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About The Artist
Music has always been a part of Michael Ray’s life. He started playing the harmonica at age 8. By 12, he was playing the guitar. The blues were always his style of choice, but his interest in hip-hop led him to release a rap album while still in high school. These days, he’s back to the blues and fostering a local draw. He released his second EP—and first studio record—”Dope” in 2017 at the Torch Club.
The Dope EP is a mostly stripped-down version of Ray’s bluesy sound. His prior release, Live at the Old I, was a live recording with only him and his guitar. Dope has some instruments layered in, but it’s still quite low-key, with an unexpectedly upbeat sound. Despite the darkness of the lyrics, there’s a punchy pop energy behind Ray’s intimate guitar-strumming style and conversational singing.
As clearly as Ray’s blues influences are, he never sounds like a parody of someone playing Delta blues or a corny copy of Muddy Waters. The stronger pop elements and bouncy soulful grooves give it a modern flair. Plus, he crams more words into his tunes than is typical for the genre. Ray attributes this to his hip-hop background.