PARTNERS OF HARRIS CENTER
ROBERT CRAY BAND
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
Robert Cray has created a sound that rises from American roots and arrives today both fresh and familiar. In just over 40 years, Cray and his band have recorded 20 studio releases, 15 of which have been on the Billboard charts, and played bars, concert halls, festivals and arenas around the world.
With the group's 1980 debut release, Who's Been Talkin', word about the Cray Band began to spread across the Northwest and down into California. Playing packed bars and roadhouses - the Cray Band was thrilling. Yes, fans could hear an Albert Collins guitar riff and a Howlin' Wolf song but the sound was present. Blues and soul fans showed up religiously, but those steamy raucous sets also drew crowds whose tastes in music ranged from rock to funk and jazz.
It was the sounds of the blues and soul that first drew attention from artists in the rock arena. In an interview, Eric Clapton gives his initial response to Robert Cray saying, "As a blues fan, we're saved." The Cray Band's beginnings did bring the sounds of its mentors into the mainstream, even taking the music of John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Albert Collins to a larger, younger audience. But no one knew how broad the band's audience would be until the Cray Band opened the ears of rock radio programmers. With the 1986 release of Strong Persuader the Cray Band's tunes were put in heavy rotation on mega rock stations across the nation. The first hit, "Smoking Gun," was followed by "I Guess I Showed Her" and "Right Next Door (Because of Me)." The Cray Band's next two releases, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Midnight Stroll, brought more radio listeners to record stores, increasing sales of the group's CDs.
During the '90s, the Cray Band was featured in concert with artists like Clapton, the Stones, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Bonnie Raitt, who declared that the band leader is "an original; he's passionate, he's a bad ass and puts on one of the best shows you'll ever see."
$35-$45; Premium $55