When musician Bruce “Brewster” Graybeal walks into a room, he wants nothing more than to create an ambiance. He doesn’t believe in shouting at his audience, instead he relies on a speaker hookup that he says works like magic — if you’re in the front row you can still hold a conversation, and if you’re in the back you can still hear the music.
Graybeal clarifies that it is easy to listen to music rather than easy listening, and maintains his style is Americana with a twist of limey given the influence of British bands like The Zombies and The Searchers.
His two-hour set on Aug. 8 will be no different when he plays as a part of Jim Crozier’s “In the Lab” series. The series has spotlighted many local musicians. Inside the mood of Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack, Graybeal says he hopes to keep a friendly, date-night atmosphere.
“A lot of couples owe me for giving them a good evening,” jests Graybeal teasingly. “I’ve noticed over the years that women will move closer to their guys over the course of the evening because I’m not playing so loud that you can’t hear the person seated next to you.”
The Beatles hit the scene when Graybeal turned 12. He scored tickets to their 1964 show at Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl for the hefty sum of $2.50. Inspired by the supergroup, his older brother got a guitar for his 16th birthday and much to Graybeal’s delight, his brother never played it.
Instead Graybeal would sneak into his brother’s room and re-string the guitar to learn left-handed before he gave up the hassle of the charade and acquiesced to learning right handed. When it came time to buy his own guitar, Graybeal took up a paper route delivering the Jacksonville Journal in the afternoons to finance it.
“Of all the things I’ve done through my life, guitar has been the one thread woven through the whole time,” reflects Graybeal.
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