One of the songs from the 1980s that I can never get out of my head, even though it wasn’t a huge hit, is Grayson Hugh’s “Talk It Over.” You probably don’t remember it. Here’s the music video:
At the time, it didn’t sound like other stuff on the radio. I loved the classic soul feel of it and still do. It was cleverly written and sung– it’s hard not to sing-a-long, am I right?
So who was/is this “Grayson Hugh?” Turns out he grew up in Connecticut and moved to NYC in the mid-1980s to get a record deal. He got one. RCA signed him, releasing the album Blind To Reason in 1988. “Talk It Over” was the big American hit on the album, going to #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1989. I actually knew the song because I live near Canada, and their 5pm music video show, Video Hits, played the video often.
As a piano player, songwriter, and, above all, a soulful singer, Hugh put out more music with an ode to Gospel, Blues and Country along the way. People often told him, “You remind me of Sam Cooke or Otis Redding.” True.
The music business is a beast and in the mid-1990s Hugh moved to North Carolina to get away from it. Later on, he ended up teaching songwriting at Berklee in Boston. He also wrote scores for modern dance companies.
Like most music makers, Hugh’s drinking and pill-popping nearly killed him. But music helped save him. He recorded a new album called An American Record and got married in 2008. Touring the U.S. and Europe followed.
In 2015, Hugh released Back To The Soul, rooted in the soul and blues of Memphis and New Orleans.
Here’s recent footage of Hugh in action on the keys, sounding soulful as ever…
People often ask “Whatever happened to Grayson Hugh?” Well, you can read his blog to find out. I’d also encourage you to check out his website to see what he’s up to lately. I’m almost tempted to take a long road trip just to see and hear him perform in Connecticut this year. –Mark Weber