Greg Nagy
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Greg Nagy

Grand Blanc, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Grand Blanc, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band Blues Soul

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Sep
03
Greg Nagy @ Marquette Blues Festival

Marquette, Michigan, USA

Marquette, Michigan, USA

Aug
28
Greg Nagy @ Hot August Blues

Hardin, Kentucky, USA

Hardin, Kentucky, USA

Aug
06
Greg Nagy @ "I Chews The Blues" Festival

Davison, Michigan, USA

Davison, Michigan, USA

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Music

Press


"You just know that you’re in for something special upon hearing the rich, gospel-tinged a capella vocal harmonies that open the title track of Greg Nagy’s solo debut Walk That Fine Thin Line. The former Root Doctor guitarist spins a diverse web of soul, blues, and rock on this audacious record. Nagy attacks his music with all guns blazing, seeming to have something to prove. If he does have something to prove, he’s accomplished his goal.

Nagy’s music is intense-not in the sense of overpowering volume or heavy-handed instrumental treatment, but in the sense that it puts itself out there, it’s exposed for better or for worse. Nagy does what he does to please himself first, not catering to any particular sub-genre or stylistic limitation. He’s got an air of confidence and a likeable swagger that works to his advantage. His sweetly piercing Stratocaster licks and commandingly soulful voice (which recalls vintage Al Green at Nagy’s higher register) are fused with a cathartic rhythmic presence and wafting keys (courtesy of fellow Root Doctor alum Jim Alfredson) to create a deeply personal and highly entertaining musical statement.

Playing by his own musical rules, Nagy locks in a firm, dynamic groove on tracks like For The Love Of A Woman, letting his Strat do much of the talking, his sense of phrasing impeccable. The delightfully dark, funky tones on Blues Will Take Good Care Of You give a good understanding of what Nagy’s all about-creating an animated, bluesy escapade that is pure ear candy. Other notable entries are a sly reading of Keb Mo’s You Can Love Yourself and the wide-open boogie of Jenny, Jenny, Jenny—where Nagy really seems to let loose, with a ferocious, brittle-toned guitar assault and throat-busting vocal.

A delightfully melodic and charismatic musical declaration, Walk That Fine Thin Line is Greg Nagy at the top of his game; this debut is going to be hard to top."
Mark Uricheck
LIVING BLUES
Feb 2010 - Living Blues


"...Nagy has the stuff to get noticed beyond the Midwest. There's psychological depth and narrative momentum to his singing, and his blues guitar playing rings true in a personal way, even when in the spirit of Albert King or Jimmy Johnson. In addition, Nagy's songwriting is studded with winning connections to blues, r&b, soul, gospel, jazz, rock, country. The pan-stylistic title track is richer than a creme de cacao..." Frank-John Hadley
DOWNBEAT
Jan 2010 - DOWNBEAT


Have you heard a Fender Stratocaster sing lately? If you listen to Greg Nagy's solo debut, Walk That Fine Thin Line, you will.

Nagy, who for the past several years has been holding down six-string duties in Michigan's blues/soul juggernaut Root Doctor, shines in his moment in the spotlight. He is a master of pulling glistening, flawless, funky grooves out of his guitar. His comfort zone encompasses R&B and traditional blues, successfully blending Chicago and Memphis flavors into a tasteful, all-American mix. He even throws in some sweet gospel harmonies for good measure.

Nagy obviously had a blast shaping this disc into his own sound. It's slick, soulful and bubbling over with passion. Standout cuts include a cover of Keb Mo's slinky groover "You Can Love Yourself" and the dance floor ready boogie of "Jenny Jenny Jenny." Nagy seems intent on making us feel this music. He moves beyond the "guitar player" tag to become not only a songwriter, but an interpreter. This is music that speaks through him.

If you enjoyed Nagy's work in Root Doctor, you'll love Walk That Fine Thin Line. Nagy establishes himself as one cool cat—a bluesman dripping with soul.

