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«Like gunpowder & opium!»
Sunday, 15.12.2013, 20:20
oh what a night...
Ray Bonneville (USA)
The woman ran up to James Joyce with teary eyes because she wanted to shake the hand that wrote «Finnegan's Wake». «But Madam», the great man replied «This hand has done other things as well.......» (Jimmy, you rascal you). Anyway, we like modesty in a guy but when it comes to the hands of Ray Bonneville, it sure sounds like they have never done anything but play the guitar.
His current album is «Bad Man's Blood» and the sticker on it informs «Like gunpowder & opium!». (Whichever you prefer and if you already have this album, come spring is when his new one will hit the stands.) He's one of the true still living titans of the blues guitar and he plays a layering, harddriving and spectacular offspring of this form of art. He was born in Hull, Quebec but grew in the Boston area when his family moved South when he was still a kid. Compare him to John Lee Hooker, J.J. Cale (R.I.P., what a horrible year this turned out to be) and Eric Clapton and he'll hold up pretty well. Especially to the latter, if you agree that innovative riffs are more of an indication of greatness than flawless and polished interpretations, like Old Slowhand is famous for. Ray's take on the blues is a little scratchier, a little dirtier, a little greasier - just like life is and he's on to a truer reflection of it.

And what a life it has been for him so far, he annually plays over a 150 concerts all over the world to a fanatically loyal fanbase that loves him for his soulful guitar and his loose and smokey vocal style. Solo, his multi-layered style comes in rich and dramatic and it overwhelms you like a fullflegded band. Over time, he's shared the stage with B.B.King, Muddy Waters, J.J.Cale, Robert Cray and Dr. John.

Ray was already 41 when he started to write songs and when he was asked what took him so long he said «I don't know but I only spoke French until I was 12 years old...and then maybe it took awhile to feel the nuance of the English language». He sure made up for a slow learning curve with a song about the resilience of post-Katrina New Orleans «I'm the Big Easy» which was the most played song by North American folk dj's in 2009 and in 2012 by taking first place in the International Blues Challenge - in Memphis, no less.

Wiry and acerbic Ray Bonneville is a stout survivor in a tough business in which performing on the road is one merciless teacher. He'll bring a life full of experiences on to the pine of our stage which boasts a colorful history of its own. Yep, he sure is going to add to it with «gunpowder and opium». When was the last time you indulged in either?
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