What Do You Want at Gray’s?


Cryptic and quiet.

Boy…even after Gray Charles the man has ridden off into the sunset (or whatever)…his legacy lives on.

The message up right now at GrayCharles.com says that no updates will be put up until further notice.

Geez…something about that place seriously won’t let go of me. It continues to drag me along its crazy ups and downs with its ever-present drama and intrigue.

You’d think I wouldn’t care anymore. You’d think I’d quit checking the site for updates, since Gray quit posting.

But I still check it….and, sadly, I still care…even though it’s not the same.

I know we love to analyze, but I don’t think that’s healthy in this case. Plus, I really don’t care about why Gray quit posting. (I really think it’s as simple as he’d had a gut full of all the drama and intrigue.) The fact is…he quit. And now what’s left is the site.

Our site.

The one we all invested so much time and strained brain muscles in.

So…putting aside theories about why Gray isn’t “there” anymore…let’s focus on what we can figure out…what we want from GC.com.

If you had your way…what would you want from the world’s greatest blog?

Personal writings from Taylor?

More videos?

A resurfacing of “Artists with Soul”?

More posts that spark discussions other than “Taylor looks sad” or “when will Taylor wear some cut-off shorts on stage” (yikes)?

Gray Charles to come riding in on his white horse and save the day?


Oh…and for those desperate to discuss “Dancing with the Stars”…Joey rawked, Ian was meh, and…gulp…Billy Ray was extremely entertaining. (Yeah…I said it…wanna make somethin’ of it?)


72 Responses to “What Do You Want at Gray’s?”

  1. Chicken & Waffles Says:

    A fine question you pose. We want for so very much and then, for so very little.

    We want a whisper of movement and a symphony of action. We want to know the every footfall of a man and then we really don’t want too many failable details because we will want to amend them. We want to flex the breadth of emotions through this man’s success because he’s worked so hard to achieve it–because he did so the way our parents taught us to (you earn it through work); we also do so to remind us we are still vibrant people under our skin who can be inspired. We want to be exposed to new music and old music and those odd chords that make a heart sing. We long for our community where we have a common voice. We’re grooving on the same vibe. It’s like a summer at camp when your whole life starts to make sense to you, when you take your first kiss and take a step into the next stage of your life. We like our world here; we like each other; we like the music this man has resurected for us. We want an intelligent community where intelligent people can debate the relative merits of music. Gray’s site was not a fan site. It was the right milieu for the right artist. It WAS about the music.

    So I ask ya–Is that too much to ask?

  2. Hatson Says:

    It Was CAMELOT…………………… A place of friendship, intelligent discussion, a common goal and uncommon music. A rare time in cyberspace and in the “Soundtrack of Our Lives”. That is why it cannot be duplicated.

  3. Hatson Says:

    Ok maybe I should follow directions. My wish list would be more musical discoveries, more discussion about all aspects of the music business (remember Marketing Man?) Interesting stuff. I also think having rules and structure kept it honest but not nasty. Having a true respect for others and artists would be good.

  4. shrewspeaks Says:

    I want Gray from GC.com

  5. Hickstyeria Says:

    Great thoughts from the posters ahead of me.

    I would like to see Gray back in many ways though I liked Charcoal and was warming to her (no pun intended!).

    I miss the ‘Artists with Soul’ section, the interesting debates about music, about the Tipping Point as it related to A.I., about the Elois versus Morlock, Dave White and Taylor’s ‘waiter hand’ -in short, all the things that made the blog unique, including the people (wherefore art thou FL Jersey Boy et al?)

    We can’t go back because to do so would mean making it an ‘unofficial’ blog again – that’s not going to happen. However, a re-launched GC.com should have rules and structure definitely, a strong and firm hand again at the tiller and, for added flavour, some guest contributors – after all, how many of the talented, intelligent and creative posters on GC.com now have (or have always had) their own blogs and know enough about music to raise great debates? I can think of a Monkbot or two right off the bat!

    If we thought of Gray as the frontman for the ‘band’, then like a frontman would do, the new ‘Gray’ can invite a guest artist to join in and bring their own peculiar ‘sound’ to the blog. It was an idea mooted before that Gray decided not to go with but, as the times have changed, it might be something that would work now and take some daily pressure off the frontman too. Proposed pieces can be discussed ahead of time and posted where the piece fits. A Q & A session with that contributor could also follow.

    It would also be nice to have a ‘This Day in Music History’ piece about an artist, concert, band – whatever -that was of significance or became significant with a relevant video, music or article link. If the artist or band in question is still around, an update would also be fun.

    I like Taylor and his music but I have also learned so much about other music and been introduced to so many new artists that this became, for me, the other main reason I loved GC.com.

  6. shrewspeaks Says:

    I didn’t morn this much last June. I think because I knew the journey was not over then… nor do I belive it is over now,,,just not in th eform we knew it.

    I ask this…
    Was GC.com an outlet or an inspiration?

    I know my answer…what about yours?