Elmore Magazine
- ELMORE


When you work as a professional musician, walking the fine thin line has lot more connotation than just trying not to tip over the proverbial apple cart. Every time you release something new, the fickle listening audience can praise your efforts or just as easily pan you. It’s even more risk-taking for a person to step out of the confines of a well received band to try their own solo project. But Greg Nagy has done so and that risk he has taken is well worth the chances because his debut solo disc, Walk That Fine Thin Line, brings the cream rising firmly to the top.
For the past few years, Nagy has helmed the guitar duties for the Michigan-based, Blues Music Award nominated band Root Doctor. On that band’s three releases, Nagy has often displayed exceptional moments of soaring guitar glory. But who knew just how truly incredible he really is? There is no missing the point on this solo recording. Well let’s hold that thought for a moment, because Nagy is no fool. He made a point to utilize his band-mates from Root Doctor for his own project and the keyboard offerings from Jim Alfredson help define the sound of this CD in a number of moments.
But make no mistake. This is Greg Nagy’s shining moment. His crisp, precise fret work is phenomenal and his vocal prowess has been highly lost behind Root Doctor’s Freddie Cunningham. What a deep, pleasing voice it is, with tones ideal for singing slow, emotional numbers like “She’s My Baby,” a gospel-fringed intro like that of “Walk That Fine Thin Line,” a funky, soulful manner as in “Blues Will Take Care Of You” or even a snappy rockabilly jump with “Jenny, Jenny, Jenny.”
Nagy also shines as a songwriter with his pen work proven on six of the tracks, with special note to the title tune and “Won’t Cry” with it’s wailing vocals seemingly the perfect selection for radio airplay. Couple this with just the right cover material to showcase his guitar and vocals, such as Keb’ Mo’s “You Can Love Yourself” or Don Nix’ “For The Love Of A Woman” and the classic Willie Brown number “M&O Blues” written 70 years back never sounded as fresh as it does here. Nagy has a way of making each and every song he borrows sound as if it were written specifically for him.

This CD covers a wide range of blues stylings, but Greg Nagy shows he can master them all. Filled with tracks that will catch your attention and demand extended play over and over again. With a voice so natural for the blues and guitar playing that stands amongst the finest anywhere, that fine thin line is a mile-wide when it comes to Greg Nagy. Outstanding! Highly recommended!

-Gregory Johnson


Tracks: Walk That Fine Thin Line / For The Love Of A Woman / Blues Will Take Good Care Of You / Won’t Cry / M&O Blues / Sunrise / You Can Love Yourself / Not Falling In Love / Jenny, Jenny, Jenny / She’s My Baby

http://cascadeblues.org/joomla/index.php/reviews/cd-reviews/278-walk-that-fine-thin-line - Cascade Blues Society Review Portland OR



Greg Nagy may be best known for his work with the soul rockers "Root Doctor" as guitarist, song writer, and occasional vocalist. But with his first CD Walk That Fine Thin Line he's ready to step into the spotlight and cross the line from side man to front man. Proving he has what it takes, this CD is a blend of blues, soul, R&B, rockabilly and even country that cross that line where they all come together to be just fine music. Joining Greg is the core of Root Doctor: James Williams on bass and Jim Alfredson's keyboards with Bobby Gardner playing drums. Alfredson is also co-producer, engineer as well as contributing to the song writing. Greg's full smokey voice, his strong yet relaxed delivery and his song writing skill give this project a sound of its own.

The title song "Walk That Fine Thin Line" kicks off with Greg leading the group's own gospel chorus. It pulls you in with the first lines and carries you along with some gritty guitar breaks and Nagy's smooth soulful vocals. Rolling into "For The Love Of A Woman" a Don Nix song covered by Albert King, you can hear how King has influenced Greg's playing, giving it a classic yet funky sound. Thoughout the CD Greg's singing takes on several tones and styles. With "Won't Cry," his pleading vocals give the feel of somone who's done his share. While "Sunrise" brings to mind several singers, it's Greg's all-out soulful delivery that makes it his own. One of the standouts among the many great tunes on this CD is "Blues Will Take Good Care of You" written by Jim Alfredson who plays organ. With Betty Lavette's bandleader Al Hill on the piano, the keyboard combo moves this blues number along while Greg fills out the vocals and takes the second instrumental break driving home the message.

Like a slow moving freight, Greg takes it down south with just guitar, vocals and a laid back rhythm section, on Willie Brown's "M&O Blues," Keb Mo's "You Can Love Yourself" with its simple arrangement and vocal harmonies, is another southern delight. Greg returns with another original "Not Falling In Love," playing some stinging guitar licks with moaning subtle blues chords as he croons a lonely lament that he's "in love without falling in love." Greg takes on a rockabilly edge with "Jenny, Jenny, Jenny." As a finale, "She's My Baby" is a soft country flavored ballad with the steel guitar of Drew Howard providing subdued and aching lines the perfect way to end the set or an evening.

Greg Nagy has put together a complete package as singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, band leader, and fulfills each role with talent and confidence as he walks that fine line of the complete artist.

