by William Phoenix

Los Angeles-based Boo Ray is a country-rock roadhouse singer-songwriter and guitarist. His sophomore CD, Sea Of Lights, is full of tuneful tales told from his experience as a traveling troubadour trekking from bar to bar. On this 10 track audio offering Ray leads the way with his guitar and lead vocals.
He is backed by drummer Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), bassist Paul III (Christina Aguilera), guitarist Sol Philcox-Littlefield (Jake Owen), keyboardist Dallas Kruse, pedal steel player Smith Curry (Taylor Swift) and Matt Workman, Betsy Franck, Travis Porterfield, Todd and Troy Gardner and Philcox-Littlefield on background vocals. They cut the album in just two days in live recording sessions. The results are an honest, gritty collection of what Ray really does as a performer.
The album opener is “Redneck Rock and Roll”. It is initially attention-grabbing due to its initial Doors-reminiscent guitar bit that moves into his hot paean to the outlaw country genre. It is quickly followed by the title track which is memorable for its almost classic rock structure that both speaks of his life in L.A. and also musically harkens back to the 1970s.

“Bad News Travel Fast” is unfortunately somewhat overshadowed but it nevertheless serves as yet another example of what Ray can do with his talents. “A Melody, Some Guitars, and A Rhyme” is reminiscent of material by other artists such as James Taylor if you note the chord changes. Still, it quickly followed by the standout track “Chickens” which was an early favorite of the critics.
Ray reflects on his time on the bar circuit in the noteworthy “I Got The Jug”. He takes that into his long haul trucking tune “Keep That Hammer Down” which is yet one more reason why some critics claim this disc could work as a truck-driving soundtrack. He then switches gears with his countrified cover of Hot Chocolate’s “Emmaline”.

Before he wraps up the show though we get “One More Round” which is perfectly placed prior to the closing cut “Johnny’s Tavern”. It’s an apt album endnote to a work that is more than your basic outlaw country music. Indeed, it actually fairly reflects on his roots and the present day challenge of making it in California. So check out Boo Ray’s Sea Of Lights. It might just put you in the musical mood for “One More Round.”

“Sea Of Lights”



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