by Ross CAT

by Ross Cat.
Monday September 25th 

  STRONG PERSUADER…..Western New York is in for a treat as they welcome the ROBERT CRAY BAND who will play a rare club gig on Monday September 26th.  The intimate surroundings of the BEAR’S DEN inside the Seneca Niagara Casino will host the five-time Grammy winner with a full house expected. 
    The sumptuous guitar great and his stellar band which includes Jim Pugh (keyboards), Kevin Hayes (Drums), and Karl Sevareid (Bass) have been on the road all summer sharing the stage with another legend ERIC CLAPTON and will continue to do so into next year. 
  CRAY has been a dominant force within the R & B industry for over three decades; spending most of that time doing what he does best, performing live.  The soulful CRAY and his band are true road warriors spending up to six months a year touring. 
     For those CRAY fans who didn’t cash in on tickets for the show before it sold out, all is not lost.  The ROBERT CRAY BAND has just released its first ever live disc titled LIVE: from across the pond.  The long awaited double disc captures the profound passion that CRAY and company have always exemplified throughout their distinguished career.
     The disc was recorded over a span of seven shows earlier this year at the world renowned Royal Albert Hall and contains many CRAY classics as well as songs from his last studio record “Twenty”. 
   I had the great fortune to share a few moments with ROBERT CRAY to talk about the tour and the new live album.

  R.CAT- Thanks so much ROBERT for taking some time for us here in Buffalo.  Before we get into the new live disc I wanted to touch on the current tour which features some world class talent.  You’ve been sharing the stage with a phenomenal group of guitarist on this tour that includes: ERIC CLAPTON, DEREK TRUCKS, and DOYLE BRAMHALL II.  Tell us about that experience? 

  R.CRAY- We kicked off in May and it really has been great fun.  To play each night with such amazing talent around you is really inspiring as a musician. 

  R.CAT- This must be a very exciting time for you and the band with the release of your first ever live disc?   Your fans have been anticipating this album for years, after listening to it I’m sure they’ll feel it was well worth the wait. 

  R.CRAY- Thanks so much we are very excited.  We’ve made other attempts in the past but in never really came to fruition.  Recording a live show is much more complicated then it sounds.  We had the opportunity at the beginning of the tour to play seven straight nights with CLAPTON at the Royal Albert Hall; that allowed us to choose from the best performances as opposed to getting it right all in one night.  Everything just felt natural instead of rehearsed.  Opening up for a such a great performer like CLAPTON at a prestigious venue we didn’t think about the record button being pushed.  We focused working hard to capture new fans so the recording was just a side bar, it really was all good. 

  R.CAT- With such a vast catalog of great music to choose from tell us how you went about picking the songs for the live album? 

  R.CRAY- What we decided to do is play songs that we where more familiar with over the time that we had been doing this particular live show.  We didn’t try to play anything that we hadn’t done for a while in order to have a great sounding record. 

  R.CAT- Also included in this great set are some new songs like “Poor Johnny”, “I’m Walkin’”, along with the title track from your last studio effort “Twenty”.  Tell us about adding those songs in with the CRAY classics?

  R.CRAY- The album is really a collection of songs with a lot of different kinds of grooves on it so we felt it would fit nicely into the set.  “Poor Johnny” has a Caribbean flavor to it with the cheating man thing going on that seems to be so universal.  “Twenty” came about as just part of what my feeling is as to what is going on over in the Middle East with our soldiers. 

  R.CAT- Lastly ROBERT, the video for “Twenty” is really making some noise at several film festivals around the country, it is being recognized as one of the best videos of the year, it really is an extremely moving portrayal of this war.  You had the opportunity to work with your wife SUE on making this video tell us about that experience?

  R.CRAY- My wife and a very good friend of hers came to one of the shows and heard “Twenty” and thought we should do something special with this song.  I wanted it to be her interpretation of the song, so she contacted an organization called “Eyes Wide Open” (, which is a touring exhibit that illustrates the human cost of the Iraqi War.   The Soldier depicted in the video is an actual soldier named Aidan DelGado who was discharged honorably for being a conscientious objector.  I’m extremely proud of the job my wife did on the video; she was able to give the song a face which helps deliver the message with great potency.

  I would like to thank ROBERT CRAY for his time, as well as Stephanie Kavoulakos at Conqueroo for putting this interview together.
    Be sure check out for tour dates as well as a chance to view the heart-stirring video “Twenty”. 
    The website also offers a chance to win tickets to see ROBERT CRAY on tour with ERIC CLAPTON.  The contest is called the Robert Cray Flyaway and gives fans the opportunity to win a trip to an upcoming show on the current tour. 
  RUNNIN’ DOWN A DREAM….. While TOM PETTY and the Heartbreakers are out on the road celebrating thirty years together; a group of notorious rootsy rockers from Buffalo are set to pay tribute to PETTY in their own special way.   Music Man DONNY TOMASULO (BENHATZEL) who now navigates 107.7 The LAKE across the airwaves will lead the way.   The show will be on Friday September 29th at DESIDERIO’S on Broadway. 
    This grandiose gathering will be the 2nd annual and is being billed as DONNY T and the Bleeding Heartbreakers. Also coming out of Rock and Roll retirement to join D.T. on stage will be current members of the BLEEDING HEARTS David Lloyd, Bill Texido and Tony Blasting.  Rounding out the all-star lineup will be keyboardist Matt (The Cat) Young (formerly TROLLS, currently w/ SCOTT CELANI). 
    This is one party you don’t want to miss.  Come out and help DONNY T celebrate his birthday bash with an evening of PETTY classics performed by a classic group of local musicians. 




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