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      The Robert Cray Band in State College


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      September 29, 2019

      Sunday   8:00 PM

      130 West College Avenue
      State College, Pennsylvania 16801

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      EVENT DETAILS
      The Robert Cray Band

      Pricing: Premium Orchestra- $61.50 (includes fee); Orchestra & Balcony- $56.50 (includes fee)

      Member Sale: Monday, May 20th at noon EST
      Public Sale: Friday, May 24th at noon EST

      To gain access to pre-sale ticketing periods, become a Member of The State Theatre!

      This is a reserved seating show. To purchase a ticket, click the button below.


      Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades. He has five Grammy wins, is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee, a recipient of the Americana Lifetime achievement award, and has completed countless tours and recorded over 20 acclaimed albums.  Growing up in the Northwest, Robert Cray listened to the gospel of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Bobby Bland’s soul, Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar and the Beatles pop sounds. He would bring all the influences into play throughout his career, but his teenage band was captivated by Southern Soul and the blues.

      The glow of a career in music began when Cray was a teen, and in 1974 it burst into flames as the Robert Cray Band came together in Eugene, Oregon. With the group’s 1980 debut release, Who’s Been Talkin’, word about the Cray Band began to spread across the Northwest and down into California. Playing packed bars and roadhouses the Cray Band was thrilling. Blues and soul fans showed up religiously, but those steamy raucous sets also drew crowds whose tastes in music ranged from rock to funk and jazz. Among the Cray Band admirers were other musicians. John Lee Hooker put his appreciation into action. “The first time we played with Hooker was in Montana. We were opening the set and he was playing solo,” Cray recalls. “We’d never met him before, but he just walked on stage and started playing with us. We dug the hell out of the guy, and after that we were friends.” The Cray Band’s next two releases – Bad Influence and False Accusations – charted, taking the four-piece’s sound across the airways and abroad.

      It was the sounds of the blues and soul that first drew attention from artists in the rock arena. In an interview Eric Clapton gives his initial response to Robert Cray saying, “As a blues fan, we’re saved.” The Cray Band’s beginnings did bring the sounds of its mentors into the mainstream, even taking the music of John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Albert Collins to a larger, younger audience. With the 1986 release of Strong Persuader the Cray Band’s tunes were put in heavy rotation on mega rock stations across the nation

      Following the path of fame taken by blues-based rockers like Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cray became a sensation, leading his band in concerts at large arenas and major music festivals. He was the first African American artist since Jimi Hendrix to rise to such fame in rock music.

      Clapton’s admiration for Cray led to a writing collaboration on the hit “Old Love,” which featured Cray on guitar. A call came from Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards who asked him to be in the film he and Steve Jordan were producing about the rock guitarist Chuck Berry, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Concert footage in the film features Richards, Jordan, Clapton, Julian Lennon, Linda Ronstadt and Etta James. Cray performs “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” with Berry. Cray also performed on the Tina Turner TV special “Break Every Rule.” During the 90s the Cray Band was featured in concert with artists like Clapton, the Stones, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Bonnie Raitt, who declared that the band leader is “an original; he’s passionate, he’s a bad ass and puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see.”

      Amidst these accolades, soaring record sales and a packed touring schedule the Cray Band recorded six CDs in the 90s. Cray produced Shame + A Sin, which referenced his blues roots, in 1993. It was followed by two more self-produced recordings, Some Rainy Morning and Sweet Potato Pie. Recorded in Memphis and featuring the famed Memphis Horns Sweet Potato Pie was the Cray Band’s most soulful album to date. The next recording Take Off Your Shoes delved even deeper into Memphis sounds of the 60s.

      Take Your Shoes Off won a Grammy in 2000. In the next decade the Cray Band recorded seven CDs, three of them live, and two – Twenty and This Time – were nominated for Grammys. The group’s most recent recordings, Nothing But Love and In My Soul put the band back on the Billboard Charts.  Cray’s latest record, also produced by Jordan is called “Robert Cray with Hi Rhythm” and was recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis with the famous Hi Rhythm section. While the present tour is with Cray’s current band (The Robert Cray Band) and NOT Hi Rhythm, Robert will perform occasionally at select special shows with Jordan and Hi Rhythm.

      Categories: Performing Arts

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