  7. jenfera Says:

    My wish list for GC.com might be a little different from some of yours because I wasn’t as invested from the beginning. (I’m slow on the uptake, what can I say?) Like Shelley suggested, I would like personal writings from Taylor. Not just the audio blogs. I enjoy the behind-the-scenes video. I like reading the set lists from each night on the tour. What I really don’t need is the comments. I would be perfectly content if the comments were shut off.

    The fact is that there are plenty of places people can sound off about whatever they have to say about Taylor. Whether it is useful stuff about his musical influences or completely useless stuff about his pretty cow eyes, there is a place online for it. Even right at GC.com, there is the chat and there is the Touristas message boards.

    Shutting off the comments on the main blog I think would elevate it to a level more befitting of an “official” blog. I’ve used this example before – look at johnmayer.com. He may not post all that often, but when he does, I still find it worth reading. Do I want to read 200 other people then comment about whether what he just wrote has anything to do or not with Jessica Simpson? No. I also like that members of his band also have their own sections on the blog. I’d love to hear from Loren or Brian, and actually especially Melanie – a woman’s point of view from inside the tour.

    I did not watch DWTS last night, but I did catch part of Thank God You’re Here. That show might have potential, but David Alan Grier has got to go. He adds nothing to the show. It’s obviously a riff on Whose Line Is It Anyway, so why not let Dave Foley run the whole thing with an appropriate level of snark, as opposed to Grier with the cheese?

    (ps- hey, c&w! Nice to see you here!)

  8. Dr. Bob Says:

    who the heck is charcoal, anyway. I just stopped in a couple of days ago and saw signs of life and some postings from charcoal. I gleaned the fact that the site is still there, but gray is gone…

  9. Shelley Says:

    Chicken & Waffles…welcome.

    Jen…sadly, you may be right about the comments. But that breaks my heart. 😦

  10. jenfera Says:

    Hey, Shelley – you’ve developed a wonderful community here with lots of interaction. Whatever happens at Gray’s, please take comfort in that. I know all of us do.

    Wayne Newton, my friend! Wayne Newton.

  11. bamaborntxbred Says:

    What I would wish for probably wouldn’t be very helpful to GC.com, but might be satisfying (in an expression of self sort of way) to Gray himself….and would be AWESOME for me (and, duh…it IS a question about what I would want).

    Let GC.com be what it is. Let Charcoal run Taylor’s “official site”. Then…let Gray start something new. To use Hickstyeria’s analogy of a frontman: Leave Soundgarden…go solo…front Audioslave if you want…then go ahead and go solo again. I would be willing to follow Gray anywhere(like I did Chris Cornell) and not be brokenhearted that the first “band” fell apart…no matter how signifigant it was in my life.

    As long as “that voice” is still there (somewhere) to be heard…I’ll be satisfied.

    I realize I’m a dork. But that’s my two cents y’all.

  12. double d Says:

    I just wish they’d make up their mind. Get to what it’s going to be and move on. With Gray gone, the sight doesn’t have the same personality and is very banal.

    If I could wave my magic wand, I would have THAT site go “John Mayer” with postings directly from Taylor and his band about thoughts, the tour, etc., etc. and allowing no comments. I think that’s prudent for an official site.

    Then, I wish Gray would open another “underground” site, like “SayYes.com” or something clever and obtuse that could re-create some of the magic of the early days and far removed from anything American Idol. I enjoy Gray’s humor, his banter (particularly with Shelley), and his vast music knowledge. I’d like to see that continue….with Taylor, not so much. I think that train has left the station.

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about DD. I feel like fans of Gray would follow him. Fans of Taylor only will stay where they are. I think fans of Gray are respectful of what he wants and needs for a personal site.

    Although, didn’t Gray express (a long time ago) his dream for what he would want in a blog?? Was it in Shelley’s interview with him? I can’t remember where it was…but anyhow…I vaguely remember that Gray wanted his blog to be a money-making venture. Maybe something he could do full time and leave his “real” job. Am I remembering that correctly? If so, then my “bright idea” wouldn’t work for him.

  14. double d Says:

    Yes, he did say that GrayCharles.com was designed to be money making but I think he realized, rather quickly, that it wasn’t going to happen that way. While the “official” designation brought some income, I’m sure, it’s not enough to leave the “real job”. All that said, I think he, like many of us, needs a creative outlet to express himself and the blog format was a great way to do that….and addictive for him, as well as us.

    I feel, in my gut, that he’ll return in some sort of format but not necessarily as an Ambassdor for Taylor. Wouldn’t hurt to have Taylor make a “guest appearance” once in a while, though, as I feel that Taylor still owes Gray for his internet (and maybe only significant) presence that helped to establish and maintain his national career.

    Without Gray’s site, many “offshoots” like The Boogie, Monkbot, and others wouldn’t have been born. With the traditional fan site, I don’t think Taylor would have had near the internet exposure and proliferation of fans, therein. Taylor realized that his fanbase has been largely built via the Internet and that Gray captured the essence most closely aligned to him. Now, that’s gone. He will, no doubt, lose some fans that just won’t be as invested or interested without Gray there as a guide. While he’s slowly attracting new fans via the Tour, I don’t think that he can afford to lose the types of fans that Gray brings. If I were him, I’d certainly be looking for a way to keep Gray tied to things in some way that worked for both of them.

