Robert Cray (born August 9, 1953 in Columbus, Georgia) is a blues musician, guitarist and singer.
Multi-talented Robert Cray is an artist of considerable scope. Considered to be one of the most expressive vocalists and impressive guitarists on the contemporary rhythm and Blues scene, Robert Cray draws R & B, rock, pop, and jazz with equal insight and authority.
Cray grew up listening to his mother and father’s O.V. Wright, Ray Charles and gospel records, but he is also a child of the late 60s and early ‘70s, so there is almost a psychedelic rock feel to some of his work.
The Robert Cray Band was born in the north west of America in 1974 and is now celebrating 21 years in the business. During those years Cray has achieved no less than six Grammy nominations and three awards, obtaining the universal respect and admiration of musicians and audiences alike.
In the early 1980s the Robert Cray Band moved from Portland to Seattle and San Francisco and began to build up the impressive credentials they hold today.
The band’s debut record, Who’s Been Talking, was released in 1980 and Cray’s sound began to spread. In 1983 the band’s first national tour saw them share the stage with the “Kings of the Boogie”, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon. At the same time, the Cray Band was taken under the wings of the legendary Chicago guitarist, Muddy Waters, who introduced them as his opening act.
The 1985 release, False Accusations, made Newsweek’s Top Ten LP picks and reigned as number one on the US and UK charts. The release of Showdown! in 1985 featured Cray performing alongside guitarists Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. The success of this record yielded all three a Grammy. Indeed the following five Robert Cray Band releases were either Grammy winners or nominees.
Strong Persuader (1986), a debut production on the Mercury Label, took the band to platinum sales and put Robert Cray’s face on the cover of magazines such as Rolling Stone. Also in 1986, rock artist Keith Richards invited Cray to perform in “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, the concert and film tribute to Chuck Berry. Richards and Cray worked together again in 1991 at the Guitar Legends concerts in Seville and on the 1994 Rolling Stone's Hodoo U Voodoo pay-per-view broadcast.
In 1987 rock artist Eric Clapton covered Cray’s “Bad Influence” on August and then invited Cray to play on Journeyman and 24 Nights. Together they wrote “Old Love”, which featured on the Grammy-winning 1992 Unplugged disc.
During the late 80’s Cray appeared in Tina Turner’s “Break Every Rule”, the international television special and home video which yielded two duet tracks on her Grammy-winning 1988 Live in Europe.
Robert Cray has entered the 1990s with very impressive credentials. His first three 1990 releases were Midnight Stroll (1990); I was Warned (1992) and Shame and a Sin (1993). On Shame and a Sin, Cray invited the now-deceased Albert Collins to be the first guest guitarist to appear on a Cray Band Project. Cray has been involved with other music collaborations during his career, appearing on John Lee Hooker's hit releases, “The Healer”, “Mr. Lucky” and “Boom Boom” and in 1993, Cray worked alongside B.B. King on Blues Summit.