, dollops of Steely Dan, the Rascals and Elvin Bishop, and the unhurried approach of a player justifiably confident in his material.

Always a tastefully impressive guitarist, he continues to grow as a songwriter and singer, proving himself immediately in “Stranded,” a soul-blues tune that leads into “Walk Out The Door.” The two are among the best examples of Nagy’s strongly rooted style.

He also continues to grow as a producer and record-maker, al- ways keeping the big picture in mind. Whether it’s knowing when to step aside for co-producer Jim Alfredson’s keyboards in “Still Doing Fine” and the moving ballad “Run Away With You,” or adding short, telling licks to “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” and the “Voodoo Chile”-inspired “Long Way To Memphis.”

Nagy the guitar player works in service to the song. And with Alfredson, Nagy the producer makes sure the songs work in service to this excellently realized album." – Rick Allen

DownBeat Magazine

"Stranded is... straight shooting honesty...gold." 
DownBeat Magazine FOUR STARS!

 

Jazz and Blues Report

"Stranded is another excellent recording by Greg Nagy that brings together solid playing, strong soulful material, and vocals that are full of heart and conviction."

Soul Bag

Soul Bag (of France) Gives Stranded 4 Stars!

 

GREG NAGY

Stranded ****
Big O records / 2421
BLUE-EYED SOUL


Chanteur notable - on pense à Tad Robinson - ce jeune quinquagénaire qui nage parfaitement en eaux soul est à découvrir d'urgence. Réalisé durant le terme d'un mariage de 25 ans, "période la plus sombre de ma vie", concède-t-il, ça a été pour lui l'occasion de transmuter la peine en optimisme, l'épreuve en combat, l'abattement en résilience. Sa version intelligente d'"Ain't no love in the heart of the city" est toute personnelle; pudique, épurée et transfigurée, c'est un modèle de reprise dont pourraient s'inspirer bien des artistes. Les talents d'écriture de Greg Nagy éclatent par ailleurs; "Still doin' fine" coule en douceur sur tempo medium, "Long way to Memphis", sombre et habité, séduit et convainc par son côté profondément bluesy. "Been such a long time", sautillant et enfiévré, nous replonge dans le groove cher aux années Stax. 14 musiciens au total - Zach Zunis ou Dave Gross en sont les plus connus - ont collaboré au son globalement "dentelé" de ce disque remarquable, au mixage soigné dont on a exclu toute fioriture. Surprenante, puis captivante, cette apparente simplicité de traitement de la musique, apanage des grands artistes, sert habilement un répertoire pénétrant.
Marc Loison

Translation:

Spectacular review from Soul Bag in France!

Greg Nagy - Stranded
★★★★ Soul Blues
Notable singer - think of Tad Robinson-, this young 50-something who swims perfectly in the waters of Soul music should be checked out. Produced during [the failure of] a 25 year marriage, “the darkest period of my life”, he admits, this was an opportunity for him to convert the pain to optimism, trial to battle, dejection to resilience. His smart version of Ain’t no love in the heart of the city is all personal; pure, clean, and transformed, it could be a model for other artists to follow. The writing talents of Greg Nagy break out elsewhere; Still doin’ fine flows smoothly to a medium tempo, Long way to Memphis, dark and occupied, seduces and persuades with its deeply bluesy feel. Been such a long time, hopping and feverish, drops us down again into the cherished groove of the Stax years. Fourteen musicians in all - Zach Zunis and Dave Gross are the best known - collaborated on the universally “jagged” sound of this remarkable disc, no-frills and well mixed. Surprising, then captivating, the apparent simplicity of the music, a prerogative of great artists, skillfully serves a penetrating repertoire.

Top TEN!!! National Living Blues Charts

No Depression

Stranded, Greg Nagy. Nine new songs, most coauthored by soul singer Nagy, join a cover of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” on this album, which (according to a press release) reflects the dissolution of the artist’s 25-year marriage. The artist’s guitar work is fine, but the main attraction on this album is his voice... Songs like “I Won’t Give Up” mark him as a soul singer who could rank with the greats.

