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The music of Brad Paisley, Roy Orbison, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and local troubadour Gregory Page is included on the soundtrack of the new Billy Graham biopic Billy: The Early Years, released on October 10. Page won’t be capitalizing on his good fortune by producing a new album; instead, he plans to retire as a recording artist.

“After almost two dozen albums,” says Page, “I’ve said what I’ve needed to say.… I’m tired of making records that I really believe in which go nowhere. It’s really disheartening.”

Since Page’s first solo album (Drawing Down the Moon, 1990), he has released 19 more and appeared as a guest on dozens more. He released another 8 albums as a member of the Rugburns or the Hatchet Brothers, and he’s produced music for over two dozen artists, including Jason Mraz and Tom Brosseau.

Page says his next album (Bird in a Cage, due in January) will be his last. With the album completed, he has dismantled his studio, returned borrowed recording gear, and sold off seven of his guitars.

“You can’t spit without hitting a singer-songwriter these days.… If I cannot convince the pipe-dreamers that they are creating noise pollution, then I hope to at least try and sway them to not use any plastic or shrink-wrap in their CDs,” says Page, whose biggest seller is 2005’s Love Made Me Drunk, which has moved just over 3000 copies.

– Bart Mendoza

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Comments

jdblanco Oct. 18, 2008 @ 11:46 a.m.

A San Diego Manifesto protesting the self-exile of Gregory Page from music

Don't do it Gregory. I know you're disappointed at the cultural backwater that is San Diego. All the emotions that can possibly be captured about having to sift through the deep resentments and melancholy of the people who saw their potential futures rise and fall with the housing boom and crash in the past ten years; having to suffer through the celebration of mediocrity that goes under the name "emo"; having to watch the disappearance of all the used book stores in our neighborhood (one of which turned out to be a heroin den); having to wake up at night choked and oppressed by the figures of beauty; or seeing the best people go, the artists and the advocates, the uncompromising truth-seekers and rainbow chasers; and having to stay behind to listen to our ghosts, unsettled debts, and obliterated landscapes -- it's all there in your music, all the restless shades and confused dispositions that we are, all the sullied fragments of what this place could have been and probably never will be. And that's why people love you. The first three years I lived here, when I couldn't name more than three reasons to think positively about this wasted town, you were one of those reasons.

You aren't just an artist; you are our intellectual, who helps us think about things in a place that discourages memory and frowns on reflection. That's saying a lot. You can ask any old timer in the local bar, or dispirited journalist seeking out the local beat, or history teacher in a failed school, or barista with the great American novel on her brain. They are ships adrift on starless waters. And who will call us home when you shut your lighthouse down?

The cafes need you; the ghosts need you; the kids need you; and the ones who have stayed, like me, need you. I know you have to do what you have to do. You're disheartened at the height of your ambitions, you feel like you're falling far short of your promise. I think a lot of us feel that way about our ambitions, too. But keep at least one guitar in the case, one microphone in the mixer. Because it would break us, really break us, to know that the last great troubador of this forsaken place is gone. We couldn't bear it. And we could never forgive ourselves.

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Cathrynbeeks Oct. 18, 2008 @ 2:38 p.m.

GP,

Though your recordings have not yet reached the world, they've touched many in ways you'll never know. Your collection is a reflection of your life and there's more to be said. I hope you reconsider and continue to share your music with the people who love it most.

Cathryn

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MsGrant Oct. 19, 2008 @ 7:22 a.m.

"I know you're disappointed at the cultural backwater that is San Diego. All the emotions that can possibly be captured about having to sift through the deep resentments and melancholy of the people who saw their potential futures rise and fall with the housing boom and crash in the past ten years;"

You're a good writer, about what you know. Anyone who bought a house in SD ten years ago is in VERY good shape. Five years ago, for that matter, as long as you were not using your home as a piggy bank.

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poprocker1 Oct. 22, 2008 @ 10:46 p.m.

sorry, Mr. Page. you cannot convince me that i'm creating noise pollution. i deserve to play my guitar and sing my songs for people just as much as you do.

i am one of the local songwriters that you have "spit" at, as you so appropriately put it, and i am no pipe-dreamer who needs a reward to justify my work.

while i respect your impressive body of work, that callous remark is typical of the attitude i have seen you display. you are not so talented that the rest of us do not deserve to share your airspace.

i will miss your work, but not your condescending demeanor.

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sdjase Oct. 23, 2008 @ 10:59 a.m.

This really is a huge disappointment.

I was a big supporter of Gregory and his music during my days hosting local music shows on the radio.

Contrary to what "poprocker1" says, I never experienced anything but humility and graciousness from Gregory and I always felt he was one of the nicest people in the music business.

I haven't talked to him in a few years and maybe he's grown bitter which is why he made some of those comments. I can't say I really blame him if that is the case.

Nonetheless, I think he's got the right idea. If it's not fun anymore and you are spending time doing something that doesn't provide some kind of gratification, then you should definitely hang it up. That's pretty much the same point I reached when I left FM radio. Life is too short.

Good luck Gregory. I hope you'll still be performing at local venues even if you aren't recording in the future.

Gregory Page says: I am not quitting playing music live, only stopping recording myself and others. I am still playing monthly at Lestat’s West and planning to tour next year in promoting my final album, " Bird in a Cage."

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M. E. Oct. 23, 2008 @ 5:40 p.m.

"Gregory Page says: I am not quitting playing music live, only stopping recording myself and others."

This is true? Would've been nice if this had been made clear in the Blurt.

"I am still playing monthly at Lestat’s West and planning to tour next year in promoting my final album..."

Again, good to know.

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Wilko Oct. 24, 2008 @ 3:13 p.m.

The article could heave been more clear, but I did get that he was retiring as a "recording artist" and would-likely-continue to perform live.

And, of course, there will be soundtracks that will include his music. Maybe one of those will be huge success that will dump the well deserved pile of cash into his lap.

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robgarbo Oct. 27, 2008 @ 2:47 p.m.

I applaud you Mr. Page for finding the courage to remove your elitist attitude out of the game. As a student of music, and the visual arts, I find it disheartening to hear others degrade those that wish to express themselves through dance, word, visual, or music mediums. We need more artists that support others in their endeavor instead of competitors that wish to tear them down.

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MarciaClaire Nov. 5, 2008 @ 7:36 a.m.

As much as my heart breaks when I read this, I have far too much respect for Gregory as a person and an artist to question his "why's" for making this decision. His talent is only equalled by his graciousness. He's a smart artist and I have to believe that he's seeing something that I can't see .... yet.

Not too much time goes by without my needing to listen to The Romantic Adventures of Harry. I'll bet I'm not alone.

Cheers, Gregory.

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