Just Saw Robert Cray Play

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,059
Savannah, GA
Took the family up to Sugar Hill, Georgia to catch The Robert Cray Band tonight. Great venue and sound…Mr. Cray was among the finest I’ve seen.

Even if he was just the singer it would be amazing enough, but his rhythm playing is so detailed, complex and soulful. Swinging and steady as a rock with lots of unexpected voicings and syncopations…master class!

Then he breaks out and solos…he’s a one-note genius like the greats. You can tell it’s Cray from one note. That guitar was singing and talking so beautifully tonight. Always about melody and emotion he didn’t play any tired old licks…just music. He works hard to wring every last bit of drama from each note.

I couldn’t sit still it was such a great night with my bride by my side.
F4A02E37-341D-452C-8640-1B47E10EDBFE.png
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
22,729
Monkey Island
Sounds like an enjoyable night out!

I didn't rate Cray as a player(much) when he broke onto the scene.
Now I've matured a bit, I can fully appreciate his playing and no frills clean strat tone. When you look up clean Strat tone in the dictionary you might find his pic there.
Also(since it came up recently), he uses hardtails.

1664082583677.jpeg
 

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,059
Savannah, GA
Sounds like an enjoyable night out!

I didn't rate Cray as a player(much) when he broke onto the scene.
Now I've matured a bit, I can fully appreciate his playing and no frills clean strat tone. When you look up clean Strat tone in the dictionary you might find his pic there.
Also(since it came up recently), he uses hardtails.

View attachment 190697
Yes, Cray was an acquired taste for me as well. That unadorned quack-Strat tone is hard to ignore.

Some folks have reported seeing him with an occasional Telecaster recently and I was looking forward to seeing that because I’ve always thought it would be a great compliment to his approach. It was straight-up Stratocasters all night though and not a single tremolo. I was so amazed by the vocal quality he was pulling from them…every solo was cool as can be.

It was a perfect night for a concert and a wonderful outdoor amphitheater. Today we’re heading upstate to pick some apples at a big orchard and sample some apple cider and apple cider donuts😋
 

nickurso

Gretschified
Dec 24, 2012
11,895
New Orleans la.
Sounds like an enjoyable night out!

I didn't rate Cray as a player(much) when he broke onto the scene.
Now I've matured a bit, I can fully appreciate his playing and no frills clean strat tone. When you look up clean Strat tone in the dictionary you might find his pic there.
Also(since it came up recently), he uses hardtails.

View attachment 190697
I owned one of these Robert cray strays. They were really nice guitars
 

drmilktruck

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Double Platinum Member
May 17, 2009
20,321
Plymouth, MN
I missed him when he was here. I hope he'll come back soon. Love to see him.

It's interesting to compare him to his contemporary SRV. While he was briefly famous in the mid 80s, Cray's mild personality couldn't compete with SRV and his music is more restrained. As a result most casual guitar fans don't know much about him since Smoking Gun. Plus dying young cements your reputation. We never heard recordings of an older Stevie Ray, some of which probably wouldn't have been as good as his existing work. Cray soldiers on, playing smaller venues before loyal fans. Not a bad gig, but he deserves more.
 

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,059
Savannah, GA
Agreed. He is the total package. A really top-drawer songwriter. There is an up-and-coming hotshot blues player who I was friends with several years ago on Facebook. He was feeling a little sorry for himself and asking for advice on why he wasn’t more popular as an artist. My input was and still is learn a lesson from RC.
There are a whole lot of guys again play mean Guitar but can’t write a song that engages an audience. Robert Cray has always understood how to craft a song that brings you right in.
He’s every bit as good as the best blues players at writing, arranging, playing and singing.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,685
Tucson
Agreed. He is the total package. A really top-drawer songwriter. There is an up-and-coming hotshot blues player who I was friends with several years ago on Facebook. He was feeling a little sorry for himself and asking for advice on why he wasn’t more popular as an artist. My input was and still is learn a lesson from RC.
There are a whole lot of guys again play mean Guitar but can’t write a song that engages an audience. Robert Cray has always understood how to craft a song that brings you right in.
He’s every bit as good as the best blues players at writing, arranging, playing and singing.
Packaging a song is a skill, unto itself. One mistake I’ve made, and I am far from alone, is in failing to package songs well. With the exception of Jazz, audiences don’t come to hear you explore the boundaries of a song. People want music served up in reasonably-sized portions.
 

drmilktruck

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Double Platinum Member
May 17, 2009
20,321
Plymouth, MN
With the exception of Jazz, audiences don’t come to hear you explore the boundaries of a song.
And the Jazz audience has been quite small for a long time. To paraphrase PT Barnum, no one went broke because they underestimated the sophistication of the musical market.



Over one billion views!
 

Shock

Synchromatic
Sep 7, 2020
663
Minnesota
Agreed. He is the total package. A really top-drawer songwriter. There is an up-and-coming hotshot blues player who I was friends with several years ago on Facebook. He was feeling a little sorry for himself and asking for advice on why he wasn’t more popular as an artist. My input was and still is learn a lesson from RC.
There are a whole lot of guys again play mean Guitar but can’t write a song that engages an audience. Robert Cray has always understood how to craft a song that brings you right in.
He’s every bit as good as the best blues players at writing, arranging, playing and singing.

For the reasons you mention, the one song from him that always comes to mind for me is It's Because of Me. Very heavy lyrics.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,685
Tucson
And the Jazz audience has been quite small for a long time. To paraphrase PT Barnum, no one went broke because they underestimated the sophistication of the musical market.



Over one billion views!

OMG! That’s the best song ever written. Forget Giant Steps or Scrapple the Apple, Barbie Girl is my new Jazz Everest! :)

Sadly, there is no Jazz audience, to speak of. There are small communities of Jazz aficionados in larger cities, but making a living by playing Jazz is pretty hard to imagine, these days. Sadly, that has the effect of collapsing the pool of available players, as well. I had the good fortune to study with some serious Jazz players, but opportunities to learn in that manner are drying up. I breaks my heart.
 

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,059
Savannah, GA
Yes…just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The opening act was a perfect example. Plenty of talent and musicianship but there was no emotional connection.
The song were full of simplistic platitudes that were played out decades ago and there was just kind of a wash of sound going on the whole time. The attempt was made to be personal but it felt more like the artist was begging the audience for acceptance.
Or maybe I’m just too old or weird to get it?
And the Jazz audience has been quite small for a long time. To paraphrase PT Barnum, no one went broke because they underestimated the sophistication of the musical market.



Over one billion views!

Oh…and I love this song!
 

tartanphantom

Friend of Fred
Jul 30, 2008
6,056
Murfreesboro, TN
Two of my very favorite Robert Cray tunes are both slow ballads.





In fact, I Was Warned is probably my all-time favorite album by him. I'm a big Cray fan and love most of his output, but these two have stuck with me as repeat plays over the years. Great vocal delivery, and lots of killer tasty horn arrangements (courtesy of The Memphis Horns) layered throughout the album over his playing.
 
Last edited:

blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,059
Savannah, GA
Two of my very favorite Robert Cray tunes are both slow ballads.





In fact, I Was Warned is probably my all-time favorite album by him. I'm a big Cray fan and love most of his output, but these two have stuck with me as repeat plays over the years. Great vocal delivery, and lots of killer tasty horn arrangements layered throughout the album over his playing.

Good stuff fo sho. He excels at those slow tempos which are very hard to pull off.
During the show Cray yelled out “take your time” in between some lyric…I think the drummer was rushing the beat a little bit and RC was getting a little hot under the collar🫢
 


Top