By Greg Hanlon
Valentine’s Day is now a more than a month past, but a new album by Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Andrew Rose Gregory will keep the L-word on the minds of Brooklynites. Gregory’s new album, “The Color Red & Other Songs about the Power of Love,” is composed of nine songs about, well, love. Released on Valentine’s Day, each song is a duet with Gregory and another performer. But as Gregory, 26, is quick to point out, his are not the typical cheesy, lovey-dovey songs one might expect (and fear). “When we think of love songs, we think of saccharine love songs about the first six months after you meet someone. But I’m trying to explore it from all angles. This album is about the good and evil love can do,” he said. Case in point is the title track “The Color Red,” a duet with pedal steel guitarist Bob Hoffnar that explores the ugly side of love. With the pedal steel providing a creepy backdrop, Gregory’s wrenchingly emotional lyrics describe the plight of a jaded lover whose love turns to rage and whose rage turns to murder. Another song about a jilted lover, “Anything at All,” has a fonder take of an ended relationship. Gregory plays the mandolin and teams up with fellow Brooklyn singer/songwriter Sarah Fullen on the song, which he says was inspired by a former love breaking up with him on a Paris park bench. Then there’s “Debbie Dances,” a heartbreaking song about an emotionally neglected girl who seeks love in the saddest and seediest of ways: by becoming a stripper. Gregory described the song – on which Gregory teams up with Kelley McRae, another singer/songwriter from Brooklyn – as “a picture of what people do without love. Some songs are about how love can go wrong, but this is about not having love.” The album – Gregory’s third – is sparse, raw, and meditative, the better to underscore his poignant lyrics. Gregory says many have compared it to Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album in its minimalism and soulfulness. “My writing – both the lyrics and the music – is a lot more focused that it used to be, a lot more in-tune with itself. There is less, but it says more,” he said. A native of Radford, VA, a rural town of 16,000 in the western part of the state, Gregory’s music and voice has a subtle but unmistakable country twang. Although he has lived in South Williamsburg for the last couple of years, the prevalence of nature images in his lyrics is a dead giveaway that he is not a native Brooklynite. “I grew up in a very beautiful part of the country, so those images just naturally pop into my head,” he said. Throughout much of February and March, Gregory has been on tour, which will take him down to Daytona Beach and across the Chicago before he concludes in Brooklyn. “Personally, this is my favorite of my albums by far,” he said. “The exciting thing for me is that I don’t know which song is my favorite.” Gregory will be playing at Pete’s Candy Store, located at 709 Lorimer Street, on March 22 at 10 p.m. At 11 p.m., he will play a set with his brother Michael Gregory. Call 718-302-3770 for more information. For those interested in buying any of his three albums, go to www.andrewgregorymusic.com.