Greg Merritt's Heavy Road
Gig Seeker Pro

Greg Merritt's Heavy Road

Trenton, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Trenton, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Greg Merritt digs deep into funk, rock and folk"

Highflying and bouncy, acoustic guitar impresario Greg Merritt digs deep into funk, rock and folk and then tosses it all in the air. The result is Dream Through a Leaf, an album that owes as much to Dave Matthews as it does Soundgarden.
Whether exploding on the guitar with feverish plucking (‘Dream Through a Leaf’) or making acoustic sludge on the grunge flavored ‘Mr. Mitakue Dyasin’ and ‘Mountain’, Merritt doesn’t mind setting up a musical buffet for a vast amount of people to easily enjoy. The album is coyly comprised of funky, acoustic music culled against rock arrangements. Merritt explores numerous influences (and shades of his previous life in the psychedelic band Amorphous) on Dream Through a Leaf. The varied flavors never overshadow the album, merely poking occasional fingers on songs, be it reggae or the feel of a jam band (‘I Couldn’t Sleep’). ‘Chesapeake’ has a country flavor and ‘The City Ain’t So Bad Tonight’ sounds like Blind Faith filtered through Widespread Panic.
Merritt’s vocals are indifferent to the material, somewhere between Jimmy Buffet and Les Claypool. He may not carry the weight of the traditional front man one might expect but certainly comes off as a good showman. Dream Through a Leaf works best with its instrumentals, of which there are several. These tracks really hit hard and make an impression.

Brian Tucker
Bootleg Magazine
- Bootleg Magazine

"Dream Through a Leaf"

Gregg Merritt—Dream Through a Leaf— With Merritt’s roots firmly planted in the jam band/psychedelic background he manages to move away from that genre a bit to produce an album with more of a mix of flavors. Merritt started Dream Through a Leaf with an acoustic guitar, wrote all of the songs and then set it to a full rock arrangement. It produced an eclectic mix from earthy/folksy jam band rock to heavy rock to psychedelic funk. 5.0 McRiprock’s - Austin Daze

"Greg Merritt - Dream Through a Leaf"

The acoustic guitar sets me up right away. I know I’m going to be listening to something that is not quite mainstream, because the time signature is not your average folk singer heart on your sleeve easy beat. Less than two full measures in when the drummer joins in on the upbeat is when I know I’m in for some true excitement. The song title clued me in that the lyrics might not be standard fare either. Turns out it doesn’t matter because my ears are so pleased with the tempos that I get carried away on the wind by the melody and find it very difficult to focus on the story line. Especially about ½ way through when a violin takes a solo that makes me fall on my face in love. The solo is made even more potent by its short appearance. Like it’s there, then it isn’t. The dream spoken of by the narrator is fully here, complete with a jam ending between the players that fills me with grandiose thoughts of being able to fly way further than I’ve ever reached before. Tasty. I apologize for not giving you a clue as to the story. Simply know that the title is well chosen and I have been able to dream through a leaf and beyond by listening to this cut. -

"Stone Pony Show Review"

Heavy Road, Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ – 9/6

By Lauren Sutter

To my mind, being able to rock an audience without fancy-schmancey electronic gear makes a band today, now more than ever, vital. Such a back-to-basics approach band is offered by Heavy Road, a quartet comprised of guitarist/vocalist Greg Merritt (Amorphous, Good Friend), drummer Ron Thaler, bassist Arthur Sadowsky and keyboardist Pete Remm.

The event was a benefit for Bob Smith, who was in charge of the Stone Pony’s Hippy Army productions group. He was paralyzed by a demanding back surgery, and the night was set up to help purchase him a more accessible wheelchair to continue to attend shows.

Heavy Road opened their set with “Out There,” developing a smooth groove that led directly to their self-titled tune “Heavy Road,” which encompassed gentle vocals and classic jam rock instrumentals. “I Might Be Leaving,” had a romantic jazz feel, delivering a relaxing wave of music. A classic jam sesh was next, incorporating a dancier drum beat with rippling guitar completed with thumping bass lines and fragile piano.

Next came “Try This,” which felt like a classic jam tune, taking a traveler from hill to valley, never missing a beat to uplift the listener to a peak. “My Oh My,” was an upbeat jazz-rock song, where Greg’s unique voice and guitar were at the forefront. “Who You Are,” then rounded out a night in which each song was easily distinguishable and funky, leaving me hungry for more.

