Hidden Stash is a new 6-piece roots rock band led by emerging songwriter Michael Gray offering up rock, pop, blues, soul, C&W and folk with a retro twist. Their debut album Mixed Cassette Tape is a 70’s inspired rock album that takes listeners back in time when people used to listen to albums from start to finish.
Mixed Cassette Tape is expertly co-produced and arranged by Derek Downham (The Beauties), and features Divine Brown, Damhnait Doyle, Shelley Coopersmith, Denis Keldie, Jim Bish, Russ Boswell and a sizzling duet with rising roots n’ roll singer Samantha Martin.
Being the son of Jerry Gray, the legendary folk musician who was a founding member of The Travellers and the brother of James Gray who served more than 13 years’ in Blue Rodeo, Gray grew up surrounded by music. The band name Hidden Stash comes from the idea that he has kept this hidden stash of songs that he wrote for years and is now ready to reveal them to the world.
Mixed Cassette Tape demonstrates Michael’s strong songwriting chops, with musical influences that are not easy to miss: Tom Waits, Van Morrison, The Band, Leonard Cohen, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, and more. A stand out track “Chasing Sunsets” features Juno award winning vocalist Divine Brown with a personal story about finding yourself and chasing your dreams. “Wasted” is about an executive who’s on the road chasing his next fix. “I had written it with a Little Feat kind of vibe,” says Gray, “then Derek created this really great acoustic slide riff at the top, and turned it into a funky New Orleans tune.” “Are You With Me?” was written as a wedding song for his wife, a duet that features the talented Samantha Martin.
The song of most importance to Gray is “Sweet Brother James” the ballad he had written a day or two after his brother had passed away in 2013. “Usually, the lyrics process takes me a long time, but the song flowed out of me in less than an hour,” he says, “it was the best way I could show my appreciation for my brother.”
Michael and his band Hidden Stash are hosting a CD Release Party on Monday, September 19th at Lula Lounge, and then plan to take their act on the road, scheduling performances in Ontario.