Roger and Margaret White
Big City Rhythm and Blues
Aug/Sept 2009 - Big City Rhythm and Blues


It's not necessarily obvious to think of Michigan's "thumb" as being a hotbed of blues music. Sure, Detroit has produced a large share of jazz, R&B and Doo-Wop groups, and the state was home to the frantic blues-fueled rock of the Stooges and the MC5, but despite its proximity to Chicago, Michigan's lower third doesn't exude "blues." Don't tell that to Greg Nagy, guitarist in Lansing's Root Doctor who steps out on his own with Walk that Fine Thin Line, thirty-odd years after picking up his instrument.

The opening title tune seems to operate in a number of orbits, beginning with acapella, gospel-tinged choral backing before settling into a fractured-yet-churchy backbeat with organist Jim Alfredson applying a chordal sheen behind Bobby Gardner's galloping drums and Nagy's biting, wiry guitar. Though only given a brief taste of "pyrotechnics," the economy of the leader's phrasing and implications skimming the tune's surface and digging into slightly distorted sonic chunks, perks the ears. "For the Love of a Woman" is taut, Nagy's chords gently tugging at the form behind his crisp tenor delivery as the rhythm section unfurls a launching pad that's open yet clipped. It would be a mistake to call this music "slick," though the fact that Nagy and his band dole out spare phrasing and unhurried, tight arrangements might be mistaken for a sort of sheen.

In the simplest terms, Nagy's vocal delivery is analogous to his guitar playing— thrifty but sharp. He has a pinched, nasal quality, unhurried but with barbs that stick in your craw. Lyrically, Nagy is matter-of-fact, without the self-reflexive yarns that, while interesting, can plague the business end of contemporary songwriting. The focus is on Nagy's tunes and arrangements, though the covers of Willie Brown, Albert King and {{Keb'Mo'|| (not to mention the achy country-rock, "She's My Baby") are perfectly nestled within the album's spry whole, wizened bite and insistent funk slicing through it all.

Walk that Fine Thin Line is a strong contemporary-blues debut. Hopefully there's more to come from Greg Nagy's voice, guitar, and tuneful pen.

Clifford Allen
All About Jazz

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=33373 - AAJ


Guy Hollerins, Ann Arbor's premier blues club, hosted a CD release party for "The Greg Nagy Band" on Friday night. This Lansing based blues and groove band features Lansing's "King of the Keys", Jim Alfredson playing a Hammond B-3 organ and piano. The rhythm section has the always strong Bobby Gardner on drums and James Williams, thick and thumping on bass. The driving force and leader of the band is crafty lead guitarist Greg Nagy. This is a deeply seasoned band with all members sporting years of playing time in other fine Lansing based bands.



It's a tough task to pin an exact label on this band. Yes, they are steeped in the blues, but you also hear infusions of funk, jazz, and soul. The many backgrounds mix and melt together but you can detect the distinct sounds of Motown, Memphis, and Chicago sneaking thru. It's a high quality hybrid that grabs your attention.

The band did play several tunes off the just released "Walk That Fine Thin Line". This is a deluxe initial offering and listening to them play, one senses there will be more to come.

They were tasty, tight, and having fun. WEMU, 89.1 FM, is currently playing cuts from the CD on a daily basis. It would not surprise me to see this release get some national attention given its eclectic nature. Go to www.big-o-records.com . You will not be disappointed. - Small Town Low Down Ann Arbor Press



WALK THAT FINE THIN LINE
June 19, 2009
Greg Nagy is well known to mid-western audiences as the guitarist and occasional vocalist for Lansing, Michigan based Root Doctor. This disc reveals that if his main gig ever ends, Nagy will land quickly on his feet. Joined by Jim Alfredson (Root Doctor and Organissimo) and Al Hill (Bettye Lavette) on keys, Jen Sygit and Rachael Davis on vocals and a host of others, Nagy and crew rip through 10 mostly self-penned tunes that cover a broad range of blues styles. The Don Nix classic, "For The Love of A Woman" is not only funky, but has some scorching guitar work. The title cut plays closer to the Soul side of the spectrum while "M & O Blues" has a Hill Country feel to it and "You Can Love Yourself" will have Keb’ Mo’ smiling at Nagy’s adept cover. On "Sunrise", Nagy channels the Doobie Brothers with his supple vocals propelling the rocking groove. Closing things out is the ballad, "She’s My Baby" which showcases Nagy’s sensitive side. Overall, a fine release. Smitty
- REVUE Magazine


At first opening of the package, the logo-like GREGNAGY and the fine, thin, ‘red’ line spoke to me. It begs the question what ‘Fine Thin Line’ are we ‘Walking’? I was glad to have made all of my notes on this cd before reading Dick Shurman’s liner. He expressed many of the same elements very well. Greg and his co-conspirators did a fine job of expression, too. Kudos go to the rhythm section, Bob Gardner on drums and James Williams on bass. Tight!....

