Notorious Albums

Notorious Albums

I've played on a LOT of stuff over the years; so much that I've forgotten a lot of it! This section is an attempt to rekindle the memories of those special projects. I'll be adding things as they come to mind and as I see fit to feature them. And in the future I'm going to keep up with those things that I've completed.

Ernest Lane Born With The Blues

Musicians

  • Ernest Lane - Piano, Vocals
  • ? - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Leo Dombecki, Paulie Cerra - Sax
  • Mackinley "Mack" Johnson - Trumpet
  • Bill Ray - Drums

Released 2006

Note: Please let me know who played bass on this recording.

Ernest Lane was the pianist who played with Ike Turner and was his oldest childhood friend. They grew up together in Clarksdale, MS and maintained that friendship all the way to the very end.

The stories that they would tell were hilarious mostly, some dark and incredulous. It was always fun to sit around and listen to them argue too. Lane always kept $500 on him, as he would occasionally come out with "Ike Turner, here's your $500 from such & such"...some long ago debt that he wouldn't let go, and Ike would never thak the money. Or if he did take it would give it back a little while later. Those guys...

We recorded this album in about 2006 up in Los Angeles at Leon Heywood's place off Crenshaw. It was funky through & through. The room we tracked in was the scene of many great albums. One of my heroes James Gadson had tracked in that room so for me it was a spiritual experience.

On another note, I also did the album cover for this; it was my first attempt and I since learned a lot about design and layout. One has to start somewhere!

Ryan Montana Electric Picture Show

Musicians

  • Ryan Montana - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
  • Leo Dombecki - Piano, Keys
  • Kevin Cooper - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Bill Ray - Drums, tape dispenser
  • Todd Gunnerson - Engineer

Released 2006

This album holds dear to my heart on a number of levels. For starters, the band consisted of the younger set of the Ike Turner group; The Kings of Rhythm. Also I was in the thick of my divorce and there were a ton of emotions floating around.

Every day I would go to the studio if not just for something to do. The "studio" was actually a palatial residence up in the hills of Del Mar, CA. We tracked everything live in the "Great Room" and even had one of those outdoor canopies that we draped with packing blankets and surrounded with plexiglass as a sort of makeshift iso booth (hey, it worked).

earl thomas and the kings of rhythm - live in san francisco

Musicians

  • Earl Thomas - Vocals
  • Ryan Montana, Leo Dombecki - Saxophone
  • Armando Marcos Cepeda - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Paul Smith - Keys
  • Bill Ray - Drums

Released 2010

Ah, Earl Thomas & The Kings of Rhythm. The "band that is like a solar eclipse; rarely seen but when you do it's always interesting". We've had many good times together. In the Spring of 2010 we did a full tour of the UK with the legendary John Mostyn as our tour manager, then in the summer of that year made a full tour of Italy and Sardinia. What a total blast that was!

From about mid 2009 to the early part of 2010 we were doing every last Saturday of the moth at the great blues venue Biscuits & Blues located on Mason & Geary streets in the heart of The City by the Bay. So we decided to record an album.

This album taught me a lot. A lot about life, about people and also about business; As I mentioned "It's always interesting to see what happens. So as a result this is one of the more "Interesting" albums I've been involved with. I hope it somehow becomes a cult classic and sells a bajillion copies.

Wait until you hear the Ike & Tina "American Songbook" collection we recorded over the Fall of 2012. It's gonna be siiiiick!

Jamie Varley You Ride

Musicians

  • Jamie Varley - Vocals
  • Leo Dombecki and Jeremy Miller - Piano, Keys
  • Nick Melucci - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Bill Ray - Drums
  • Todd Gunnerson - Engineer

Released 2006

There's some albums that never get heard by enough people, and I feel that this is definitely one of them. If I had to narrow down my favorite personal works, this would be in the top 3. It's a very accurate representation of not just my playing but also personality.

I knew Jamie through the connection we had at SOTA Music in Del Mar. Back in 2005 when we recorded the Ryan Montana CD Jamie heard it and asked me to play on his stuff. And that's how that got started.

I remember showing up the first morning we recorded and it was cold out; I was still half asleep because of the gig I did the night before but a little bit of coffee remedied that. The first thing I cut with him was the song "Flooded Heart". I gave it a cursory listen and then we were off and running!

I remember this music was so easy and intuitive to feel and to play. It was a completely natural process and were Jamie ever to call me for a gig I'm certain we would have a great sense of communion on stage.

The two songs I have chosen are significant; "Runaways" was the first song I heard when I received my copy of the CD and was completely floored. "Slow" is just epic all the way to the "sideways" drumfill at the end of the tune. I just love love LOVE the harmonies on the vocals. Jamie Varley is a talented cat. I'm proud to have played on this.

sheila sondergard- spoke too loud

Musicians

  • Sheila Sondergard - Vocals, Guitar
  • Jeremy Miller - Keys
  • Sean Martin - Guitar
  • Jason Littlefield - Bass
  • Bill Ray - Drums
  • Sven-Erik Seaholm - Production
  • John Hancock - Album Photography

Released 2008

Through my involvement with the Jamband known as Tubby I began working for other artists under the Barfly Promotions banner. Shawn Balch, a highly respected and regarded promoter in San Diego knows many great musicians through the shows he organizes and he brought us all together for a "hand-picked" foray into Sheila Sondergard, a singer/guitarist/awesome person whom he manages.

