Miracles abound, Gary Floyd sings — and surely one of them is his voice
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES
Gary Lynn Floyd’s introduction to singing was through the church, so it was small surprise that — once he decided to pursue that as a career — he would start off singing Christian music. Of course, that genre is not the most accepting of out gay men, so Floyd transitioned more into the area of adult contemporary and even showtunes. Lucky for us he did. His satiny tenor is one of the most intoxicatingly romantic and soothing instruments this side of the dulcimer.
But Floyd never lost his sense of spiritual connection, and now, decades after leaving Christian music, he is reconnecting, musically and thematically, with his spiritual side — not through outwardly religious gospel tunes, but the kind of humanistic and comforting music that speaks to the soul even for those not of faith. His new album, My 88 Keys Vol. 1 — Unplugged is a salvo into his rediscovery of this genre. Just his words, his piano and his voice.
This collection of 13 songs — and the title suggests more are to come when volume 2 arrives — are all originals, composed by Floyd himself, so there’s a synergy to the production: Every moment timed and orchestrated for Floyd’s uniquely beautiful singing.
My 88 Keys preaches without getting preachy. I defy even the most cynical person to listen to the refrain of the disc’s second and best track — Love cover me, light any darkness/ Love cover me, right every wrong / Cause me to see love over hatred / Guide me to be faithful and strong — and walk away unmoved.
“Love Cover Me” might be the best song, but hardly the only good one. The lead-off track, “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised,” sets the tone of optimism. And life keeps blessing me with so much good, I wouldn’t change it even if I could … / Blessing me in every way, and if it all turns out OK / I wouldn’t be surprised he sings with an intimacy that is almost therapeutic.
That’s true of most of the numbers here, because while stripped down to its essence, the album is by no means stark. There’s a lushness to a Gary Floyd song that transcends complex arrangements and elaborate post-production treatment.
It’s appropriate, then, that Floyd — who tours extensively and doesn’t spend nearly enough time in Dallas — will be performing some original compositions for a “music and meditation” event this week in honor of International Peace One Day, a worldwide communion that seeks to bring an end to the madnesses of the world.
“It probably sounds crazy to think one person or even a group of people can really bring about peace,” Floyd tells me with modesty. But really, that’s exactly how such things happen. The key even resides in the lyric of one of the songs here:
Miracles abound, they happen all around me every day he sings on “I Wouldn’t Be Surprised.” Certainly one of those miracles is Gary Lynn Floyd himself.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 18, 2015.