The Robert Cray Band
May 26, 2017
The Garde Arts Center
The Garde Arts Center audience was taken on a blues train on May 26th with a great performance by Grammy award winner, blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray. Cray is 63 but his energetic performance and crisp clear voice leave no indication of his years. He still sounds as good as he did in the 80’s. Better actually as his voice has a deeper tone and resonance while he can still hit the high notes with strength and ease.
Cray’s guitar playing and solos are a delight to hear. He and the band knew each note so well. They mesh and change tempos with ease leading up to and following Cray’s solos. Band members bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Dover Weinberg and drummer Terence Clark all performed flawlessly.
The set started with “The Same Love” followed by “I’ll Always Remember You.” Cray’s soulful voice echoed in the Garde. Cray then sang on to “Poor Johnny.” He makes the most difficult of riffs look easy.
They played “It Doesn’t Show” and you could hear a pin drop with the exception of a shout or two from the audience as they got softer and softer on the notes.
Cray was appreciative of the audience and he acknowledged how good the music sounded in the Garde Arts Center and that it was an excellent venue to play. He also localized the song “Phone Booth” to the audience’s delight by saying “I’m back in New London baby” to cheers from the crowd.
Cray got his start in music in the 1960’s in Newport News Virginia. That’s where he played in his first band, The One-Way Street. He then moved west and in while living in Oregon in the late 70’s formed the Robert Cray Band. Many decades later he is a world renowned blues and soul wonder. Cray has five Grammy Awards and 15 nominations. In 2011 Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
They introduced two of his new songs “I Don’t Care” and “Aspen” off the Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm newly released EP. This was recorded in Memphis and produced in collaboration with Steve Jordan.
The Opening Act was John Fries and Corina Malburn. The duo played songs off their newly released EP “Unreleased.” I really liked their music. It was upbeat and entertaining. John Fries on guitar and Corina Malburn on Upright Bass gave a great performance with a rich sound. Do go see them if you get the chance.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris