Over the past four decades, Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B. He has released more than 20 acclaimed albums and won 5 Grammy awards.
“B.B. King is very influential [to me] being that he's a guitar player and I think that he's the father of electric blues. I've stolen a lot of his tricks,” Robert says.
“I'm also a fan of somebody from the opposite end of the spectrum on guitar, Jimi Hendrix. I think his influence on me was just to keep an open mind. He was very influenced by soul music, which I am as well and of course he liked to rock.
“I like singers. I like Otis Redding, who really poured his heart and soul into what he did. Another one of my favourite singers is O. V. Wright, who can take a ballad and squeeze it for all it's worth and make you feel it.”
Robert Cray has been releasing music since the 1980s. “I don't think the process has changed. I do some work before going into the studio, and also receive some material from producers or other members of the band that I've worked with over the years.
"We go into the studio with that and let everybody have input on how to direct the song. Which I think makes the music come across a lot better, instead of being strict,” Robert says.
“We try to perform almost every thing that we've recorded live. We don't travel with a horn section, but we'll still perform songs that had horns on the record. We don't travel with a strings section, but we can pull strings out of one of the keyboard instruments on stage and we do that quite a bit.”
Robert says his favourite thing about performing live is: “Trying to do something different with songs you already know. The next time you play that song it shouldn't sound like the last time you played it. And that's what we always strive to do.”
It's been a while since Robert last visited Australia. “Five years ago is what I've been told. I'm looking forward to it, I like coming down and playing for people that I haven't played for in a while.
"And we've always had good fans [in Australia] over the years. I like travelling. I like going to different places, and it's in my blood [performing].”
2018 is going to be a busy year for the Robert Cray Band. “We're not working on a project, but I am hoping that we can go into the studio in the latter part of this year. But we do have a lot more touring to do first. We'll be going to the UK and Europe later on this year.”
Robert Cray Band Tour DatesWed 16 May – Enmore Theatre (Sydney)
Thu 17 May – Croxton Bandroom (Melbourne)
Fri 18 May – The Gov (Adelaide)
Sun 20 May – Blues On Broadbeach (Gold Coast)