California based singer/songwriter Gregg Stewart is hardly a newcomer in the music business, Gregg wrote and recorded the song "Let´s Go For A Ride" with his former band Stewboss that is featured in 2001 film "3000 miles to Graceland" starring Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell.
Stewboss went on to release five full length albums but in 2017, Gregg decided to pursue a solo career and released his debut solo album in March and like that wasn´t enough, he also delivers a second album of covers.
TwentySixteen is a collection of songs that were originally written and /or performed by musicians who passed away in 2016, the focus lies on country/folk/singer-songwriter artists with the exception for names like George Michael, Prince, David Bowie, Viola Beach, Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive, Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and Maurice White of Earth, Wind And Fire.
Gregg is in his own backyard when he interpret artists like Leon Russell, Merle Haggard, Guy Clark, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Dorff and Gene Wilder. I especially dig his version of "Pure Imagination" taken from the 1971 film Willy Wonka.
TwentySixteen gets me in a melancholy mood, not only thinking about all the artists that left this world last year, but also because of Gregg Stewart´s emotional performance in these songs. There´s not a dry eye in the house when he sings "Raspberry Beret" (Prince), "Starman" (David Bowie) and "Out in the parking lot" (Guy Clark).
I´m glad he wanted to do a cover of the British indie rock band Viola Beach where all the bandmembers and their manager, tragically died in a car crash on the E4 motorway bridge in Södertälje, Sweden. I have passed that bridge many times myself and they were so young so that accident really shook me up.
I don´t normally listen to albums that comes from the same neighborhood as Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan but it´s hard to deny that Gregg is right at home playing these songs.