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I think the type of fans that initially found and stayed at Gray’s aren’t really the type that would become disinterested in Taylor because Gray is or isn’t there. I think those are precisely the fans that would stay with Taylor based on his own musical merit. The fans that came later…after it became an “official” site are the ones that would most likely abandon Taylor b/c they were bored or he wasn’t doing things “just right”.

    I don’t think Taylor “owes” Gray anything…Personally, I was curious about Taylor…did a google search…found GC.com and was thrilled about that…but if I had never found it, I would still have been invested in Taylor. I probably wouldn’t have become a fan of another site…but voids are always filled (although if you never knew there was a void, would it still need to be filled?). All the potential GCers would have found their niches on other sites, or on their own. Taylor is what brought people to GC. Not the other way around.

    I certainly am not suggesting that Gray’s new sight be a Taylor fansite. I think it should be about what Gray is passionate about: Music. Taylor may be featured from time to time b/c Gray likes him as an artist….

  16. double d Says:

    I agree to a point, Bama. While Taylor caused the initial search, I wouldn’t have been nearly as “invested” without the interaction at Gray’s. I do disagree on the “newer” fans. I don’t think that they’re really invested in Gray as we all are/were. They quickly jumped on board with Charcoal and will do so wherever the the “official” blog ends up. The “oldtimers” are the ones that are at risk of “waning” away because the vehicle that got them really invested is gone.

  17. Shelley Says:

    Okay…not that I don’t love a good fight…but let’s stay on course.

    This is a very personal post, I realize…but I think’s a good thing.

    What do YOU want for Gray’s?

    If it’s broke…don’t tell me why it’s broke…tell me how you’d fix it.

  18. nolagirl Says:

    I tend to agree with Jenfera about a John Mayer-esque type of blog. For me, I don’t need to know that everyone agreed with me that what Taylor said was funny or stupid or cute or whatever. (cuz you KNOW that’s was 90% of the comments would be!) But then with no comments at Gray’s, it loses what made it so cool in the first place. Kinda a conundrum I guess!

  19. bamaborntxbred Says:

    You have misunderstood me:

    What I meant by Gray’s older fans sticking with Taylor was not meant to imply that they would stay at GC.com if Gray wasn’t there. I’m saying they were attracted to GC b/c it was about music and Taylor. They will remain Taylor fans as long as Taylor makes good music. Not b/c Gray is around to feed them information about Taylor. They will also remain Gray fans whether Taylor is included or not…as long as Gray puts out great analysis/topics about music and musicians.

    The newer fans aren’t invested in Gray at all. I didn’t mean that. I believe they are Taylor fans…not Gray fans. They will stay at GC.com as long as it’s about Taylor…and will move on when it no longer meets their needs. Just as they will likely move on from Taylor when he no longer interests them, or smokes one too many cigarettes.

    I’m waning on Taylor right now…not b/c of GC.com…but b/c the competition factor is no longer there (which I believe was the real vehicle)…and b/c I’m into other artists right now. I’ll become re-invested when he starts something new. There is only so much I can ingest at a time when it comes to one artist.

  20. double d Says:

    Thought I did address the post. The conversation between Bama and I directly addresses what’s broke and what needs to be fixed. Taylor is in a conundrum of his own as he won’t have Gray and Gray DOES attract a certain type of fan. He risks losing, what I think, is an important part of his fan base. So, how does Graycharles.com now address that issue?

  21. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shelley- I’ve already said what I would want for Gray and/or GC.com. Should I refrain from commenting any further now that I’ve said my piece?

    Just curious.

  22. Shelley Says:

    discuss away.

    sorry i said anything.

  23. e-maginary friend Says:

    They should rename it TayCharles. Gray is no longer there. They should send all the people with “pangs” up to chat, to pulse it out with the “pinger”. They should copy the model of the Boogie Board with posts up front, with the exception of comments off, and leave Tourista’s on. This way people impressed with Taylor from the ABB would have farther to go to be talked out of it.

    As they did with the newly evaporated “strange e-mail” thread, they should disallow any humor, wit, or POV. It should be completely dumbed- down so that no-one shoud ever feel like an outsider, and all can remain fans of Taylor Hicks in the first person.

  24. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shelley- I didn’t mean that to sound beeotchy. Reading my last comment I can see it did.

    I want to stay on topic. I just wondered how else I could contribute if I’ve already answered your questions. I thought we were on topic in our debate.

  25. leejolem Says:

    I could live with GC.com having tour info, behind the scenes video, snarky commentary, intros by Gray, interesting/funny threads that don’t have to do w/TH, etc… and no comments. Although I occasionally read them, they don’t drive me to the site. I come here for good comments, conversation, disagreement, sisterly arguments, gruntled and disgruntledness, laughs, etc…. I have stopped by Taylor’s myspace to read his thoughts, but it’s hard to get past all the comments. What’s up with the mysterious temporary closing???? Who knows!!!!! Any ideas on who Charcoal is?

