An Evening with the Robert Cray Band

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Robert Cray and his band return to the Riverwalk Center stage on July 17, following his sold out show in Breckenridge in 2015.

“We are excited to welcome him back,” says BMF Executive Director Tamara Park. “In our 2016 survey, we heard that the community wants more R&B, and so we are responding by bringing back a legend.”

Cray has had a rich and illustrious career, bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. Four years ago Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

For his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (April 28 / Jay-Vee Records), the band traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm at the legendary Royal Studios.

Just last month, Cray appeared on the Conan O’Brien Show and gave a performance of “You Must Believe In Yourself” from this album.

The album includes both soulful love tunes and songs about unrequited love. It begins with a rendition of Bill Withers “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.” Some of Cray's original tracks on the album include “You Had My Heart” and “The Way We Are.” He breaks up the love songs with a politically charged original, "Just How Low," a song he believes was necessary in a time of turmoil. Robert also chose two Tony Joe White songs for the album, and when Robert chose them, White came up from Nashville to sit in. First up is the moving ballad “Aspen, Colorado” (the sister song of his “Rainy Night in Georgia”). The other end of the spectrum is the swirling psychedelia of “Don’t Steal My Love.”

“Robert is a great person besides an extraordinary talent,” says Steve. “People gravitate to his guitar playing first, but I think he’s one of the best singers I’ve heard in my life. Not only because of his singing ability, but his interpretations. He’s an honest soul.”

Cray's musical beginnings go back to when Cray was in high school, but it wasn’t until he was twenty years old and had seen Albert Collins, Freddie King and Muddy Waters in concert and decided to form his own band; they traveled up and down the West Coast, playing college towns. Just one year later, while Cray was living in Eugene, Oregon, The Robert Cray Band was officially formed.

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 has brought all of these influences into play throughout his impressive career.

For the complete Blue River Series schedule, visit breckenridgemusicfestival.com

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