Waltzing melody lines and two-step beat changes - it's easy to imagine swinging through a
ballroom to one of Keith Gray's quirky pop songs. Recording and playing under the Bicycle Rider moniker, Gray crafts indie pop that reflects his love for the baroque and theatrical.
"I'm really into classical music and musicals," he says. "I love Julie Andrews kind of stuff - 'The Sound of Music' and 'Mary Poppins.' "
Although the Bicycle Rider is, essentially, Gray's solo project, the 25-year-old musician has nonetheless enlisted some stage and studio help from drummer Matt Spahn and bassist Todd Coleman.
"They both bring such style and a real presence to what we do," Gray says. "They bring a really warm vibe to the music."
Gray and friends are working on a new album with local producer Matt McCord. The CD won't be out until February; until then, check out the single "Only This Time, This Year."
The Bicycle Rider
Song: "Only This Time, This Year"
Style: Quirky ballroom pop
Behind the song: "This is one of the first ones written, and it helped put me in the direction that I'm going now," Gray says.
While the song's lyrical focus is simple - "It's about family and relationships and hardships and trying to get through them all" - its makeup is more complex.
Gray initially crafted the tune, also featuring Harley White Jr. (bass) and An Angle's Kris Anaya (piano), with a particular sound in mind. The finished song, however, ended up in an entirely different direction.
"I began it with a classical guitar pattern, and then it just started developing into something else - this nursery rhyme just came out." Such evolutions are becoming a familiar part of Gray's songwriting process.
"I find that a lot of the music I listened to as a kid (is) now coming out in my writing," he says.
"I think it works, and I think people (relate to it) because the sound is not completely outrageous - but it's not completely normal, either."
On the Web:
Listen to "Only This Time, This Year"