(New York, NY, March 14, 2012) Five-time Grammy award winning legend and Blues Hall of Fame Inductee Robert Cray heads into the studio this month to record a new album scheduled for release later this year. Producing for the multimillion selling Cray will be famed rock producer Kevin Shirley (Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa, Black Crowes, Rush).
“I’m really enthusiastic about collaborating with Kevin, says Cray, “he’s done some amazing work in the past and I like the direction we’re taking for this album.” Adds Shirley, “What an absolute honor to work with Robert Cray. I’ve been a fan since Strong Persuader and he is such an extraordinary talent – it’s really such a treat for me! My goal and challenge with this record, is to tap into the edgy vitality and spontaneity of a live Robert Cray performance, and wrap it up as a studio recording, with a big Blues bow! ”
This will be the 21st release for rock/blues icon Cray since he first arrived on the scene with Who’s Been Talkin’ before quickly hitting the Billboard Top 20 with the album Strong Persuader (a moniker quickly given Cray) featuring the smash single Smoking Gun. Recently President Obama was credited in having “pulled a Robert Cray”- being a “strong persuader” when it came to touting his healthcare reforms.
Since the release of Smoking Gun, Cray went on to collaborate, perform and befriend some of the world’s greatest blues guitarists including Albert Collins, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. Cray continues to perform with Clapton, taking the stage at his annual Crossroads concert. In addition to Clapton and King, Cray has written for Tony Bennett and worked with an array of artists from Tina Turner, Keith Richards, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry and Bonnie Raitt to name a few.
The New York Times says, “his voice, alternately smooth and craggy, is often richer and more emotive than Mr. Clapton’s, and he knows the best ways to use it,” while Guitar Player Magazine says, “Robert Cray is not only making great music he’s making history…”
Cray’s new album will be released on the internationally renowned Mascot Label Group. “I am very proud to add the legendary Robert Cray to the Provogue roster,” says Label President Ed van Zijl, “Not only is Robert an artist of the highest caliber, he has worldwide name recognition that garners a tremendous amount of respect. We are honored and dedicated to deliver a campaign worthy of Robert’s talent.”
Never content with interpreting his music the same way twice, Cray’s daring innovations have placed him at the top of the business – breaking through the pop ceiling with his gate crashing/blues-edged/Grammy-winning trademark sound and distinct style that has become a signature blend of rhythm and blues, pop, rock, soul and traditional blues, helping introduce old and new fans to a more contemporary blues sound.
He has his own signature line of Fender Guitars and just last year (still in his fifties) was, according to the Blues Foundation, one of the youngest ’living legends” to be inducted into the 2011 Blues Hall of Fame!
Since the release of his last studio album, the Grammy nominated This Time (2009) and his live album Cookin’ in Mobile (2010), Robert Cray has been touring extensively with The Robert Cray Band, performing on various TV shows including Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The Robert Cray Band features childhood friend and bassist Richard Cousins, longtime Cray band member and keyboardist Jim Pugh, and drummer Tony Braunagel who joined the band in 2007.
Cray has received 5 Grammys, 15 Grammy nominations, and has performed thousands of sold-out shows worldwide. He made his film debut performing in the classic National Lampoon’s Animal House and was featured in Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues series. He has appeared in Tina Turner’s TV special Break Every Rule, the Chuck Berry tribute Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Rolling Stones’ pay-per-view video Voodoo Lounge.
Guitar Messenger Interview (2007)
Robert Cray – Official Website
Mascot Label Group – Official Website