Dr. Gary Allison Furr has been playing, writing and singing music his whole life. He started playing guitar at age 9. A veteran of lots of bands of the years, he performed with Shades Mountain Air, a Birmingham acoustic-bluegrass band for twenty years and contributed many of the band’s original songs through the years.
In 2007, Gary put out his first solo album of all original songs titled permanent world of pretend. It was followed by Overload of Bad News Blues in 2010 and What It Is in 2012. In 2017 he released his newest effort titled “Uncle Vance’s Guitar,” and it was inspired by a 1949 Gibson J45 that belonged to his Dad’s oldest brother, Vance Furr. The guitar has stayed in the family, and the connection it makes to the music inspired the title cut, set in the year of 1949, a picture that is the cover of the album.
“Both my parents’ families were musical, and Uncle Vance, in particular, has a very poignant personal story that forms the backdrop for that song.” The other titles on the album are eclectic—musically and lyrically, but weave together around the themes of suffering, family and grace. “Welcome to Regrets” is a song penned with veteran songwriter Pat Terry. Other songs include, “I’m Going to Miss the Blues in Heaven”, “Everything Will Be Alright,” “Gideon Bible,” “Southern Shalom,” and “Down in Bethlehem,” which bandmate Brent Warren says is maybe Gary’s best song ever.
He has played a lot of places over the years–both solo and with the band at a wide variety of venues, including colleges and universities, conferences, churches, coffee houses and festivals. He’s also a pastor, writer, speaker, has been a college professor and worn many other hats. But in every part of life, he’s found time for music. “Music is how I rest and sometimes pray. Music and telling stories come as naturally to me as sports does to others.”
He is backed up by a solid group of friends on the CD, including fellow SMA member Don Wendorf, fiddle player Mark Weldon, Brent Warren, a well know guitar and mandolin picker in Alabama and Rachel Turner on the bass. All are veteran area musicians who have played in many well-known bands around the area. Every now and then, he assembles friends from SMA days, too, including Nancy Womble and Melanie Rodgers. From time to time, Hammer dulcimer, bass and banjo friend Rob Angus joins in.
His concerts always involve heart, soul, laughter and maybe a tear or two, and for sure more than one story worth hearing
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