GRAYSON jokes his baby son Hunter had visited 14 US states by the time he was 10 weeks old. That’s the life of a travelling musician, come family man.
Ten months ago Grayson, aka Newcastle country musician Michael Edser, and his Gunnedah bred-wife Brianna (nee MacKellar) welcomed their first baby in Nashville.
“It’s the best thing in the world and also the hardest thing in the world,” Grayson tells Weekender from Nashville.
“We literally didn’t have time to record with touring and not sleeping with a brand new baby.”
It meant plans for Grayson’s long-awaited fifth album were postponed. Finally last week he pressed play on Window Dreams, which is expected to be released later this year.
“It’ll be a bit different to the last couple of songs I’ve released,” he says. “A little more stripped back and a little more real.”
Window Dreams will feature nine tracks that Grayson wrote with American country star Jeff Wood, who has previously written songs for Neal McCoy and Phil Vassar.
In the meantime, Grayson has given fans a sugary pop single that is unashamedly written for US country commercial radio, much like his previous single 10-9-8-7 that topped the US New Music Weekly Country Charts in 2016.
Margarita was inspired by a three-day hangover that refused to dissipate. The culprit? Taco Tuesday and a lot of tequila-packed margaritas.
“Every Tuesday night I go out for Taco Tuesday, I eat tacos and drink a shitload of margaritas,” Grayson says. “The wife hates it, as every Wednesday I’m hungover as all hell.”
Over the summer Grayson returned to Newcastle to introduce Hunter to his family, play shows and film Margarita’s video clip at Redhead and Dudley beaches.
Grayson loved the experience of returning to the beaches where he first learnt to surf, but it created some curious scenes for locals who didn’t realise a country music video was beginning filmed.
“We used drones, which are a great technology, and the guys who manned them were in the bushes,” he says. “So I must have looked like an absolute tool standing on the beach with no cameras around.
“People would have been thinking, ‘what the hell is this guy doing, it’s 5.30 in the morning and he’s singing to himself’. The end product is good and it’s worth the embarrassment.”
Over the past six months Grayson has watched with pride as his “gym buddy” and fellow Novocastrian Morgan Evans has become a breakout country pop-star with his single Kiss Somebody.
“He actually stayed on our couch for the first month he lived over here,” Grayson says. “I went to his wedding in Mexico last year with [US country star] Kelsea [Ballerini], so as a friend, a mentor, and a fellow musician it’s awesome that he’s kicking goals, because nobody works as hard as him.”
Grayson has also been working hard to crack the lucrative Nashville scene. Since 2011, in fact. But as a new father he admits his career aspirations are being re-evaluated.
“If you’re serious about your career you've got to be here,” he says. “We’ll see how this album goes and Hunter is only 10 months old. The way the world is going right now I don’t want him growing up in schools here, there’s scary stuff happening.
“The next couple of years are make or break, regardless of whether I’m kicking goals, I’d love to come back home.
“I’m a proud Novocastrian and always will be. It’s the best and worst part of my job in that I don’t know what’s next.”