Overall, Heavy Road has the feel of a quintessential jam band. The ingredients are all there and Greg’s passion overwhelms the audience, as it is clear that he, and the rest on stage, are loving what they do, never failing to keep attendees in motion well after a set is finished. - Magazine

"Heavy Road"

Greg Merritt, the driving force behind imaginative jam band Heavy Road has been at it for a while now – putting down the roots for comparisons to legendary acts such Phish and The Grateful Dead starting in 1991 when he put together Amorphous with Alex Garry out of Buzzuniverse. Today’s outfit groups Merrit along with drummer Ron Thaler, bassist Arthur Sadowsky and keyboardist Peter Remm, and while they admit they have some time to put in before catching up to bands like the Dead and Phish, they are certainly a jam band with giant tour producing potential.

Merritt appreciates just about every variety of sound out there, and that’s exactly what pushes his jams up that extra couple notches. He says “I’m into so many kinds of music, and I try to vary my writing styles to where I’m shooting for more than one sound. I guess I throw in enough twists to keep things interesting, without making songs that are so complex that they wind up going over the top. The point to me is to communicate an idea. Too much complexity can wind up clouding what you’re trying to do sometimes.”

Of course, as you might imagine, the live show is how you need to take in Heavy Road. And no man like Merritt to describe it: “We always throw in some improvisation. What happens depends on the moment, whether it will be spacey or funky or jazzy or whatever. But we generally keep most of the show in a zone where people can shake it.” And if you’re a member of PensEyeView (specifically director of communications, Ken Harmon), you love anything that exists to help you “shake it.” Keep an eye out for the bands next tour, new DVD’s and even a live record. There’s more below, so dive into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Heavy Road (PEV): Tell us how you first got started in the music business and formed Heavy Road? Has playing music always been something you’ve wanted to do?

Greg Merritt (GM): Well, business wise I’m not sure when I actually got started. My first serious band was Amorphous which me and Alex Garry from Buzzuniverse started in 1991. But we had been kicking around doing music since we met in 1989. But yes, music has always been a thing for me. I’m told I used to sing ABC at the top of my lungs in the grocery store when I was 3.

PEV: Now calling New York home, what kind of music where you listening to growing up? What was the first concert you attended?

GM: My father is a classical pianist, so I grew up listening to Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, etc. My mom on the other hand was into jazz, so all the 60s stuff, Miles Davis, Coltrane, etc. When I was six years old I got a transistor radio and I still remember tuning in to Miss You by the Rolling Stones… First concert might have been Genesis. Not sure. I was more into playing than watching as a teen. Still am actually.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to make music?

GM: Any environment works really. It’s kind of a process I don’t have complete control over. It just happens. But I’ve usually found playing as the sun sets to be inspiring, especially as the natural light dwindles and I wind up in darkness.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Heavy Road show?

GM: We always throw in some improvisation. What happens depends on the moment, whether it will be spacey or funky or jazzy or whatever. But we generally keep most of the show in a zone where people can shake it. So hopefully expect the unexpected. But we also do songs with lyrics and arrangements and all that.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

GM: Big time (laughs). The first time I got on a stage I almost chickened out. It was an open mic during the super bowl in the early 90s. I think most of the people in the bar were watching the TV. And there was like 7 or 8 of us on the stage. And most of us still nearly chickened out. I think Keith Giordano (percussionist) was the one that kicked us into doing it. These days I don’t get nervous or anxious at all. I just can’t wait to get on stage actually.

PEV: What can fans expect from your new tour you are kicking off?

GM: We’re a totally new jam band. But I don’t think we sound like any other jam band. More jazzy at times, others rockin, but plenty of funk and fun. Hopefully it will evolve as we go. Expect something new each time we play. We’ve not done the same set twice, and with all the improv I don’t think we ever will. We’re not trying to go for the regular ‘jam band’ kind of sound, which might be a risky approach for us. I hope not. There is a sort of standard jam band thing that a lot of bands are going for and maybe even some of the audience expects, but that’s not us. I think we have something entirely new to offer. I’m hoping the audience is looking for that new thing we’ve got.

PEV: Being compared to Grateful Dead and Phish do you wish to have that same kind of legendary tour shows?
GM: The comparison between Phish and the Dead is primarily the audience, and then the fact that both bands improvised a lot. As far as any genuine comparison between us and them, well we would have to put between 10 and 20 years behind us first I think. I do think we are trying for something like this though. No harm in shooting for the stars.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? And what do you think it is about the your style that has made you so successful?

