Ray played a show tonight in my & Mr. A's old stomping grounds (Phoenix). It’s déjà vu since we saw him there this same month last year. In the front row of the balcony, we were in a prime position to catch the hypnotic rhythms that came floating out of the dark.
Uncomfortable with the spotlight, Ray performs in dim lighting perhaps in hopes of fading into the music. He doesn’t interact with the audience much, not out of snobbery but out of awkwardness. It’s as if he would prefer to melt into the scenery than be showcased. I’m sorry to disappoint him but with his voice, he will never blend.
At an early age, Ray shunned musical activity because of his musician father’s violent ways. But in his twenties, the force within him could not be quelled. In the early morning hours before his shift at a shoe factory in Maine, he heard ‘Treetop Flyer’ on the radio & it spoke to him. He couldn’t deny the music any longer.
Of all the artists that you aren’t listening to & should be, Ray tops my list of suggestions. He is a raspy voice in a lanky body with roots in a past life. His soul is palpable through song. To listen is to discover nerves you never knew existed. He is not a “packaged” performer of the mainstream, but a pure artist from a bygone era.
If you’d ask me to sum up his music in one sentence, I would simply tell you this:
He has a voice that will keep you warm in winter.