Gregory Dwane has been through it. The Trinity, N.C., native spent the '90s producing and playing in punk bands in New York City, until everything fell apart due to his drinking.

A lifeline from a friend led to work on road crews, then to a jingle-writing gig and a new round of production work ... and, then, to a departure from the music industry due to burnout, a career in fine art and, finally, a return to songwriting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dwane culls these experiences into his forthcoming new album as a whole, but specifically into "It's F--ked Up," the project's lead single.

"This song, in particular, is about dealing with past pain and trauma, and ultimately the realization that it is up to you (the victim) to process, forgive and let it go," Dwane tells The Boot — which is exclusively premiering the song — adding that, yeah, he gets it: The whole thing "feels incredibly unfair."

Indigo Girls member Amy Ray, for whom Dwane has served as a producer, sings harmonies to "It's F--ked Up," offering a sort of musical agreement that life just isn't fair, and that's not okay. Pedal steel flourishes fill around their voices, adding a mournful touch.

"Getting to work with Amy Ray was like song school for me: a real lesson in what it takes to be a working songwriter," Dwane says. "It doesn’t happen by chance; you have to do the work. I couldn’t be more grateful and humbled that Amy was willing to sing on a few songs for me."

Listen to Gregory Dwane's "It's F--ked Up" (Feat. Amy Ray)

"It's F--ked Up" is one of 11 songs on Gregory Dwane, Dwane's new, self-titled album that's due out on Oct. 8. He describes the project as "a culmination of years of therapy, sobriety and relationships (both good and bad)."

"Even my relationship to music had had ups and downs. All of that came out on this record," Dwane adds. "I had so much fun writing this record — I didn't want any bells or whistles, I just wanted good songs. In my head, I wanted it to sound like it was recorded in 1996 ... I’m not really sure what that means, other than it was a good time for recording and music in general."

Dwane's road crew work includes tours with Alanis Morrissette, Dave Navarro and Macy Gray. He also got sober — a decision, he says, "opened up my whole world," as it led to him joining the Sony-signed rock band Mellowdrone. Fatherhood prompted a career in jingle-writing (recommended by none other than Fitz and the Tantrums leader Michael Fitzpatrick), and Dwane also got back into production work.

His burnout-prompted departure from the music industry prompted Dwane to take up painting, and he opened a gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. But when COVID-19 hit the United States in March of 2020 and he found himself with unexpected free time, Dwane once again began songwriting.

“If anything, I probably liked music more after I quit,” Dwane admits.

Fans can keep up with Dwane at at GregoryDwaneMusic.com.

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