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Sean Denton brings old friends to benefit new PAC
The Gryffyn Band musicians agreed last summer when they performed in the Music in Terrace Park series presented by the city of Arlington that they would be glad to do a benefit performance for the new Performing Arts Center at Arlington High School.
That commitment comes to fruition this Friday when the long-time friends who went to school together in south Seattle will open the three-night Winter Concert series presented by the Arlington Arts Council.
They fit in the celebration of Arlington talent because their lead guitar player, Sean Denton lives in Grandview, north of Arlington, and is married to the owner of Denton Massage School in downtown Arlington.
A neighbor to Denton in nearby Bryant, Jeff Nicely will be a special guest in the concert adding his talent at the harmonica to The Gryffyn Band for this very special occasion.
Denton drives all the way to Burien every week for rehearsal, so he is glad his partners will be driving up this way this time.
I like to encourage people to get out and enjoy live entertainment whenever possible, Denton said adding he believes the new performing arts center will be very good for the community.
I feel very fortunate to be playing with guys who are so willing to give of their time even though they have no ties to the area.
I feel very fortunate to be playing with the guys who are so willing to give their time, since they have no ties in the area, other than me, Denton said.
In nearly 30 years of playing together, they have been through a variety of genres, finally settling on American blues.
We play guitar and organ blues with elements of jazz and gospel influences, Denton said.
When they performed in the park last summer, they warned organizers that their music is not acoustic.
I warned them last summer that we do play loud, Denton said.
The big sounds will reverberate through the walls of the classic old hall at the old high school, with assistance from the sound system provided by Kyle Blevins, of Superior Sound.
Along with Dentons guitar and vocals. The Gryffyn Band is made up of Mark Talbott on drums, Rick Mutter, on organ/piano/vocals and Jim Collins on bass.
The most recent addition TGB is their bass player, Jim Collins, who joined two years ago, in April of 2005.
I was in awe by the bands talent to write, record and perform some very tasteful rhythm and blues, Collins said. What most impressed me was their ability to recreate live, the sounds that were captured on their CD. It truly demonstrates the experience and talent within this band.
Collins said he felt like a natural fit with the band when he auditioned.
Collins feels that a unique characteristic of The Gryffyn Band is that each instrument can be cleanly heard with the total sound.
You might say we allow plenty of room for the breath, said the bass player.
Ive heard each of us say at one time or another, this is the best line-up of musicians any one of us has played with in our musical careers. Thats what keeps us together, Collins said.
Rick, Mark and I played together in bands off and on through the years, taking time off to start families and establish careers, Denton said.
Denton works as a designer for a T-shirt manufacturer in Redmond. Two of the guys work for Boeing and the other one works for REI, Denton said.
He now has two beautiful daughters, including Nora, who plays fiddle.
Denton and Talbott had been writing songs together through the years and when they had enough songs for a CD they decided to get another band together.
We were happy to find our old friend Rick Mutter was available, Denton said. And they found their new bass player through the Web.
Our basement recording Am I Blue, turned out pretty nicely I must say, Denton said.
The CD features original music inspired by their favorite blues tunes.
The Denton family moved to Arlington five years ago.
This community has turned out to be a perfect fit for us, Denton said.
They presented a benefit concert for Katrina victims last winter and thats where they met Nicely, who is best know as part of a group called Blues Therapy, appearing regularly in north Puget Sound clubs in recent years.
Jeff is a great mouth harp player, Denton said.
TGB is now working on their second collection, called No Apologies, because, even though many club owners are steering away from the blues, they are continuing with it, with no apologies.
Because we love the music.
The Gryffyn Band likes to take old tunes and push them into something new.
We call it old blues with new soul, Denton said they were considering presenting their new music as American music.
We like to do more obscure songs, that are still familiar to some. Our goal is to have all the audience humming as they walk away from the concert.