Around the smokey campfire of the roots blues you find drifters and story tellers huddled close together on a cold night drinkin’ whiskey from the bottle or at best with a paper cup and regaling each other with songs and tales of mistaken choices and loves lost; Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bob Dylan come to mind. Ray Bonneville belongs there too. Born in Canada, he grew up in Boston, served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, worked as cab driver back in Boston, and then set out on the road in the seventies playin’ small clubs all across North America. He was good enough as a musician and singer to appear on stage as the opening act for Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Dr. John. Like Dylan, he can be a one man band with his guitar, harmonica, and a rhythmic tappin’ foot.
Over the years, Ray has released eight albums and several have won him awards and critical acclaim. His latest, At King Electric, was recorded in Austin, the natural home of the roots blues. It is blues at its dark loneliest Americana roots with songs of addiction, Codeine, and eternal drifting, Forever Gone. The tune, Make a Hole In You, will indeed cut you to the core and South of the Blues takes you to a place where the downtrodden and forlorn can lose themselves.
Ray is a fantastic songwriter and the imagery he invokes will probe deep into your soul. And the music is just……well …I encourage you download the album for yourself and find out. Few albums I have heard over the last several years have grabbed me like this one. From the deepest darkest places the blues can go, Ray has lifted up haunting portraits of misfortune, desolation, and emptiness that accompany all of us at one time or another on our lifetime journey….they are beautiful works of art and worthy of your time and attention.
Ray Bonneville – At King Electric (2018 Stonefly Records)