Mission: TO DELIVER A RIP-ROARING FRESH NEW COUNTRY SOUND ACROSS THE UK
I have been working at Bristol Old Vic Theatre for nearly a year now and in that time I have got to know some of the staff a lot better. We don’t get a lot of time to chat before the shows start so it took me a while to find out that Stewie, who recently took part in The Spiralling Exhibition 001 and Cameron are in a band together called Red Ray.
Hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Ray (lead singer) was the original catalyst for the band. He had been performing for a number of years, even winning the Bristol regional finals of Open Mic UK in 2011 as a solo artist. It was at university that he met Cameron (lead guitarist and harmonies/backing vocals). Cam has played for a packed audience at the London Palladium for their 100th anniversary of ‘Sunday night at the Palladium’ in 2010 with The Beatles tribute band. After living in London together and performing as a duo at numerous dingy clubs, smoke filled pubs, and with debt up to their eyeballs, they decided to re-locate to Bristol and it’s vibrant music scene.
From March 2014 Stewie joined the band and added some “funky new rolling bass lines to give the country music that sharp indie edge.” The newest addition is the drummer, Giuseppe La Rezza all the way from Naples, Italy who “has an unrivalled technical skill, the envy of many a percussionist.” The band describes their sound as alternative country and they take inspiration from “the Outlaw country movement. Cash, Jennings, Yoakham. With maybe a sprinkling of Modest Mouse to modernize the pie.”
They played their first gig at the Slaughtered Lamb in London on a Sunday “It was a pretty tough crowd, but it didn’t stop us.” Red Ray managed to record and release their first album all on their lonesome, “Well with a little help from our friends too. It’s called ‘Red Ray – One For The Road’ Check it out its on Itunes, Spotify, Google Play, the works.”
When I asked the band why they perform they answered, “The question is, why is everyone else not playing in a Country band? We can honestly say every gig we play is a frantic yet fantastically fun experience. Not to mention the occasional free booze! It’s tough playing music, when your gran asks ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ It’s never the answer she wants, going along the lines of: ‘get drunk and play Country’. That’s the first step to enlightenment we think, why not enjoy ourselves on the ride.”
Despite this care free attitude, the band are aware that very few musicians these days pay for their bread and butter just playing music. “All four of us work a variety of jobs during the day (from Theatre to the NHS), play late night gigs (have a few beers) and then are straight into work the following morning. Those early starts are always interesting.”
Recently Red Ray won the competition ‘Musicians on the Run’ based in Bedminster, Bristol. “The competition consists of 20 musicians performing three songs at each venue then running flat out to the next place. After a grueling four hours we were unsure how successful we had been. Turns out pretty successful! Later that night we had another full gig at the old bookshop. Then we died.”
Coming up at the end of October, Red Ray are recording their new single “Fairly Average Brown” at the renowned Toybox Studios. “In November we are shooting the music video to match, get in touch if you want to get involved in our video! Our new album is set to release Mid 2016.”