Jeff Burger (byjeffburger.com) edited Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters and Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters, both published by Chicago Review Press.

Number One Album In The Country for 15 Weeks!

Top 25 for over 8 months too!  

All About Jazz

First, of course, is the voice. Tonally-even voices are boring. That explains the appeal of voices like Louis Armstrong's (pitch-perfect gravel in a coffee can); Richard Manuel's (pleading voice of a dying man); Levon Helm's(Scotch-Irish Delta dirt) and Neil Young's (dry ice on the range). Greg Nagy has a voice like that. It is beautifully shaped out of Detroit grit, tobacco, and haze. Nagy's voice is informed equally by every Motown act he heard in his 1960's youth as well as those coming out of Memphis during the same period. The title cut frames Nagy squarely in a soul—R&B intersection. Recalling David Ruffin more than Eddie Kendricks, Nagy possesses the necessary vocal edge to set him far apart from his contemporaries. 

Second is the guitar. Nagy favors Fender Stratocasters played with little or no overdrive, producing a slinky, spacious sound that recalls Funk Brother Joe Messina. This is most evident on the soul-centered pieces like "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" and "Welcome Home." He can play the blues also. "Long Way to Memphis" digs out a Delta groove allowing Nagy ample room to stretch. Nagy's blues retain a polished sophistication that is the mark of much study and practice. As Nagy's third full-length release, Strandedfurther promotes the artist's unique bona fides and reflects his dedication to not only the old, but also the new.

Mississippi Blues Club

"A masterpiece of healing music." 
Mississippi Blues Club on Stranded

Blues in Britain

Greg Nagy’s third solo CD reinforces his presence as a significant force on the modern blues scene as a soulful singer and guitarist to look out for.

His influences are many and eclectic, ranging from the Van Morrison inspired title track – via the solemnity of the Claptonesque ‘Walk Out that Door’ – to his stark interpretation of Bobby Bland’s ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’.  Morrison again comes to mind on the deeply soulful ‘I won’t give Up’ with it’s gospel piano and churchy organ – with that Clapton influence again evident on the soul-fuelled ‘Run away With You’ – ‘Long Way to Memphis’ with It’s brooding blues guitar and hypnotic rhythms has more than a hint of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues in it’s make-up – whilst ‘Been such A Long Time’ shows Nagy has a seriously funky side that is enhanced by his haunting vocals.

A fine guitarist and deeply soulful singer with a penchant for writing good songs – Nagy has the potential to expand his audience onto the world-wide blues scene. 

 

Friday Blues Fix


Greg Nagy - Stranded (Big O Records):  Nagy, who used to be with the Midwestern blues/soul band Root Doctor, saw his long marriage come to an end during the recording of this album.  From those unfortunate events came what is definitely his most personal release and certainly one of his best.   His performances on these ten tracks, both vocally and on guitar, are absolutely spellbinding. 

The music focuses mainly on the Blues and Soul side of things, but there's also several tracks that mix Pop and R&B.  Nagy is joined by his former Root Doctor band mate Jim Alfredson, who plays keyboards and also co-produced and co-wrote several of the songs with Nagy, and Zach Zunis also guests on guitar.  Nine of the ten tracks are originals (one is written by Kevin McKendree), and the lone cover is a good one.....the Bobby Blue Bland classic "Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City."  Nagy really outdoes himself on this CD, with some great vocals and songs that will thrill blues fans and soul fans alike.

Local Spins (WYCE)

MICHIGAN’S GREG NAGY TOPS ROOTS MUSIC CHART


Michigan guitarist and singer Greg Nagy — who performs regularly in the Grand Rapids area – has reached the top of the soul music mountain.

Nagy’s new album, “Stranded,” last week soared immediately to the top of the Roots Music Report’s
Top 50 R&B Album Chart
, just ahead of another Michigan artist, Detroit’s Betty LaVette (for “Worthy”) and well above national stars such as Ne-Yo, Prince and Janelle Monae.

