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Shifting Tracks is the brainchild of Mobile, Alabama based singer-songwriter Bryant Gilley. Founded October 6th of 2010 it is an underdog’s artistic response to the current state of our world, brewed from the foundations of a millennial awakening. Attributing much of his talent to a sense of purpose and destiny Bryant believes the Cosmos has pushed him to develop a natural born talent to become a singer-songwriter and performer. Perhaps an ancestor or some type of otherworldly being has always been there guiding his course of events to help him arrive exactly where he needs to be.
Bryant fell in love with music at the age of five when he first touched a piano, immediately after he set out to learn as much as he could about music. From an early age he was involved in elementary music programs where he studied the Recorder, Hand Bells, Violin, and finally the Trumpet but his passion always lay with the desire to play guitar. After 9 years of asking his parents he was finally granted his wish one Christmas and received his first guitar at the age of 14. He taught himself to play it and hasn't put it down since.
Early on Bryant was beginning to write little melodies and riffs but never truly created a song. Not to mention he couldn't sing yet, that wouldn’t come till several years later in his journey. It would be the events during his senior year in high school on the day of September 11th 2001 that would begin to drive him to feel the need to write.
The following year started his college career where he studied performance for trumpet and guitar, as well as business and composition. He studied from notable professorial doctors of music such as Timothy Justus, David Durant, Peter Wood, and Greg Gruner. His college years shaped his perception and awoke something from deep within him. He knew who he wanted to be and what he wanted to do. But, during those years he worked dead ends jobs just to pay rent and feed himself, while periodically searching for someone who needed a guitar player to work with. After a few failures he finally decided to just work on his own and set out to teach himself how to sing and compose songs in the summer of 2005, landing his very first gig in the spring of 2008 playing for tips in a coffee shop in Semmes, Alabama. Yet it would still be another year and another dead end job before he would finally follow his calling. All it took was the economic collapse of the U.S. economy.
It was January 21st 2009 when the nail was put in the coffin for Bryant and he lost the life he worked to create for himself. It would turn out to be exactly what he needed. Just a few months later in April he cut his first demo with Grammy Award winning producer Jack Miele at former Fudge Recording Studios in New Orleans. Bryant would receive his first ever airplay from that demo the following month on radio station WZEW 92.1FM.
It was immediately afterward with the encouragement of friend Laura Bell that he began the work of putting a band together but more difficulties would ensue. It took several bass players and drummers over a year and a half period before Bryant would find reliable performers to work with. In the fall of 2010 Jason Jones (drums) and Ben Tenhundfeld (bass) would join the band and Shifting Tracks officially formed. They immediately got to work playing shows around the South East at such venues as the world famous Celtic, The Blind Mule, and even the Midtown Music Festival.
In May of 2011 the band would walk into Fudge recording studios and record Shifting Tracks debut self-titled EP (released 10/6/12). It was in early February of 2012 though that Bryant would be forced to start from scratch. Due to tensions from the bass player in the band over his desire to focus on cover music more than Bryant’s originals, Ben decided to leave the band and Jason decided to focus more on his family life.
Distraught Bryant decided to yet again strike it out on his own playing a series of acoustic shows for a few months. But, the desire crept in as he longed for that sense of family that you get with a band. He put out the word on social media and in the fall of 2012 the call would be heeded. Jeff Parker (Drums) and Wayne Vannoy (Bass) joined the band and got to work playing shows.
The following year would bring a new addition to the band. Longtime friend, photographer, and general lover of the music Laura Bell joined Shifting Tracks for a few months just before the release of the band’s do-it-yourself second EP Open Doors (October 2013). But, soon Laura decided it was time for her to move into a different direction and focus more on her paintings and collegiate studies. Filling in her place, Alexandria Gordnier stepped in to play keys.
Just before Bryant’s birthday on May 17th of 2014 he would lose the musicians he had been working with. Alexandria decided the band wasn't for her, Jeff wanted to focus more on his home life, and Wayne was let go as Bryant, feeling defeated, decided once again to strike out on his own, determined to not let any obstacle stand in his way.
2014 would prove to be the best year yet for the band. Jim Rose of The Jim Rose Circus discovered the band and offered to teach Bryant how to publicize himself. His band would headline the Launching Pad Stage of local major music festival Bay Fest. He would be discovered and signed to Wright Records. As well as planning, funding, and recording his first full length album Patchwork (1/1/2015).
From his humble beginnings born into a lower middle class military family, a child who bled with the desire to learn music, who has performed from the humblest venues to major stages, Bryant refuses to accept anything but success because it’s all he can afford to achieve.
Shifting Tracks is a reflection of life itself, constantly changing, evolving. We adapt or perish.