Gray Lee is certainly a mysterious figure in Upstate Carolina's culture. He began appearing in the early 2000s as a magician, hanging around in the shadows outside magicians clubs doing card tricks in the alley. Upon discovering how magical music was, he abandoned sleight of hand in favor of songwriting. Thrust into Greenville's music scene, Gray stuck out like a sore thumb among other, more homogenous thumbs, with his unique take on songwriting. "I don't write love songs," he would say to anyone who cared to listen, "There are enough in the world already." Instead, he chose to write songs about life, death, darkness, and blues. There are desperate characters that populate his songs; Devils, ghosts, murderers and pirates. "I let everyone else write the sugar, spice, and everything nice," says Lee, "I'm interested in the spiders, snails and puppy dog tails." Steeping himself heavily in traditional and neo-traditional works that spurred him to create his own folk sound, Gray amassed an enormous library of material, enough to last a lifetime.
For nearly a decade, he recorded homemade EPs, selling them out of his trunk to show-goers. Then in 2009, Gray produced an EP called Besides. It was a huge hit among the tens of people who obtained it.
In the fall of 2010, Gray began recording a studio album A Brief History of Murder and Mayhem with bassist Theron Willis, audio engineer Mark Jones, and lead guitarist Michael Depp. Ninja and drumbuilder Brett Sims of Divide the Sea was enlisted to provide percussion. Although the album is still in production, a single Five Golden Earrings was released on September 19th, 2014. Brief History is set to be released in 2015.
In October of 2014, Gray remastered Besides with two bonus tracks. It was produced in a limited run and is currently only available at his live shows.