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Robert Cray Q and A

Staff Reports

Robert Cray, prolific album producer and mainstay of the genre, answers a few questions about his history, Blues, and his musical efforts.How did you get your start in music?Well, we started the band in ’74 as a quartet wanting to play Blues and R&B, which was something that fascinated us from high school days. We came down from Tacoma, Washington to Eugene, Oregon to start the band. And I was just enamored with Blues and R&B singers at that particular time. Although I have grown up listening to a lot of other kinds of music: gospel, rock and roll, pop, soul and everything like that, which, also, I think plays a big part in our writing these days.Were there any particular artists that you were especially inspired by growing up?When we first started the band, we wanted to emulate people like Albert Collins, B.B. King and Buddy Guy, those type singers.How has Blues music changed since you started performing and recording?Well, it’s changed in a lot of ways because there weren’t that many places to play when we first started. And now, all across the country, a lot of the clubs and whatnot are having more shows and a tour like ours is generating even bigger venues. And, there are more Blues societies and Blues festivals across the country.What inspires you when you write music?What I like about the music we play is the personalness if that’s a word. I like the soulfulness, I like the honesty in a lot of slow songs. Particularly in ballads, songs about relationships, whether they be mine or somebody else’s or something that’s made up. I’ve always liked real emotional music. On occasion there’s a little fun here and there, but that’s what’s drawn me to this kind of music and the kind of music that I like listening to. When somebody’s pouring their soul into something, it grabs me.Does writing come easily to you?No (laughs). I do it when I get a good idea. But it’s always difficult trying to write something especially if you’re trying to write something that’s personal. You want to make sure you get it right if you’re gonna tell something that’s personal.Do you have a favorite song to perform?Lately it’s been ‘Time Makes Two,’ which is from the current record.What is it that you like about it?The emotion. We play it really slow, and, you know, it’s dramatic. I’m a drama king.Do you try to adapt your music to musical trends?No. You won’t hear us doing any rap.Robert Cray performs with Buddy Guy at the Ford Amphitheater Aug. 20. Tickets are $53 for reserved seats and $32 for the lawn section. For more information see vvf.org or call (970) 845-TIXS(8497) or toll free 1.888.920.ARTS (2787)Interview by Kate Marshall


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