The Robert Cray Band

Wednesday, September 3; the Pageant

Though some of you may know him best as the bass player for Otis Day and the Knights in National Lampoon's Animal House, Robert Cray is also the musical horticulturist who's been grafting new branches onto the tree of blues, soul and R&B for over 30 years. In doing so, he has broadened the scope of modern American roots music and raised the bar for every blues musician in need of a wake-up call and a swift boot to the ass for God knows how long. Along with possessing a dulcet vocal timbre, Cray fleshes out his immaculate sense of bounce on the fretboard of his trusted Stratocaster, an instrument whose action and subsequent tonality are renowned for being easy like Sunday morning. When he hits one of those chromatic passages with such a formidably fluid pairing of instruments, you can't help but jut the lips and hindquarters straight to your fore and aft, respectively.

On his most recent full-length, Time Will Tell, Cray and his backing band of nearly fifteen years blend the tried-and-true textures of the blues/soul/R&B admixture with fresh guitar sounds and expansive melodic figures. Together the seasoned musicians create a fully-matured vintage that once again proves the blues don't always have to be the same old shit.

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