Grace was formed by a group of art students in the late ’70s, and they toured the North Staffordshire area. The stage show was dominated by lead singer Mac Austin, and flautist / sax player Harry Davies, both vying for the front man position. They started out as sort of more pop version of Jethro Tull. In 1977, they released their first single, “Old Stories,” on an independent label. Grace signed with MCA in 1979, and released the single, “The Fire of London.” This also led to the recording of their self-titled debut album. Appearing on the album were vocalist Mac Austin, flautist and sax player Harry Davies, guitarist David Edge, guitarist Alan Whiting, percussionist Phil Brown, guitarist Marshall Bereford, bass player Dave Rushton, and keyboardist Roger Jackson. The band released another single in 1980, and then a live album followed in 1981.
It would seem that Grace was on the verge of great success, but it was not to be. Prog was on the outs at this time, and the band dynamic was not exactly stable. So, they broke up, and the band members went off to other projects. Mac and Harry stayed together, and formed White Door, with Harry’s brother John on keyboards.
In 1988, back in Staffordshire, Mac Austin and Dave Rushton just happened to run into each other. As you would expect, talk of a reunion ensued. The band ended up playing three reunion shows during that Christmas season. This led to more reunion shows, and of course new music. In 1992, original members Mac, Harry, Dave Edge, and Dave Rushton, brought John Davies and percussionist Tony Hall into the studio, and recorded “The Poet, The Piper and the Fool.” The second, and more prolific, phase of Grace had begun. The old prog influences were still there, but the band’s sound had now been transformed. It is obvious that they were being influenced more by Marillion than Jethro Tull.
Harry’s brother John would not return for 1994’s “Pulling Strings and Shiny Things.” Mark Price became the new keyboard player. This lineup remained stable for their last studio release, 1996’s “Poppy.” A December 1997 show at The Wheatsheaf at The Kings Hall was recorded, and released as “Gathering in the Wheat.” Ironically, this was also the night they announced that they were breaking up.
Well, as you may have guessed, this is not a band that will go away so easily. They got back together with representatives from the new generation of musicians. Guitarist Adam Rushton, and keyboard player David Markham joined the remaining veterans. Both a youthful 21 years old at the time they entered. No new recordings have emerged at this time, but the band still plays live.