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Gary Wright

Classic Rock

Fri, Feb 18 Fri, Feb 18
7:30pm 9:30pm

Keyboard player Gary Wright is best known for his song, “Dream Weaver,” a 1976 hit most famously used in the movie, but he has always been sniffing around rock history.

For instance, he was also the piano player on Harry Nilsson’s version of “Without You.”

Born and raised in New Jersey, Wright was a child actor, who appeared in the 1954 original Broadway production of the long-running musical, Fanny, as the son of the title character, played by “Brady Bunch” mom Florence Henderson.

In the 1960s, Wright went to Europe to study psychology and, in 1967, he joined the band Spooky Tooth as singer and keyboardist.

During this period, he also befriended George Harrison and was invited to contribute piano to Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.

Wright continued with Spooky Tooth until 1974 when he went solo. In 1976, he had his biggest hit, “Dream Weaver,” which hit No. 2 and was followed by “Love Is Alive,” which also hit No. 2.

Meanwhile, his other major chart hit, “Really Wanna Know You” was a top 20 hit in 1981, while his 1981 song, “Comin’ Apart”, was sampled by Armand Van Helden for the 2004 club song titled “My My My.”

In addition, his song, “Better By You, Better Than Me,” was covered by Judas Priest on their 1978 album “Stained Class.”

Since then, Wright has toured with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band and in 2008, he released the six-track EP, “Waiting to Catch the Light” and “The Light of a Million Suns,” which featured a re-recorded version of “My Love is Alive” in which son Dorian gets a recording credit.

His newest album, Connected,” was released in June, 2010, and includes guest performances by Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

Sound Observations With Gary Wright

By David Moye

If a musician has a chance to be experience even one piece of pop history, they should consider themselves lucky.

Gary Wright has is very very very lucky indeed.

Not only is Wright a permanent part of the pop culture canon thanks to his 1976 hit, “Dream Weaver,” which was reprised to hilarious effect in the 1992 movie, “Wayne’s World,” but he has also party to other pieces of rock greatness.

To whit:

* That’s Wright playing piano on Harry Nilsson’s No. 1 hit, “Without You.”
* Wright can be heard all over George Harrison’s landmark album, “All Things Must
Pass.”
* Wright has been apart of a few of Ringo Starr’s All-Star tours.
* Wright was a key member of the 1960s rock group Spooky Tooth.

But the music business is funny. Much of his fame is due to his work more than 30 years ago, but, like many musicians, his work has evolved and, he says, improved.

“Popular success is determined by a lot of factors: The right song at the right time for the right audience,” he said. “But it doesn’t always mean the best work artistically. I am a better singer now than when I did ‘Dream Weaver.’

“My technique is better, and I have the confidence to talk with people more than I did.”

That confidence spreads to his latest CD, “Connected,” which was released last summer. The album features contributions from Starr, Joe Walsh as well as Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers alum Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

Now Wright will be bringing his band to Anthology on February 18 and while Starr, Walsh and Baxter won’t be with him, he is getting some familial support.

“It’s a five-piece and my sister, Lorna Lee, sings background,” Wright said. “She’s been working since the late 1960s and is married to one of Mike + The Mechanics.”

Wright is a pioneer in the use of synthesizers in rock and remembers when he needed a whole array of keyboards on stage in order to get his unique sounds.

Nowadays, he can get those sounds in one keyboard, but admits he only does that in concert.

“I still have all my old keyboards in my studio,” he said. “I still use the mini Moog that provided the bass on ‘Dream Weaver.’ Modern keyboards are great replicating sounds like strings, but those old keyboards have sounds that can’t be duplicated.”

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“To guitar enthusiasts he needs no introduction as this audience clearly attested. And as a guitarist, technically he is difficult to beat, with a picking technique seeing his fingers range over the strings as fast as a bull in a ring. His musicianship and instrumental compositions have seen him create a bridge between the once very different genres of jazz and rock, and his influence over other accomplished guitarists has also been massive.” – Ramsay Short, Daily Star

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