When R&B/jazz guitarist Gregory Goodloe dropped his new single, “Cool Like That,” at the beginning of March before the novel coronavirus outbreak hit the US with a vengeance, it was the No. 1 most added single on the Billboard airplay chart in its debut week and earned the most new spins in its second week. The song that he wrote with and features urban-jazz icon Bob Baldwin has taken on quite a different spin in the face of the health and economic crisis that have put lives, finances, and the future in peril. The track that was conceived to recreate the classic cool contemporary jazz sound and will serve as the title cut of his forthcoming album has become somewhat of an affirmation to Goodloe to stay calm and be fluid during this period of uncertainty.
“What’s on my mind is the unsureness of life. It’s very fragile. My mother, who is in her 80s, I worry about keeping her safe. My main concern right now is to be able to continue taking care of my mom,” said the Denver-based Goodloe who is doing his best to maintain his even-keeled cool despite so many unanswered questions about what’s ahead for musicians and the music industry.
“Like every other musician right now, we’re going through a transition. We don’t know what’s going to be at the end of the rainbow. We don’t know if everything is going to be more condensed. Is it the end of concerts? Is it the end of festivals? Is everything going to be digital now? Are we just going to be in-house songwriters? That’s the kind of thing that’s going through my mind. This time is about being able to work through that; to have the change, but not let it defeat me. To move like water into the flow of whatever change has to happen in order to continue to create music.”
“Cool Like That” is Goodloe’s first single since last June when he landed his first Billboard No. 1 single, “Stylin’,” which also topped the Mediabase and Smooth Jazz Top 20 charts. With Baldwin producing and crafting the lion’s share of the new single’s production as well as contributing shimmering keyboard flourishes, Goodloe’s crisp electric guitar recalls two of the legendary guitarists who inspired the track’s conception: George Benson and Wes Montgomery.
“When the idea came for ‘Cool Like That,’ I sought out the writing expertise of Bob Baldwin because he’s almost like a pure jazz enthusiast. I wanted to use his expertise to create that kind of vibe of when jazz was cool. I went through an era of listening to people like Herbie Hancock and wanting to be a musician. We thought it would be cool to be a jazz musician. That era includes your Grover Washington Jr.’s, Wes Montgomery and George Benson when he first came out. It was an exciting time – when classic jazz was the poster of what cool really was. So, I wanted my song to be cool like that, like that whole era. I wanted to reproduce that vibe,” said Goodloe.
Goodloe has been working towards a summer release for the “Cool Like That” album, but the stay-at-home mandate may lead to a delay. For now, he prefers to keep his cards close to his chest when it comes to the identities of the prominent hitmakers with whom he has been writing and recording for the collection. Goodloe admits to struggling to focus on songwriting since the outbreak.
“Some of the songs were written before the virus and I have yet to pen anything of any significance since the virus hit and the economic downfall. It’s kind of a solemn time and people are reflecting. You have time to create and hone your craft because a lot of things are shutdown.”
At the suggestion of a fan, Goodloe has spent the last few Saturday nights in his home studio playing live and connecting with fans on Facebook Live. He is going to continue what he has now titled “Saturday Night Hang” (7pm Mountain Time), which he sees as an offering to help people get through the crisis.
“The idea is to interact and try to ease people’s minds during this pandemic because a lot of people are panicking. They are frustrated and some are freaking out. The quarantine itself, some people don’t know how to handle it. So, I want to provide an hour escape. I kind of mix it up. Because some of my followers are Christian, I may open with a couple of Christian songs and read a bible passage. After that, I try to play songs that people recognize and they can sing to. I play familiar tunes and throw in some of my own music.”
Goodloe debuted as a solo artist in 2010 and has performed with an array of R&B, jazz and gospel greats including Howard Hewett, Surface, Tank, Ben Tankard, Shirley Caesar, John P. Key, The Rance Allen Group and Angela Spivey, and opened for Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson and Norman Brown. He also played one gig with award-winning blues artist Sista Monica Parker, an experience that perhaps answers the question about whether this crisis will diminish the joyous spirit that permeates his guitar play and songwriting as he works towards completing the “Cool Like That” album.
“I remember playing for Sista Monica and she only hired me one time because she said my blues is like happy blues. I don’t know if I would be able to write a song about the unhappy mood of current times because I don’t know if that part of me will come out. I’d probably just end up playing happy blues.”
For more information, please visit http://gregorygoodloe.com.
Source: Great Scott Productions