    On a lighter note, who pee-peed in the DWTS judges’ cornflakes last night? They were kind of grumpy! I thought Joey was amazing. Apolo and Ian were very good too. I’m sorry to say John R. was a bit of a trainwreck. Clyde is so smooth, but every dance does look the same. I do think he’s trying and committed, but is not killer competitive about winning. It’s time for fembot, Leeza, to go home methinks.

  26. bamaborntxbred Says:

    e-maginary friend- I actually liked the “strange email” post. I was laughing my booty off. It smacked of Gray and made me pine for the days of yore.

  27. e-maginary friend Says:

    bamaborntxbred – good job. They just retrieved the thread.

  28. Shelley Says:

    it did smack of gray.

  29. Claire Says:

    *I had written a long, wordy post about GC.com and Gray and what it all meant to me in the wider scheme of things, but y’know what, it’s all been said over and over and I’m done with it. Below is the Readers Digest version: um, it’s still kinda long though….*

    Personally, I took the e-mail post at face value – just Gray being Gray (as well I can “know” him, having never met him) shooting off a relatively obscure quote and letting us “overanalyze at will.” He knows we’re good at that, LOL….

    I’m surprised the temporary closure happened so soon, and so abruptly. Whaddup widdat? It’s been what, ten days? Not a lot of time to let Charcoal warm the chair and let everybody settle in with the new blogmeister/meistress.

    Well, if I ran the blog (HA!!) I would mod a bit more closely, as much as is possible. Not to dictate the flow of the conversation per se, just to head possible troublemakers off at the pass, and try to keep irrelevant, over-chatty, silly posts down a bit. (Easily said if it was my full-time job, I appreciate whoever is running the blog probably can’t be there for hours at a time.) I would DEFINITELY close comments under any of Taylors audio-blogs. I think the reasons why are obvious. And a big YES to more Artists with Soul. How many great artists did that expose us to? Other than that, if it ain’t broke…

    I appreciate DD’s idea of the blog being run by Taylor and the band themselves with no comments, but where’s the sense of community, the interaction that we have all come to love? That would make GC’s just a stop-off point, instead of a gathering place, I think.

    But I do agree with DD and Bama that I would definitely follow Gray to another site should he choose to start one up, whatever the subject. Gray WAS GC.com, and even though Charcoal is doing the exact same job, I think people feel a little deflated that the guy they grew to appreciate over the past year-and-a-bit is no longer there. (Even if it turns out that Charcoal is GrayIncognito, the illusion that he is gone is enough, imo.)

  30. Shelley Says:

    Well, if I ran the blog (HA!!) I would mod a bit more closely, as much as is possible. Not to dictate the flow of the conversation per se, just to head possible troublemakers off at the pass, and try to keep irrelevant, over-chatty, silly posts down a bit. (Easily said if it was my full-time job, I appreciate whoever is running the blog probably can’t be there for hours at a time.) I would DEFINITELY close comments under any of Taylors audio-blogs. I think the reasons why are obvious. And a big YES to more Artists with Soul. How many great artists did that expose us to? Other than that, if it ain’t broke…

    I’m with you totally, Claire.

    And for that great insight…I award you

    The Official Prize of the Day

  31. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Well said Claire! I have to wonder how long the initial post was though….

    Lee- I hope it’s Leeza’s night to go home. She creeps me out when she tries to be sexy. Either her or Clyde going home would be fine with me. I would like to see John R. make it through another week or two. He’s a cutie-pie.

    I was flipping back and forth between that and that new show “Thank God You’re Here”…which I thought was hysterical! I was laughing out loud and my dogs were looking at me out of the corner of their eyeballs.

  32. Claire Says:

    Thanks Shelley!! I have to admit I am TOTALLY unfamiliar with Dr Seuss. Never heard of him until the Jim Carrey “Grinch” film. Am I missing out??

    Bama – it was loooooong….

  33. Shelley Says:

    It helps if you had pictures…but read this.

  34. leejolem Says:

    Do you guys think the “strange email” thread was the last straw for Charcoal? I read it and thought it was funny, but some posters just didn’t get it (surprise, surprise!). Some threads need a great big “sense of humor warning” like a spoiler warning– “if you don’t have a sense of humor do not read this”. With all the “advice” people were giving Charcoal I would have only lasted appx 1 day–I guess that’s why I’m not a blogmeister extraordinaire like GC or Shelley.

    Claire and Shelley, now I can’t believe you don’t enjoy the analysis of Taylor’s voice, inflection, tone, pitch, etc…. on his audioblogs. As a registered pharmacist I have had to hold myself back from commenting and suggesting what kind of meds he should be taking for his allergies (cuz he sounded congested) and what antidepressant he might need (cuz he sounds down in the dumps). I’m pretty sure he could use my advice.