Greg’s vocal opening, with amazing backing vocals, sets the stage with the title tune. The vocal prowess lets you know upfront, ‘the song is the focus’. After that is established, crisp layers of talent are warmly embodied in the work. ‘Walk That Fine Thin Line’ is a very engaging opener, and I was struck by the guitar work and then the arrangement, which I noted throughout the cd. Reviewing the liner later, I found Jim Alfredson contributed on just about every aspect of this cd; including co-arrangement, co-produced, and co-wrote a song with Greg; as well as engineering, all kinds of keys, woodblock, backing vocals, cd design & layout and wrote one song. ....

Albert King’s ‘For The Love Of A Woman’ takes Al Hill’s clean piano, Greg’s funky rhythm guitar and James Williams’ tasty bass line, and then steps it down straight and even. Jim’s Hammond B3 is finely integrated with the piano, something that rarely occurs. Alfredson’s ‘Blues Will Take Care Of You’ has a nice rhythmic energy. The lyrics are slick and cool, and I began to realize the depth of Greg’s vocals. They seem so right for the song and the tune. I soon found that to be true, on each and every cut.

Sometime during the next few tunes, a familiar feel, matched with great execution, started to unfold. The co-written ‘Won’t Cry’ has a nice bounce and adds the backing vocals of Rachel Davis and Jen Sygit for such a nice touch. ‘M & O Blues’ brings root music, with syncopated rhythms and rustic tones, to Greg’s guitars. My favorite cut, ‘Sunrise’, is an upbeat offering with an amazing tightness between drummer Bob Gardner and Al Hill’s piano. Keb Mo’s rootsy, storytelling ‘You Can Love Yourself’ shows that Greg makes each one of these tunes, his own. I felt a convergence of styles. Gospel, soul, blues and more emanate through Greg and the band, to draw in the listener. ....

‘Not Falling In Love’ brings a swampy, almost dark layer of energy to the picnic, then turns it nicely in the progression. The 2nd guitar is so precise, with the lead guitar and organ as fine accents. ‘Jenny Jenny Jenny’ is a rockin’ good feel, which could have come from several eras as a ‘classic’. These were both in the running for ‘best tune’ on the cd. Greg wraps up the cd delivering soulful vocals on a laidback ballad ‘She’s My Baby’. It feels comfortable when Drew Howard adds the tone on steel guitar. ....

This is an enjoyable cd. The music covered a lot of ‘genre’ ground while maintaining cohesiveness. Overall, it is a very fine ‘Blues’ cd. The fine thin line may be in keeping the touch and tone within that parameter or, an invitation. Greg’s voice is really the key, but his guitar work is diverse, accomplished and quite cool.

I wanted to touch on ‘arrangement’ one more time, as it contributes greatly to the cd. Musicians may recognize nifty chord progressions and turns, but this cd sparkles of musical interest. One thing I noticed playing this cd ‘at home’, as opposed to ‘in my car’, is the layers of music used to illustrate the tunes. The crispness of each seemingly warm layer, being distinct and tightly matched in structure and rhythm, is impressive, but never approaches the fine thin line as being ‘processed’. The technology level of today’s recording equipment has taken the bar up a notch, and this cd stands up well.

‘The propinquity effect … holds that the more exposure a stimulus gets, the more likeable it becomes (Wikipedia).’ I believe this to be the case for Greg Nagy’s solo cd ‘Walk That Fine Thin Line’. I have given it five or six spins to date, and it is staying in the cd player rotation for my next road trip. BTW… that translates to: ‘Buy It’.

Randy Hoffman
- Blues Blow Torch Review


Greg Nagy
Walk That Fine Thin Line
Big O Records 2412
2009
(36'42")