“My initial and driving desire was to just get it done, even if no one heard it,” Nagy told Local Spins. “It is a pleasant surprise. And it feels good when people say that the music makes them feel better. A lot of people have been writing to say that the songs touch them. That’s such a wonderful reward.”

In addition to the impressive debut on the Roots Music Report chart, songs from the album have been added to the rotation at radio stations across the country.

“Stranded,” Greg Nagy

Nagy’s third solo album was recorded at Lansing keyboard player Jim Alfredson’s studio, with mixing and mastering by Glenn Brown. The intense-yet-hopeful collection of bluesy and soulful songs was recorded during a “tough year” of personal turmoil for Nagy.

“Everyone who has ever felt the loss of a human relationship will likely feel a connection to this album,” Nagy said in an earlier interview. “And making this feels like a major victory.”

Nagy, of Grand Blanc, next performs in the Grand Rapids area at 6:40 p.m. April 11 at Wealthy Theatre as part of Jake’s Music Festival, followed by an “unplugged” session at 5 p.m. Sunday at Allegan First Presbyterian Church in Allegan.

Read more about Nagy and his new album in this Local Spins feature. Buy the CD online at gregnagy.com.

Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC

 

Blues Bytes

"As with any good blues song, these tunes, and Nagy’s performances of them, not only make you feel the hurt, but they also show a resilience and refusal to surrender. This [Stranded] is a great disc for fans of blues and soul."

About.com

 "Nagy has crafted an impressive sophomore album. Its stylistic diversity means the listener never gets bored,

and Nagy's vocal and guitar chops place him in the upper echelon of contemporary blues artists. He's an artist

worthy of more recognition, and Fell Toward None is an easy-to-like record that rewards repeated listening. "

 

Sing Out Magazine

 "...Nagy’s vocals recall Boz Scaggs at his most soulful and sophisticated."

Living Blues

"You just know that you’re in for something special upon hearing the rich, gospel-tinged a capella vocal harmonies that open the title track of Greg Nagy’s solo debut Walk That Fine Thin Line. The former Root Doctor guitarist spins a diverse web of soul, blues, and rock on this audacious record. Nagy attacks his music with all guns blazing, seeming to have something to prove. If he does have something to prove, he’s accomplished his goal.

Nagy’s music is intense-not in the sense of overpowering volume or heavy-handed instrumental treatment, but in the sense that it puts itself out there, it’s exposed for better or for worse. Nagy does what he does to please himself first, not catering to any particular sub-genre or stylistic limitation. He’s got an air of confidence and a likeable swagger that works to his advantage. His sweetly piercing Stratocaster licks and commandingly soulful voice (which recalls vintage Al Green at Nagy’s higher register) are fused with a cathartic rhythmic presence and wafting keys (courtesy of fellow Root Doctor alum Jim Alfredson) to create a deeply personal and highly entertaining musical statement.

Playing by his own musical rules, Nagy locks in a firm, dynamic groove on tracks like For The Love Of A Woman, letting his Strat do much of the talking, his sense of phrasing impeccable. The delightfully dark, funky tones on Blues Will Take Good Care Of Yougive a good understanding of what Nagy’s all about-creating an animated, bluesy escapade that is pure ear candy. Other notable entries are a sly reading of Keb Mo’s You Can Love Yourself and the wide-open boogie of Jenny, Jenny, Jenny—where Nagy really seems to let loose, with a ferocious, brittle-toned guitar assault and throat-busting vocal.

A delightfully melodic and charismatic musical declaration, Walk That Fine Thin Line is Greg Nagy at the top of his game; this debut is going to be hard to top."

DownBeat

"...Nagy has the stuff to get noticed beyond the Midwest. There's psychological depth and narrative momentum to his singing, and his blues guitar playing rings true in a personal way, even when in the spirit of Albert King or Jimmy Johnson. In addition, Nagy's songwriting is studded with winning connections to blues, r&b, soul, gospel, jazz, rock, country. The pan-stylistic title track is richer than a creme de cacao..."

Elmore

"Greg Nagy is a master of pulling glistening, flawless, funky grooves out of his guitar."

