By Neima Abdulahi
Gary Bailey is a counselor at Elon University’s health center, but started off soothing people’s hearts in a different way – with love ballads and rhythmic funk music.
In 1970, Bailey formed the R&B group “Brief Encounter” with his brothers. This passion stemmed from their father, who bought Bailey his first guitar and supported the band from the time they started playing together.
“It was genetically endowed,” he said. “It was predetermined almost that we would be in music.”
As they started to fill studio times and practice schedules, their hardwork began to pay off with filled venues.
“We would pack clubs,” Bailey said. “You look out in the audience and its standing room only.”
The band also got to share the stage with big acts like KC & The Sunshine Band and the legendary singer James Brown.
“To see that gentleman (Brown) play was absolutely phenomenal,” he said.
Brief Encounter gained enough buzz to receive a record deal from Capitol Records. This accomplishment was a representation of their dedication to their passion.
“To hear people throughout the world and realize that we have impacted people worldwide from a little state like North Carolina, particularly from my hometown Wilesboro, [and] we’ve had an influence on the world in terms of musically? It’s a good feeling,” Bailey said. “Matter fact, it’s a great feeling.”
The records he hasn’t touched in so long have recently been in high demand. Fans placed $400 bids on eBay for hopes to own the rare original recordings, and the highest purchase sold for more than $2,500.
Every now and then, Gary Bailey said he reunites with his brothers and friends to perform their old hits and also create music. Bailey is planning a performance in April with his brothers and friends.