    Bama, Leeza has no rhythm or soul or something. I do wish I had her figure though, and I dig her ‘do. Billy Ray is really improving, and I love his intensity. He’s trying so hard you can’t help but root for him. Joey is still my fav–I’m amazed at what a good dancer he is.

    OT–is there a new Office episode on this week? I hope so!!!!!

  35. leejolem Says:

    Rowan, if you check in here today–i have a response to you on the Foxwoods thread. 🙂

  36. jenfera Says:

    My favorite record album that I borrowed from the library when I was a kid was the audio book of If I Ran The Zoo on one side and The Sleep Book on the other. Anyone else remember the special breed of tiger with the tail so long that before he went to bed, he would bite the end of his tail because it took so long for the feeling to reach his head, it became his alarm clock?

    As someone who came into all this somewhere near the middle, I never grew the fond attachment that you all have to Gray. Nothing against Gray, and he did a great job, but I don’t feel any huge void in my life. I was there for the information. When I did start posting here and there, starting in September, I did not get any warm welcome (like I did get here) from any posters. I did feel left out of some inside joke.

    Is that my own fault for not having been there from the beginning? I was Taylor’s fan from the beginning of AI, but I didn’t feel the need to seek out more information online until way into the top 12. Does that make me less of a fan? Does it make any point I might have had less valid? I don’t really think so, but that’s how I felt most of the time when I did post at GC, or when I spent the time reading the threads.

    I feel bad that you all lost the good thing you had going. But I want to pat Shelley on the back again and just remind everyone what a great thing you have going on here. It would be nice if Gray peeked his head in here a little more often, but we can’t make him. I hope for all of you that Gray does find some other outlet online that satifies him. Personally, I am content hanging out here with all of you bright, witty & warm women.

  37. Shelley Says:

    Anyone else remember the special breed of tiger with the tail so long that before he went to bed, he would bite the end of his tail because it took so long for the feeling to reach his head, it became his alarm clock?

    The Chippendalemupp

    (I pretty much have the Sleep Book memorized)

  38. Bama Angelfish Says:

    I would like to see only Star Bellied Sneetches allowed to post at GC. That should fix it.

    Sorry Shelley. Every time I start to draft a serious answer it gets too serious. But I’m working on it.

  39. jenfera Says:

    Shelley, that is very impressive!

  40. Shelley Says:

    Actually, BamaAngel, if only those with stars upon thars commented…all would be wonderful…and we’d be the best sneetches on beaches. 😉


  41. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Jenfera- I agree that I’m satisfied and happy being a Monkbot. However if Gray provided another place that was “all him”…I’d have room in my heart for both!

    I was at Gray’s since nearly the beginning…like last March maybe….but I still felt left out of some of the “inside jokes” b/c I couldn’t be on the site 24 hours a day….and because I didn’t comment very much. Also-some of the discussions went right over my head b/c I wasn’t familiar with the artists or genre….or maybe b/c I really am as stupid as I look. But I still loved being there…and I would’ve never known Shelley if she hadn’t been so outspoken at Gray’s….and I would’ve never ventured over here…and I would be very sad if I had missed this experience.

  42. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Lee- Billy Ray and Leeza have the same ‘do!!

  43. jenfera Says:

    Bama, I agree with what you are saying. If Gray starts something new, I will be there. But I probably won’t comment much because it will go over my head, and I am as stupid as I look in that Marty Feldman picture. (Oops, I was supposed to stop dwelling on that. We never did come up with that secret handshake though. Maybe I found a loophole.)

    Don’t get me wrong. I am glad Gray did what he did, and especially that this became an offshoot of that. But maybe that whole thing is just played out, at least with the Taylor angle. You really can’t go back again, but you can reinvent. Gray knows he has a built in audience who will follow him if he opens up shop elsewhere.

    I don’t think you can have it both ways. You can’t have something be official and yet as organic as Gray’s once was.

    Another appropriate Dr. Seuss reference:

  44. morewines Says:

    Shelley Says:
    April 10th, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Well, if I ran the blog (HA!!) I would mod a bit more closely, as much as is possible. Not to dictate the flow of the conversation per se, just to head possible troublemakers off at the pass, and try to keep irrelevant, over-chatty, silly posts down a bit. (Easily said if it was my full-time job, I appreciate whoever is running the blog probably can’t be there for hours at a time.) I would DEFINITELY close comments under any of Taylors audio-blogs. I think the reasons why are obvious. And a big YES to more Artists with Soul. How many great artists did that expose us to? Other than that, if it ain’t broke…

    I’m with you totally, Claire.

    I agree as well.

  45. Shelley Says:

    welcome, morewines.

  46. morewines Says:


    Can’t use any html here? Tried to quote and found out it didn’t

  47. jenfera Says:

    bama, I agree with what you are saying. If Gray opens up shop somewhere else, I will surely go. But, I probably won’t comment much because I am as stupid as I look in that Marty Feldman picture. (Oops, I am supposed to stop dwelling on that. We never did come up with that secret handshake though. Maybe I found a loophole.)

