Band of Gold
At the last of the 2014 summer concerts at Hedges-Boyer Park, area residents were treated to a free performance by The Late Show of Tiffin and were introduced to the band’s newest member, singer-songwriter Trez Gregory.
Gregory spent 12 years in Nashville performing with Brooks & Dunn, Gretchen Wilson, Michael McDonald, Dana Roberts and other artists. She returned to Toledo as a caretaker when her mother became ill. She recalled her first contact with Kevin Maiberger and Yvonne Ehrenfried. They were performing at a winery in Catawba.
“I stopped up to Mon Ami, and that was right around the time Donna Summer had passed, after I moved back here after being gone for 12 years. I ran into them at Mon Ami,” Gregory said. “I think I went up to give them a compliment, and Yvonne said ‘Do you sing?'”
Gregory admitted she did and asked if they could do something by Donna Summer. Maiberger and Ehrenfried invited her onto the stage to sing one Summer’s songs.
“That was the kicker. … They just trusted me. That was awesome. They’re so talented and spiritual … that was all good,” Gregory said.
She also liked the variety of music they were doing. About a year later, Maiberger called Gregory, in need of a stand-in for Ehrenfried. The Late Show had a booking that day, but Ehrenfried was too ill to sing. Maiberger and Gregory went through the songs they both knew and picked out about 15 they could do together.
“It ended up it went great, very, very smooth,” Gregory said.
Since their initial contact in 2012, The Late Show has developed a new three-person show for whenever Gregory is available to join them at a performance. After their concert at Hedges, Gregory did have to miss a gig the following Friday at the Holiday Inn French Quarter. Her excuse? Becoming a grandmother for the first time.
“I played with The Late Show on Sunday and they had the baby Saturday afternoon at 12:30,” Gregory said. “They are so relaxed and cool about it, which works really well for me, because I’m in four groups and responsible for our family stuff.”
Recently, Gregory and Ehrenfried served as back-up singers for a CD release party for Tom Turner & Slow Burn in Toledo. In recording the CD, Gregory layered all her own vocals. For the release party, Gregory invited Ehrenfried to sing back-up with her during the live show.
“She and Tom needed another female voice – was a real treat!!” Ehrenfried said. “We’re honored to have met her and instantly become such perfect collaborators. It just fits.”
In the next few months, Gregory is to appear with The Late Show for multiple bookings at Mon Ami. Gregory said she likes the acoustics and the atmosphere at the winery. Having tried to get bookings there on her own, she said, appearing with The Late Show opened the door. The manager really took a liking to the threesome.
“It really blessed me. It blessed all of us,” Gregory said.
Her interest in music started while growing up in Toledo. Gregory said she learned to play a bit of piano, a couple woodwinds and percussion. In her teens, she sang in a choir at the Methodist church that sounded good, but “it wasn’t a rockin’, kickin’ Baptist choir.”
“Michael Jackson was really my inspiration, down in the basement singing with a hairbrush, dancing to the Jackson Five. That’s where I believe it started,” she said.
Gregory and her three siblings attended Rogers High School, where she sang in the school choir. The director encouraged Gregory to continue singing. After graduation, she performed in Toledo for years.
“I’ve been with a band since the early 1980s. I was in a duo for 10 years and did a lot of weddings and sitting in with other local artists. Then I started doing a trio, then a five-piece, then a six-piece. I’ve done all kinds of increments of live entertaining,” Gregory said. “The duo really helped me get my vocal style.”
In 1999, she moved to Nashville to take her singing to the next level. When her mother’s health declined, she returned home as a caretaker by day and sang with various bands in the Toledo area when her schedule allowed. In addition to performing with The Late Show, she is developing a Donna Summers tribute show and devoting herself to composing.
“I’m working on things all the time. That gives you more accolades from some of the music people,” Gregory said. “I have a five-song demo of songs I was hired to sing. … One is the featured single on my girlfriend’s CD. Dana Roberts played with Barry Manilow for seven years or so. She’s fantastic. I’m the only featured vocalist on her first solo CD. I’m very proud of her.”
Gregory has a Facebook page, and fans also can follow her appearances on The Late Show Facebook page.