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Index of Artists

Ray Bonneville

Biography:

Ray Bonneville calls himself a North American. His last 30 years have been spent absorbing life, playing music, and traveling all over the US, Canada, and Europe, but his dual citizenship recently settled into a seasonal migration that suits him fine: summers in a Montreal apartment and winters in an old house in Cotter, Arkansas, within walking distance of the White river, very good trout water. When Bonneville isn't on the road - a third home for him after all these years - those two havens are the place where he stays connected to the music that inspires him.

"When I first heard good blues and country music, I felt a tremendous excitement, and I somehow knew right then what I'd do with my life," says Bonneville, remembering his introduction to roots music in Boston in the mid 1960s and early seventies. Over the next decade, Bonneville honed his craft in Colorado and Alaska, then moved between Seattle, New Orleans, and Paris France in the 1980s.

"I remember playing in Memphis Slim's club in the heart of Paris in the early eighties," says Bonneville. "I'd show up for the gig at four in the morning after doing another show across town. The place would be full and jumping at that time of the night. Memphis Slim was often there, as were other jazz and blues players, and a whole slew of late night characters from all kinds of places. After the show I'd take a taxi back to my flat around eight in the morning in the full on Paris rush hour traffic".

In the streets and clubs of New Orleans, Bonneville soaked up the prevalent take-your-time attitude that ran through the music being played there. "There were so many great drummers to learn groove and time from, not to mention the piano and guitar players, and man, the singers and horn players too! This was the place that influenced me the most," he says. "It was infectious. In New Orleans, you learn that solid rhythm is like a tightrope on which the notes can do their dance."

Although he has absorbed many influences, Bonneville's musical cocktail is all his own. Well-formed and cohesive, it sits in a tremendously powerful groove. For his highly percussive electric guitar sound, Ray uses his index finger, his thumb, the back end of his hand, sometimes a slide, and a Fender tube amp. His weathered, story-telling vocals are recognizable anywhere, and his intricate but understated rack harmonica playing comes right from the gut. To add another layer of rhythm, Bonneville brings his foot down on an amplified piece of plywood on the floor. The result is a big sound with an almost primitive quality and a lot of forward momentum. It's visceral, bluesy, and aimed at the belt.

Says Bonneville; "I'm simply in love with playing live music. It's the time and place where I really live, where I feel the most happy and alive. When a show is over, I just want to get on down the road to the next one, always looking to get back onto another stage and do it again. I write the songs as they come to me, without predictability or in any set way. They come from real life mostly, snapshots of emotions and feelings lived, and the recall of observations of things gone by along the way. I'm forever looking to write another song, find another groove."

Ray won the prestigious Juno award in Canada in 1999, the Canadian equivalent of the American Grammy, for his third album Gust of Wind. His fourth release, Rough Luck, was also nominated for the coveted award. Ray's newest recording, Roll it Down, is due out in the spring of 2003. It's his fifth recording of original songs, and is co-produced with Colin Linden and Rob Heaney. About the new release, Ray says, " We made this record over the last year and a half, in Montreal and Nashville. These songs have been with me for a while, and I'm thrilled they've found their home on this record. Right after a tour with percussionist and friend Geoff Arsenault, we went into the studio and laid down several tracks, and that's how this project was born ".

Roll It Down

Roll It Down
SPCD 1285
Genre: Roots
Released: May 2004
  1. Tomorrow's Yesterday
  2. Under The Bridge
  3. July Sun
  4. Oxford Town
  5. Roll It Down (Listen to mp3 clip)
  6. Walk With Me
  7. Tip Toe Spider
  8. Slow Matin
  9. Who's Talking To Me
  10. Stand Real Still
  11. You Know What I Mean
  12. I Been A Train

Gust Of Wind

Gust Of Wind
SPCD 1256
Genre: S/S

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  1. Don't Look Back (4:40)
  2. Gust of Wind (4:40)
  3. That's Why (3:18)
  4. Oh, It's You (4:51)
  5. The Price to Pay (4:21)
  6. Canary Yellow Car (3:18)
  7. Foolish (3:28)
  8. Gone Too Long (3:37)
  9. Listen (3:50)
  10. The Changing Sky (4:37)
  11. Darlin' Don't Forget (2:54)
This disc is no longer available to order physically.
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