Growing up in a western Pennsylvania coal mining town with no red lights, one store and six churches, for Gary Pratt, music was always a passion. He started a band at age 16 and has been singing ever since. He was a “serious” musician from the beginning, as well. That first band included older people, which meant they went places most teen garage bands don’t get to go. He went on to sing in different kinds of bands all through high school and college. After college, he went to Nashville and says “I sang in probably every venue in Nashville.” Gary sums up his musical calling this way: “I don’t think I ever thought I didn’t want to be in this business.”
He was also a songwriter from the start, and not in a completely rudimentary way. “In fact,” says Gary, “one of the songs on my current album, I wrote when I was 16 or 17…I wrote the song for my Mom; it was called “Number One Fan.” Although it underwent heavy re-writing of both music and lyrics, the solid basis was there, even at such an early age.
That album, Something Worth Remembering, which came out in March 2021, is his third release, but the first to gain wider recognition. It’s dedicated to his brother, Dennis, who passed away about three years ago. Initially, Gary was struggling to produce an album that met his goal of remembering his bother with a meaningful collection of songs revolving around the theme of “life.” Then his producer found the title track, written by Grammy nominee, Tony Arata, who wrote Garth Brooks’ hit “The Dance.” It had a dramatic effect on Greg’s creative process in putting the album together: “Once I heard that song, I knew exactly which song was going to be first…exactly which song was going to be last…It made it all make sense.”
The album is a combination of Gary’s originals and songs written by hit Nashville songwriters. In the making for more than a year, the album was recorded at Tonic Studios with Engineer Doug Kasper, Producer Bryan Cole (Ashley Puckett, Savannah) and Musician/Artist Adam Ernst. Gary also invited MTS Records’ award-winning male vocalist Matt Westin and multiple international #1 iTunes female vocalist Savannah (Nider) to help out on a few songs. Savannah and Gary recorded the duet he wrote, “To Find Us,” at Omni Studios in Nashville. It was the first time Gary and Savannah actually met, and they are now making plans to write together in the future.
By Dan Walsh