    I am glad that Gray created what he did, and that this is an offshoot of that. It’s all good.

  48. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Completely off topic: Larry Birkhead is Dannilynn’s father. Duh.

    I’m glad he’s the dad. I think he really loves her and wants to take care of her.

  49. Claire Says:

    Comments on all threads are now closed at GC.

  50. morewines Says:

    Everything is shutting down at GC.

  51. morewines Says:

    Touristas is still working.

  52. Jan Says:

    I don’t care what happens at GC now that Gray is no longer there.

  53. morewines Says:

    Jan I know what you mean. The Blog really changed when it became
    part of the Arista/JRecords/Hicks business. A lot of not very nice
    people and many that just wouldn’t abide by Gray’s instructions.

    It WAS a very intresting Blog before that.

  54. Libby Says:

    Hi folks,

    I am traveling this week. Just left GrayCharles and saw the “closed” sign. I was quite sad.

    Was tlaking with someone this week who was running a site similar to Gray’s — interestingly. He had tried and true folks who became a part of the staff. Dont think we have the folks that are willing to commit to GC.com like that.

    I would love for Gray to return or a team of the tried and true could take it over. Outside of that — I would say — the best bet is a JohnMayer scenario. He and the band post when they can. No comments from the community.

    If Gray opens up a new place, I would love to meet you folks there from time to time on any subject, too. I am just thankful for the Monkbot Home. It really feels like home to me.


  55. Squeebee Says:

    What I would like to see and what I think may actually happen are two different things. Selfishly, what I want is for Graycharles.com to be the way it was before “officialdom”. A place where like-minded people gathered to talk about Taylor Hicks and other musicians. That will never happen again. What I think will probably happen is something similar to what others have said; a sounding board for Taylor (and perhaps his band members) sans comments.

    I think Shrewbie had a great question; Was GC.com an outlet or an inspiration?

    I think for me, it was an inspiration. An inspiration to start talking, thinking, and enjoying music (not only the TH variety) for the first time in my life. I have never seen myself as an artsy type; I fall more on the analytical side. Through GC, I have met wonderful people (yeah, double to da d, I’m talking ’bout you!) who mix music and analysis into a whole different artform.

  56. double d Says:

    Awww, Squee to the b….you are too kind. I’ve got a new Taylor Time post up at MM (with a twist…)….speaking of music and analysis….and tin foil.

  57. Theresa Says:

    Squeebee wrote: “what I want is for Graycharles.com to be the way it was before “officialdom”. A place where like-minded people gathered to talk about Taylor Hicks and other musicians. That will never happen again.

    Why not? It worked. It worked very well. I can’t even read through the comments there anymore, though the posts were OK. One thing is for sure, though; GrayCharles.com = Gray Charles, the persona. GrayCharles.com cannot be a fan site. It has to be about the music and not any particular artist.

  58. e-maginary friend Says:

    Since there’s little to no chance that anyone will join me in a “The Contender” club (I love Alfonso Gomez, and a good bout)… This is as good a time as any to leave posting purgatory, and move on or off to something else.

    Shelly, you are a completely swell and unmanufactured individual. My best to all of you.

  59. rowan Says:

    What a great discussion! Agree with Bama about the old GC posters being essentially”Gray fans.” I found GC as a link on an AI page, not being very google-aware. I am pretty sure my interest in Taylor would have remained at the level of tuning in for him on tv to see if he had won through each week, and ordering his cd from my local record store. At the time of searching, and as AI progressed, there were no other Taylor sites which would have induced me to post. I was a scaredy first-time blogger. The popular culture/cultural politics posts gave me a real buzz, and gave GC.com a vitality which became addictive.

    I remember posting for the first time on the Innovation Adoption curve, coming out as a Luddite, and all the kind techy advice which ensued. When we all said our goodbyes at the end of GC version 1, I felt like my much loved cyber city had become a ghost town – fixed in time, empty, tumbleweeds blowing in a harsh hot wind. My peeps were leaving. There is a tiny ruined village in the Scottish Highlands which came to mind at that time – it has a very sad atmosphere. The comparison is tenuous, and somewhat dramatic, but it is clearly the feeling of bewilderment and loss which brought the image of those villagers to mind, rather than any comparison to their historical situation. They were herded off the land during the Highland Clearances and spent their last night in the village church, before being transported overseas. You can still read read their last thoughts on leaving their home forever etched into the panes of glass in the church windows. It is most poignant. Thd final posts on GC version one smote the long-time visitor with a similar, almost visceral, sense of loss.

    This is kinda relevant, I hope, as it illustrates that bricks and mortar, even cyber ones, maka not a sense of belonging. Seeing those peeps I had gently sparred with and laughed with sign out forever was a form of blood-letting which for me was a finite ending, a closure. “Finito” being just that. An ending of what had been. The site stood as an online museum to the loss of those peeps, but also, a triumphal series of exhibits to be revisited. I have been back several times, and am able to enjoy, rather than sniffle into my kleenex.

