In the summer of 2018, Greg Klyma spiraled down a songwriting vortex. When it was all over, he had written 31 songs in 30 days. Then, he wrote an additional seven the day after Christmas through New Year’s day. Nearly 40 new songs in, the result was three album releases in 2019, including his third and last, C & W.
Writing isn’t anything new for Klyma. He’s written songs since he was a teenager growing up in Buffalo, NY. At this point, it’s in his blood. For three decades Klyma, who now lives in Arlington, MA, has been immersed in songwriting. He’s also been touring for 20 of those years—12 of which were done while living out of his car.
“For the past 30 years, people say stuff to me like, ‘That song you played, ya know, the good one. Is that a real song, or did you make it up?’” he says. “At this point in life, I have notebooks full of fake songs and want to get as many of ’em outta my notebooks and into the ether while I still can.”
After the dozens of songs started flooding out, Klyma decided he would record three albums within the year and release them all digitally via Bandcamp. “The first one [Fake Songs] of 2019 focused on my folk songs,” says Klyma. “Then, I rocked out like a high school kid with Maybe the Ocean.” The final piece to a trifecta of releases, C & W—which stands for country and western and coffee and weed—is Klyma’s first, dedicated country album.
Opening track, “Coffee & Weed,” pays homage to the album’s title with some slight levity in lyrics I’ve got coffee, got weed, everything that I need / Who needs you? A jazzier, pared down version of the Willie Nelson penned “Crazy,” made famous by country singer Patsy Cline in 1961, moves through more of Klyma’s country and western tales. He releases some southern twang telling of heartbreak in “The Over in Lover,” while single “Beginnner’s Luck,” co-written by Grammy winning Luke Dick (Highwomen, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley), is a mellower, more heartfelt tale about winning and losing some with Klyma singing Just because you win / It doesn’t mean losing ain’t around the bend.
For C & W, Klyma also pulled in folk singers Melanie Brulée and Susan Cattaneo on backing vocals and Duke Levine (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lee Ann Womack) on lead electric guitar.
Even after recording three albums in a year, Klyma isn’t finished. He already has enough tracks for at least three more albums in 2020, but he may just stick to one more for now.
“I’m feeling strong and still writing a lot,” says Klyma. “If all goes well, I’ll record at least one more album in 2020. I have the songs to record three more, but I’ll need a hit song or some other good luck if I’m gonna cover my recording habit.”