PARTNERS OF HARRIS CENTER
ROBERT CRAY BAND
Featuring Guest Artist MICHAEL RAY
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.
Guest Artist Michael Ray
Picking up the guitar and harmonica as a child, Michael attended a national award winning Rio Americano high school music program where he performed at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inauguration and The Monterey Jazz Festival. A commitment to music as a full time career came in 2014, resulting in a rapid ascent through Sacramento's thriving music scene. What followed was a year that totalled over 200 gigs in countless venues and ended in a Sammie nomination.
Today Michael has a weekly blues show at the historic Torch Club and hosts the biggest open mic in Sacramento. He released a live album in July of 2016 and was recently featured on the cover of Submerge Magazine. Michael Ray is on a mission to change what you think of the blues and has no plans of slowing down. A studio EP is in the works to be released before the end of the year and he is branching out to new markets like Seattle, Portland, Nevada, and San Francisco.
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