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The Robert Cray Band

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Date / Time Location  
Tuesday Mar 10, 2015 7:00PM Royal Oak Music Theatre Royal Oak, MI Buy Tickets More Info

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Robert Cray’s This Time – the first studio album on singer-songwriter-guitarist Cray’s own imprint Nozzle Records, distributed by Vanguard Records – arrives at a vital...

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Robert Cray’s This Time – the first studio album on singer-songwriter-guitarist Cray’s own imprint Nozzle Records, distributed by Vanguard Records – arrives at a vital juncture in the musician’s career, marked by creative renewal and a key reunion with an old performing partner.The five-time Grammy Award winner summarized 35 years of mastery on the debut Nozzle release Live From Across the Pond (2006), an electrifying two-CD concert set drawn from a series of shows (opening for Eric Clapton) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. When the time came to follow up that widely praised collection with a studio recording, Cray viewed it as an opportunity to move his sound in other directions.He found exactly what he was looking for by turning to one of his oldest friends and colleagues: bassist Richard Cousins, whose tenure with the Robert Cray Band began with its barnstorming regional origins in Eugene, Oregon, in 1974 and extended through 1991, encompassing such early high-water marks as Strong Persuader (1986) and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1988), both winners of the best contemporary blues performance Grammy.Cousins’ return to the Cray fold bonds him once again with keyboardist Jim Pugh, a cornerstone of the guitarist’s group since 1989.In the hunt for a new drummer, Cray – with encouragement from Cousins—struck on a musician whose style and experience perfectly complemented his own: the road-tested Tony Braunagel, whose résumé includes work with Bonnie Raitt (including her Grammy-winning Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw), Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’, and B.B. King.As ever with Robert Cray’s undefinable sound, the music on This Time remains stubbornly beyond category. He has been internationally admired as a stylist whose innovations have brought new life to the blues, and such punchy outings as “Chicken in the Kitchen” and “That’s What Keeps Me Rockin’” should satisfy the most demanding blues fans. But the new album’s barrier-busting material – whether it’s the soulful “Love 2009” or the profound balladry of “This Time” and “Forever Goodbye” – demonstrate once again that attempting to slot Cray in a single genre is an exercise in futility.