    I didn’t visit GC version 2, as new people had moved into the neighbourhood – lots of them, and the old vibe was part of the history I reverenced, frozen in time, to be visited in hushed tones. I could almost hear my footfalls echoing, reading the old posts from Jerseyboy, Radioman, Omphalos, and many more, some who are still happily here at Monkbot – they know who they are!

    I’m sorry to be taking so long to get to my point. I have an old dial-up, nay, cathode ray tube brain and it takes time to warm up! I guess what I’m bumbling towards is the conclusion that, as for many here, Gray was GC, and the ethos of version one was the GC that spoke to me, and had me move in. I said my goodbyes, on the final threads, along with hundreds of others. What was valuable for me at GC was the resonance between Gray and the peeps there at that time. It changed over time as new people came, but the personality behind the editorial posts remained the same. I didn’t visit version two, because my new home here at Monkbot provided enough Taylor news, and because what had been and gone was precious, stilll to be mulled over, a precious artefact frozen in cyberspace. I had said goodbye, teared up, and after a heads up from a fellow Monkbot, began to lurk and appreciate the humour and creativity of the Monkbot vibe. it felt like home again.

    I will definitely check out the new site/s Gray sets up in the future. He made the site what it was – he chose Taylor strategically as his focus. If he had suddenly excised him, I would still have posted and read just as much. So – I don’t want anything from the Gray-less site. I am looking forward to the tv documentary Gray mentioned he is researching, and any new online ventures he launches. I am prepared to be surprised, and intrigued, and to learn a lot.

  60. Shelley Says:

    An ending of what had been. The site stood as an online museum to the loss of those peeps, but also, a triumphal series of exhibits to be revisited.

    beautiful and very apropos phrase, rowan. 😉

  61. Theresa Says:

    Who is e-imaginary friend and what does the cryptic message mean? anyone?

  62. HicksChick4Soul Says:

    I think that e-imaginary friend is Gray Charles….BUH BUH BUM!!!!!!!!!!

  63. e-maginary friend Says:

    Gray wouldn’t use an alias. I was “Deb Says”. She has retired with the blog and is appropriately living happily in my spam filter. Shelly was kind enough to allow me to post my opinion here before I crossed over completely.

    I know this is going to sound like a defensive “V2 girl” that gets prettier around 4am, but the GC version two wasn’t all “rot” and “pangs”. I still think of the breathtaking eloquence of Omphalos, but Gray did good work in Version 2 as well, as did Basenji and anyone that posted from this blog and the Boogie Board.

    I really promise to leave now. I prefer the physicality and tangibility of dance to music. I hope to throw some clay and to even make some pottery. I need to hold on to something real.

    Be easy.

  64. texan Says:

    You leave for a few days around here and the catch up reading piles up! Interesting posts! and since you asked…i will answer it this way

    I think of the some of the really cool, amazing things that have happened in my life….

    ….a 1980’s James Taylor grass lawn concert (it ended, but to me it is still perfect)

    …. the David Bowie concert I planned to hate. (it was wonderful…it ended)

    …. cute baby years, and fun toddler years with my children ( unspeakable joy, yet they grew into young adults)

    But, I still see JT around and buy his albums and listen to his music with my own memories coloring the experience. Still wildly fascinated with Bowie. And my kids? well don’t get me started. every year has been “the best year yet!” i adore teenagers..really!

    so as for Gray…what fun it all was! I hope to see him around some day. but, for now i hope the guy is listening to groovy music while building a lego superstructure with thing uno and thing dos. taking his wife to dinner, or contemplating thing tres!

  65. Hickstyeria Says:

    Rowan – a great post, really.

    E-maginary Friend: I loved all your posts as ‘Deb says’ and have missed you in recent days. I agree that Version 2 was not entirely without merit. Whatever you choose to do and wherever you go, I wish you love, health, happiness and lots of music – keep well.

  66. baby duck Says:

    Since I’m late to the post and missed out on the discussion ::baby duck kicks herself for missing out on anything Dr. Seuss::, I’ll stick to the topic of “If you had your way…what would you want from the world’s greatest blog?”.

    I would want participants to adhere to the following guidelines (and I loosely quote):
    1. Respect others.
    2. Think before you comment. Contribute something substantial.
    3. Look around and get a feel for the community first.
    4. Stay on topic.
    5. Minimize fangirly behaviour.
    6. Don’t comment if it’s only about feeling frustrated. Just take a break.

    Now where have I seen those before? Gray had the same guidelines in V2 as in pre-Finito. Who/what changed, hmmmm?

    What I want from Gray’s blog is for those commenting on it to respect him first off. Respect has to be initiated by the participants, not by Gray demanding it. Wouldn’t that mean following his guidelines for starters?

    As far as comments go, they’d have to be there to have community. I don’t just want to read what Gray writes, or even what Taylor or his band members might have to say. I want to hear Shelley respond. Challenge my thinking. Disagree. Be persuaded by someone else’s logic. Make me laugh. Teach me something. Learn to hear a difference of opinion without taking offence. Grow. All with dialog, give-and-take, back-and-forth, comments.

