Grady Lark

Grady Lark (nee Grady Wilson Metoyer) is a native of Louisiana. Born and educated in Alexandria, he studied trumpet at St. James High School and played piano for kicks at home. During that time, he performed with the Alexandrians, a jazz band lead by Dr. James Herman Friedman. The band toured with The Little Singers of Paris, France, and with the Xavier University Concert Choir of New Orleans. After graduating from high school, Grady joined and toured with the King Charles Band. When the band’s keyboardist, Leo Cole, took ill one evening, Grady was asked to fill in, giving his first public performance on keyboards. And after hearing the virtuoso organist Jimmy Smith play the Hammond B3 organ, Grady never picked up a trumpet again.

As Grady’s reputation as a keyboardist grew, he joined the Sonny Boy Williamson Show and moved to Amarillo, Texas. There he met Jackie Wilson’s band leader, J. C. Davis, and signed on with Little Sonny Green and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue to tour USO clubs and army bases in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He eventually made his way to Houston and joined the cadre of musicians promoted by Don Robey and Rudolph Wiley of Duke-Peacock Records. During this time, he performed with such notables as Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Joe Hinton, Little Jackie Payne, and Sam Cooke. Grady finally signed with Al “TNT” Braggs, who was based in Dallas, and toured extensively with his band. Traveling throughout the South, Grady played the same venues as Percy Sledge and Joe Simon and met other notables like Al Green and members of the Willie Mitchell Band.

Eventually, Grady settled back in Alexandria. He formed his own band, Grady Lark and the Blue Message, and began performing throughout Louisiana. The band thrived for several years, until Grady relocated to New Orleans for better opportunities for his family. Although music became an avocation during the next 23 years, he occasionally performed with such notables as Johnny Adams, Oliver (“Who Shot the La-La”) Morgan, Cyril Neville, Jimmy Elledge, Ernie K-Doe, and Dorothy Moore and in a studio session with the legendary Allen Toussaint. In 2005, Grady was forced to flee his beloved New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina. He found himself back in Houston, where he had laid down so many of his musical roots. He met and married Pamela Paradis, a writer and lyricist. Since their marriage, Grady and Pamela have collaborated on a variety of songs. They currently are collaborating with a the Houston-based producer, Clarence Parker, to record their own works. Grady also performs throughout the Houston area with local artists.

 

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Grady Lark
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