GM: Kind of a tough one. Probably better attempted by someone else. I’m into so many kinds of music, and I try to vary my writing styles to where I’m shooting for more than one sound. I guess I throw in enough twists to keep things interesting, without making songs that are so complex that they wind up going over the top. The point to me is to communicate an idea. Too much complexity can wind up clouding what you’re trying to do sometimes. We are a jam band in the sense that we improvise including true improvisations and free form stuff at times, and can do extended jams of our songs of course.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about each of the band members?

GM: Art is a great photographer, but he still shoots with 35mm. Pete has a Nord keyboard, probably the best rig you can have, but he doesn’t like carrying a stand on the subway. So he often has to put it on whatever is lying around. Ron has 20 Grammy nominations for his production and session drumming projects in just the last 2 years.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your lives when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

GM: Not really. Music has always been there in just a fundamental way, whatever I was doing. But in 2007 I did decide to rededicate my life to music.

PEV: What one word best describes Heavy Road?

GM: Alive

PEV: As a musician, you live a lot of your life on the road. How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts? Any fun stories?

GM: Well, I’ve not toured nearly as much as I should have. I expect that to change in the near future. But I do enjoy it. It winds up being about people, and of course the interaction with the audience which can be like magic. Ron spent 8 months on the road with Willie Nelson. His stories are a little too fun, but I’ll let him tell them sometime.

PEV: Do you find yourselves often going back to one theme in your songwriting over another?

GM: I’ve got a few I think, but I’m always trying for something new.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

GM: Well, I guess since I don’t have long hair any more I don’t really look much like a musician. So people who don’t know me all that well are shocked when they find out I’m a musician. But the people who know me have long encouraged me to do more. The guys in Buzzuniverse have been very supportive. Their success over the last several years really inspired me to get back in the game actually.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

GM: I play poker, play baseball with my kids, and go sailing when I can get down to the shore.

PEV: Having played with many great acts in music is there still one artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

GM: Well, to do any sort of songwriting or jamming with Paul McCartney would be a trip. Of course, to jam on stage with anyone from the Dead or Phish would be quite a thing.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
GM: Sure my band!

PEV: If you weren’t playing music, what would each of you most likely be doing for a career?

GM: Well, computer geek for me. As for the other guys, they’ve been doing music full time for so many years I couldn’t even begin to imagine them doing anything else. Maybe politician for Art. He seems to know everyone in New York City that has anything to do with music. I call him the mayor of NY.

PEV: Tell us what an average day is like for the members of the band?

GM: I’m on the computer more than anything. I think Ron averages 12 hours a day between the mixing console and drumming. Art runs around the city hustling for work, seems like he’s always on a train when I talk to him. I think Pete falls asleep at the keyboard at his place in Brooklyn and then starts playing again when he wakes up.

PEV: So, what is next for Heavy Road?

GM: Just doing as many fests and shows as we can find to get the word out about what we can do. We might release the video of our second rehearsal as a DVD. And I think a live record might make sense later this year. We’ll see.


"Out There/River" - 7" release 1995. Airplay on over 70 college radio stations nationwide.

"Best Friend" - 1999 full length CD. Airplay on over 250 college radio stations nationwide.

"Dream Through A Leaf" - Full length CD. Airplay on over 100 college radio stations and jam radio.



The music of Heavy Road features an upbeat funky original sound that gets the crowd moving with extended jams and improvisations that few if any other jam band can equal.

Funky, jazzy, rockin, groovy, hypnotic, are just a few words to describe it, depending on the jam. But it’s all good.

Heavy Road was founded by Greg Merritt whose CD “Dream Through A Leaf” debuted at #21 on the radio chart in May of 2008.

On drums is Ron Thaler - accomplished record producer, drum clinician, and wild man who has worked with many of the world’s finest artists including Dweezil Zappa, DJ Logic, Sarah McLachlan, The Led Zep Project, Taj Mahal, Al DiMeola, Mike Stern, Hiram Bullock, Rufus Reid, Will Lee, and many others.

On guitar and vocals is Greg Merritt - former member of Good Friend and alumni of the current jam scene phenomenon Buzzuniverse.

On Bass is Arthur Sadowsky – a 15 year veteran NYC session bassist, performer, jazz composer, and teacher; and a guy that seems to know everyone in the city.

On Keyboards is Peter Remm – jazz composer, session pro, and a true mad scientist on the keyboards

“…guitar impresario Greg Merritt digs deep into funk, rock and folk and then tosses it all in the air… These tracks really hit hard and make an impression.” - Brian Tucker, Bootleg Magazine

“I have been able to dream through a leaf and beyond by listening to this cut.” –