Midwest Record

"[Nagy is] a high octane belter; as gritty as it gets. Hot!"

"...Greg can play anything he wants to guitar wise, but it's his voice that's heart stopping... On She's My Baby [from Walk That Fine Thin Line] you hear him at his most authentic. A little Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel all rolled into one." 

Grand Rapids Press

 ‎"Greg Nagy, “Fell Toward None” — Since leaving Lansing’s Root Doctor, Michigan blues guitarist Greg Nagy has done nothing but shine on solo projects. His latest is no exception."

Geoff Wilbur Music Blog

Greg Nagy – Stranded

Backstory

Greg Nagy is well-established as one of the top bluesmen in Michigan. But his star has risen nationally with his last two releases, Fell Toward None and Stranded. Now, I was on hiatus from writing when Fell Toward None was released, so I haven’t heard it, though I did catch Greg’s band live in the interceding years (February 2013, to be exact). While Fell Toward None received national praise, it’s Stranded that really launched Greg into the national consciousness, earning him additional global accolades, chart-topping results, and some high rotation on XM/Sirius radio. All of this acknowledgement of his talent is well-deserved… though I suppose I should have prefaced that with a “spoiler alert.” Then again, I hand-pick a lot of my favorite artists to review – people I think you’ll be glad I introduced you to, if you don’t already know them – so it probably isn’t a big spoiler.

Album Review of Greg Nagy: Stranded

Greg Nagy - Stranded

image courtesy of Big O Records

When you think about great blues, it starts with the voice, and Greg Nagy has that voice. It’s not a deep blues voice but more mid-range – and, technically, a mid-range vocal is probably a high blues vocal – but it packs in the emotion. You can hear the passion and, in Greg’s case, you get a consistently strong voice with just enough gravel to convey every feeling that goes with the lyrics. But it’s also about the music. And Greg’s guitar sings as soulfully as his voice. After hearing Stranded, you’ll learn what learn what Michigan blues fans – and an increasing number of blues fans nationwide – already know. If Greg Nagy releases a new album, be excited. And buy it. The guy’s a rare talent.

Greg Nagy

photo by J. Bowler

Stranded opens strong, with Greg’s mid-high vocals filled with emotion, as “Stranded” has an almost country edge to its true blue soul. Oh, you’ll be singing along to this one quickly. It’s simultaneously playful and melancholic. Starting the disc with such energy is an auspicious beginning.

“Walk Out the Door” begins plaintively before adding a bit of energy mid-tune, morphing into a soft-but-rockin’ blues number periodically for the chorus before softening again during the bridges and verses; it’s the sort of song you’d possibly hear in a hotel bar scene in a movie.

Greg slows it down in multiple bluesy styles. His Nagy-fied version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” is centered on a rich, full, soulful wail with a pulsing rhythm, while “I Won’t Give Up” builds and soars slowly, hopefully, and with a bit of a bluesy gospel rattle. And “Run Away With You” is a gospel-flavored, soft R&B-seasoned, yearning crooner.

Greg Nagy

photo by J. Bowler

The collection adds a little more texture with funky Delta blues number “Long Way to Memphis.” “Been Such a Long Time,” meanwhile, adds playfulness to that funky blues.

Finally, “Sometimes” is worth mentioning, as Greg pulls together funky blues with an R&B backbeat and a guitar line that seems to speak, more like a supporting vocal than a guitar at all.

And, of course, any good blues album ends either in a blaze of instruments or a drawn-out ballad. Stranded chooses the latter with “Welcome Home,” a gravel-vocalled, heart-on-his-sleeve, soft-touch keyboard and guitar driven slow fade into the sunset, ending the disc with the musical equivalent of a satisfied sigh.

Greg Nagy

photo by Geoff Wilbur

In summary, Greg Nagy’s Stranded has earned its spot at the top of various 2015 top ten lists. It landed in my top three. This dude hits every note, puts emotion in every word, and all the while comes across as cool as the other side of the pillow. I don’t have many blues albums on my personal playlists, but this one earns its spot with every song.