    In elaborating on the 4th guideline, Gray cautions about extended conversations between 2 or 3 people. I know this is hard to do all the time, but the principle is about welcoming others and not making newbies feel left out or left behind. I know this is hard to do as the number of contributors/comments grows, and the older the blog gets. I commented a few times at Gray’s with what I considered to be meaningful perspective, or asked questions, and was virtually ignored. It seemed as though the group that was comfortable interacting with each other was already established by the time I “looked around and got a feel” and worked up the courage to press submit.

    As I read over my comments before submitting, I realize it’s less about what Gray does or doesn’t do. He knows. He did alright. He doesn’t need to be chanting a mantra of I made alot of mistakes. It’s more about what the participants do or don’t do that make a blog a place that I want to visit on a regular basis.

    “As of April 1st, Gray Charles (the blog, the man) is no longer under contract with Sony/BMG, Taylor Hicks, The Firm or anyone else.” Does this mean Gray still owns the domain? Is it possible he… nah, get some rest, gc. Get some peace.

  67. rowan Says:

    Hicksteyria – it is good to see you!

  68. Hickstyeria Says:

    Thanks for the welcome Rowan! I enjoy Monkbot Talk and though I haven’t posted much, have lurked from time to time. I love the way Shelley and everyone keep it real…

  69. heyhowyadoin Says:

    hello everyone…long time no see :>)

    i need to say this…..it’s been bugging me for months now…ever since the album came out…..i just need to get this off my chest…..i thought about doing this at grays site, but then i thought better of it…… especially now that he’s gone…i really hope you don’t mind shelley…you were always cool with me…..

    i’m totally bummed. bummed because i DON’T LIKE taylors cd…..

    i WANT to like it…….but i CAN’T…

    ok, that’s not totally true….i love HIS songs….but not the rest…

    and it’s not that he doesn’t perform the other songs well, cuz he does…there’s no denying his vocal talent….but…

    i just don’t undestand why he made that record….WHY he had oustide writers…….i swear, EVERY SINGLE review i’ve read has mentioned that the BEST songs on the cd are his…….which is EXACTLY how i feel….

    i remember buying “under the radar” back in february of last year and being amazed…..it made me root for him even more…..maybe i expected “under the radar 2” or something, i don’t know……but it was an honest, soulful, wonderfully produced (not OVER-produced) record that quite honestly sparked something in me and made me feel that i found something special…..a well kept secret or something….
    i honestly feel that if he had made a record of HIS songs and had it not been all glitzy and overproduced, i think he’d be at the TOP of the charts right now….not OFF of them……

    i was at the wilkes-barre show during the idol tour…..those of you that were there will agree it was incredible….i’m glad i got to see him back then…..i’m not going to see him on this tour….i almost feel that if i do, i’ll be some kind of hypocrite or something……

    i’m anxiousy awaiting his next record…i guess that’s all i can do…..

    ok…..i feel better now….

    i hope i didn’t offend anyone…….

    oh, and as for gc.com?? i stopped going there (regularly) quite a while ago….when it became “official” i guess….i stopped in from time to time more as a fan of gray’s than of the site…..now that he’s gone i’ll check once in a while but i honestly don’t care what happens over there anymore.

    i wish taylor the very best and i hope he does some soulsearching before his next record…..

    i also wish gray the very best too…..he should be proud of what he did with that site……i honestly think taylor would not have won had it not been for gray…..

    thanks shelley

  70. Sideways Says:


    I think that most Taylor fans would agree that we like HIS songs best on the Taylor Hicks CD, perhaps with the exception of The Right Place (which is totally Taylor made and perfect for him).

    You will NOT be disappointed if you go to a Taylor concert!! You need to see him LIVE!

  71. morewines Says:

    Regarding Sideways comment.

    I prefer his songs on his Indie CDs over his current one with the
    exception of “The Right Place”. I don’t know if most of his fans
    prefer the Indie CDs, but I know I do.

  72. JAG Says:

    When I initially stumbled upon GC ,it was as a fan of Taylor Hicks. Not knowing what to expect I lurked for a long time and was fascinated by the breadth of knowledge that the people who posted here had. Soon this site became an inspiration to just a fan! I remember the first time I posted I sat back and held my breathe for fear of saying something stupid.Soon it became easier and I truly enjoyed it! This has been the best music lesson a person could ever have had! Not a day went by that I didn’t learn something new,what a thrill to have my eyes and ears opened to new artists and some old.I especially enjoyed some of our trips down memory lane,where we got to talk about how that music affected the times and our lives.I will miss the interaction with others that was formed here.If this site were to remain I would like much more on how music affects lives and why.No matter what I will be a Taylor fan always and will keep an open mind and listen to new artists.I hope to never again be so content as to not explore every musical possibility that presents itself.For that I have Gray,Taylor and everyone here to thank!!

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