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Bio

Jeff Holman was born in San Francisco, but has lived in Minnesota since the age of four. He grew up in Minneapolis and its suburbs, graduated from high school in Roseville, MN, and went on to study journalism at the University of Minnesota. He also briefly attended St. John's prep school in Collegeville -- he suggested that a loving God probably would not send people to hell. They suggested that he go to school somewhere else.
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Musical influences: He grew up listening to the Beatles, Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, James Taylor and the singer-writers of that era. But also, to a couple of albums his dad liked to play -- the soundtracks from "South Pacific" and "Oklahoma." Eventually, he discovered Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Sondheim, Gershwin, and the rest of those whose work comprises the Great American Songbook.

As a musician: he was introduced to the clarinet in 5th or 6th grade, and in junior high he switched to the saxophone. He wasn't very good at either instrument. That was partly because he was lazy and undisciplined, but also, the music he was given to practice was boring. It seems strange, now, that adults were trying to get him excited about the clarinet, but nobody ever mentioned the name Benny Goodman, or introduced him to swing. Or that in studying the saxophone, the name Charlie Parker never came up.

He started taking guitar lessons in 7th grade. It was more fun. His guitar teacher, though drunk during most of his lessons, was a jazz player who introduced him to comping and 13th chords and Mickey Baker.

Today: Jeff Holman lives in Roseville, Minnesota with his wife Julie and his two cats, Sophie and Simon. Though he's spent most of his life in Minnesota, he and his wife have travelled frequently to England, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico, and as often as possible, New York City. His two favorite places in the world are New York and Barcelona.

Why Gilley Gray

A performer will often take a stage name because his/her real name is considered unattractive (or) dull," says Wikipedia. Or "to hide an individual's real identity." Gilley isn't hiding from anyone -- except maybe that one kid in 5th grade, who gave him his first bloody nose.

The fact is, almost every songwriter, singer, actor or author I like has used a pseudonym or stage name. Like my favorite songwriters...