The essential elements to Matt Dorrien’s rollicking, Tin Pan Alley-inspired new record are as follows: piano, Nilsson, whiskey, heartbreak, a little more whiskey, Randy Newman, old phonographs, and New Orleans brass bands. A big, swinging pean to loneliness and the golden age of pop songwriting, In the Key of Grey is the sound of East Village piano bars long past closing, when the house musician has had a few too many, and the regulars are gathering ‘round to drown out their sorrows in song.
“I guess I would say this album is a homage to a bygone era of songwriting,” Dorrien says. “A lot of the songs are about a certain period in my life, with themes of love and loss abounding. But at its core, I believe I wrote this record as a tribute to my favorite songwriters.” With In the Key of Grey, Dorrien isn’t just paying respect to his heroes—he’s making a convincing bid to join their ranks. – J. Edward Keyes