Whatever Happened to Main Street
Gary Gene Bolton, Domain Records 'Whatever Happened To Main Street?' That's the kind of question that stops people cold, unlocking the door to any number of profound memories and contemplations. For Kansas-born singer/songwriter Gary Gene Bolton, the question is a highly conscientious thread that runs like a crystal winding stream through the eleven original compositions of his Domain Records debut, Whatever Happened to Main Street. It's an album brimming with top shelf material that gets to the blood and marrow of life, and the heart and soul of love. And when one considers the rocky road that's led to Gary finally fulfilling his life's dreams of music, you understand precisely why there's a bedrock solid core at the center of every song. Through this dreamer's eyes-no matter what-there is always a chance for little things like faith, integrity and romance to never merely survive...but thrive. 'This album is the result of a lot of writing and rewriting I've done over the years,' Gary shares. 'Whenever I start a song, I always ask myself one simple question: 'Will anyone care?' I take a long time with a song...I only write from ideas and feelings I feel strongly about.' As one journalist so sharply noted, 'Gary's paramount songwriting and vocals derive from an introspective, occasionally shadowy nature.' Gary's is a deeply personal yet painstakingly finessed artistry suggesting a developmental curve far removed from most common genres of music. The much welcomed high watermarks of passion and honesty are there, yet it's the intimacy and simplicity that make listening to Whatever Happened To Main Street such a soul stirring experience. When he sings a song about a mother looking down on her children from Heaven, or about assuring his lady she's the only beautiful woman in the world, you believe him. And believability in these too-often-counterfeit times is a rare and precious commodity. Like most albums in country/pop music, there are plenty of songs about the ups and downs of love on Whatever Happened To Main Street. From a man and a woman reminiscing on a missed opportunity for love in their youth (the sweet 'Innocent Night') and new lovers maximizing every minute of a three-day-weekend (the salty 'Me and My Baby') to sadder tales such as a buddy telling you what your wife is really doing on girls' night out (the roadhouse cheatin' fable 'With A Perfect Stranger') or another about a fellow who leaves his greedy wife to find true love in a patch of well hidden paradise (the vivid daydream 'Pretty Red Haired Girl'), Gary always engages the listener with even handed strokes of down home insight. The two songs most likely to catapult him into the realm of Lionel Richie's and Kenny Rogers' successes are the heart-on-sleeve love songs 'Love Of My Life' and the Willie Nelson-esque 'You're The Only Beautiful Woman In The World,' the kinds of sentiments anyone in love longs to hear. And in Gary, they get them with a voice and a poetry they can feel and believe. 'On the love songs,' Gary shares, 'I tried to go beyond what most songs you hear about love have to say these days. I tried to go a lil' bit deeper. These songs are about being really loving, deeply caring...and real. That's a Main Street state of mind.' As the new millennium rang in, Al Gallico (a publisher) put Gary in contact with producer Michael Vail Blum, a veteran who's worked with big names that include Peter Cetera, Julian Lennon and Madonna. Blum loved Gary's demos and suggested they get to work on a lil' bit of something...together. The result is Whatever Happened to Main Street on Tony Sepe's Domain Records label, featuring arrangements by keyboardist Herman Jackson (whose credits include Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and James Ingram). The album showcases Gary's vocals and songs supported by some of L.A.'s finest and most versatile musicians: drummers Rayford Griffin and Gary Mallaber, violinists Karen Briggs and Chas Waltz, guitarists Bart Davis, Dean Pleasants and Kamil Rustam, pedal steel player Rich Weiss, bassists Del Atkins and Ron DiBuccio, wood flautist Jim Radon, and singers Donna Cristy, Kirstin Ashe and Ashley McCarthy.