Pay attention, this is a jewel !
The faithful readers of this column must be thinking :"mmmmh, Greg Nagy, I've read this name somewhere". Sure, he's Root Doctor guitar player, we told you about them before. Yes, but watch out. Nagy doesn't play the solo album card as an excuse to issue a new CD by that same band. No. Greg Nagy does his own thing. And what a thing it is ! Oh yes, these are members of Root Doctor playing behind him, Bobby Gardner on drums, James Williams on bass, Jim Alfredson on keys. Not only you don't change a team that wins, but the word friendship seems to bare quite a meaning to our hero. Other players came to enrich such and such track, such as Al Hill on keyboards on three songs, Larry Frantangelo on percussions on four, Drew Howard on pedal steel guitar on She's My Baby, plus Rachael Davis and Jen Sygit on background vocals, supported by Root Doctor bandmates manly voices.
The shock, the very first shock from the get go, is the voice. Except on very rare occasions, with Root Doctor, Greg Nagy leaves this part to Freddie Cunningham, who by the way does a helluva job with it, but here, our man leaves this spot to nobody else. And what he does with it must be heard ! Soul, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Funk, he fears nothing, the guy marvellously sings it all ! We had an exceptional singer at hand and we weren't even aware of it ! As if being a talented lead vocalist wasn't enough, there's more : yes, our Michigander also is a guitar player who's qualities are multiple. Able to play in a number of different styles, this dude is everything but servile : he has that talent that is the mark of the greats : his playing is all his own. Musicality, imagination, added to superb fingering perfectly mastered, everything the guy has to share is simply stunning. "Alight, alright, we got it !" Ah yes, but no, everything hasn't been told yet : thing is Nagy and Alfredson know how to come up with swell tunes, the kind that's above the ordinary. Their compositions, melodies, harmonic progressions as well as their arrangements and solos, all come from rich and varied influences, but these guys also take all of it, and, with old recipes, manage to come up with something new. Jenny Jenny Jenny may sound like a cover, but the way Greg and Jim "manufactured" these songs is so fresh, it's like a new breath of oxygen with every new track. If Root Doctor was the discovery of an excellent band, this first solo project is the revelation of a great artist not to be missed.
Rene Malines
Virus De Blues
June 2009
Paris France - Virus De Blues: Paris France


Discography

Root Doctor: Been A Long Time Coming 2006
credits: producer, writer, backing and lead vocals, guitar
Number 8 Living Blues Radio

Root Doctor: Change Our Ways 2007
BMA Nomination For Best Soul Blues Album
credits: producer, writer, backing vocals, arranging, guitar
Number 16 Living Blues Radio

Root Doctor: Live At The Cadillac Club 2008
credits: producer, writer, backing and lead vocals, guitar
Number 8 Living Blues Radio

Greg Nagy: Walk That Fine Thin Line 2009
Solo Debut Nominated for 2010 BMA
credits: producer, writer, arranging, vocals, guitar
Number 14 Living Blues Radio, Number 3 XM,
Score of top tens and best of 2009 radio lists.

Coming May 1st 2011
Greg Nagy: Fell Toward None
Lead track is here on audio page "Pack It Up"
other samples here:
http://www.big-o-records.com/zen-cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=28

Photos

Bio

Greg Nagy has the rare skill to make a listener sit up straight and take close notice with his roots music. As a guitarist, he’s been a favorite of Midwestern audiences for about two decades, finally getting noticed by the American blues public at large in the mid-aughts when he was with the acclaimed Root Doctor band. Flying solo the past couple years, Nagy has deepened the art of his guitar playing at the same time he showed burgeoning confidence as a singer. For good reason, his album Walk That Fine Thin Line earned a coveted Best New Artist Debut nomination from the Blues Foundation in 2009; the release also was favorably received by major music magazines and DJs on radio across the States, as well as in Europe and Australia.

Though a damn good album, Walk was just a starting point for the ascent of his creativity, which has him fascinatingly melding modern and classic blues with r&b, soul and rock. Nagy’s self-liberating new album, Fell Toward None, is where he truly finds his art in his craft, where he strikes a fresh, innovative pose on a program of original materials, plus criminally neglected guitarist Freddie King’s Pack It Up. Blessed with a strong-willed musical intelligence, the Michigan native sings with impressive range and power. Not unexpectedly, his guitar hits all the right notes when sustaining and releasing tension. Unlike the common lot of blues guitarists these days, Nagy doesn’t wallow in cliches or showboat. Moreover, he has come into his own as a songwriter—dig his outstanding ballad Still Means the World To Me, and his tempo-shifting shuffle Wishing Well, (both co-authored with longtime collaborator Jim Alfredson), his witty Facebook Mama, his swamp blues-and-more salute to his hometown, Flint, that gives its title to the album, and all the rest. Whether in a power trio, in a quartet with a keyboardist, or joined by the Motor City Horns, Nagy does himself proud, putting his heart into his music, successfully exploring melody, harmony, syncopation, interplay, spontaneity. Call Fell Toward None an auspicious beginning for this special musician…

~ Frank-John Hadley
Blues Foundation award-winner (journalism)
DownBeat Magazine