We began rehearsing for the sessions at Shawn's apartment in Mission Beach, CA. Tiny amps were the rule and I brought only a snare drum and brushes; the idea was to feel out the corners and nuance of the music. We really approached it as if it were a Jazz singer's album; Sheila is "small but mighty" but still it's good to play in the lower dynamic as to really get a sense for where her music comes from. More bands should relegate at least two practices like this to their preparation work; it's much easier to think and assess things when you are out of the "normal" band environment.

We started tracking at Sven Erik Seaholm's Kitsch -n- Sync studio and the songs just sort of flew together. When you've got the right ingredients, great things happen. Sven captured the rhythm tracks perfectly. Chuck Prada and Jeremy Miller came in and laid their parts after Sean, Jason and myself then Sheila went in and sang over the tracks. I'm really proud of this album too. It was at a point of my life where a lot of bad energy was being cast aside and a new rebirth if you will was taking place. It was also the first recording session my son attended with me and he sat right beside me as we were tracking "Spoke Too Loud".

larry robinson - cadillac and trailer

Musicians

  • Larry Robinson - Vocals, Guitar
  • John Foltz and Wolfgang Grasekamp - Keys
  • Chris “Sully” Sullivan - Bass
  • Bill Ray and Larry Grano - Drums
  • Tony Dean - Guitar
  • David Berzansky - Steel Guitar

Released 2012

I don't get the opportunity to play Country music nearly enough. Being a native Mississippian would dictate a certain level of appreciation for the idiom. So when I got the call to play on this gem of an album I was like "Yesssss!!".

I first met Larry Robinson back in 1995 as we were both sidemen in another artist's band. His easygoing demeanor and smooth voice coupled with his absolutely wonderful spirit made "hitching up to his musical wagon" a total joy.

We went in to Kitsch -n- Sync (Sven Erik Seaholm's place) and recorded this disc in 2011 and it was released in early 2012. It's total Country Americana through and through.

The Wild Truth

Musicians

  • Sven-Erik Seaholm - Vocals, Guitar
  • Charlie Loach - Guitars
  • David Ybarra - Bass
  • Bill Ray - Drums

Released 2005

In 2004, having gone through a big breakup and gargantuan personal struggles I was on track to make a 180º turn and leave this business of music in the rearview. My longtime friend Sven-Erik Seaholm pretty much called me daily until I agreed to come over and begin playing this music.

And so we did. With Charlie Loach on guitar and David Ybarra on bass we worked up the tunes, played a few gigs and tracked the album for posterity. It's a great slice of Americana and the music stands up strong.

bastard sons of johnny cash - walk alone

Musicians

  • Mark Stuart - Vocals, Guitar
  • Alex Watt - Guitar
  • Tim Butler - Bass
  • Bill Ray and Paul Kimbarow - Drums

Released 2001

I began playing with BSOJC in about 1998 for a stretch. We did a bunch of gigs around San Diego and the area. Josquin Des Pres was brought on board and we recorded my tracks at Signature Sound in San Diego, one of the more epic rooms this town has.

I played on four of the tracks- "Texas Sun", "440 Horses" "Seven Steps to Your Heart" and "Interstate Cannonball". While it's not "the full Monty" still, this album marks what I feel a significant place on my list of "cool things I've done".

Every so often Mark calls me for a gig here and there and I'm always happy to see my bastard brethren. :D

state of mind

Musicians

  • Lincoln Kroll - Vocals, Guitar, Keys
  • Mike Sherman, Mark Bonney - Guitar
  • Frank Lazzaro - Percussion
  • Ben Moore, Dave Chesavage - Keys
  • Bob Rosencrans - Bass
  • Bill Ray - Drums
  • Calvin Fan - Cello
  • Stellita Harris, Andie Mahn, Lisa Sanders and Kate Cowden - Backing vocals

Released 1997

I met Lincoln Kroll in 1995 along the way; a bassist I worked with back then Bob Rosencrans was playing in his band and they needed a drummer so I stepped in and was introduced to this ball of unadulterated creative energy known as Lincoln.

When you came up to Lincoln's recording/rehearsal facility in Carlsbad, CA. it was "total Rock & Roll". There was a full-size tour bus parked along the side of the house and once you walked that length his backyard was a garden of sorts dedicated to his band. You see, he had taken plaster casts of their faces and planted them into the yard so it was a very strange sight to behold!

One of the things he did that I found brilliant was create a plastic shell-mold of his own face, fill it with swag such as a CD, stickers, keychains, even candy. Can you imagine the look on some A & R person's face when they open his box and see a face staring back at them?

We recorded this album in the old Golden Tracks studio across from Guitar Center on El Cajon Blvd in about 1997. It was the last time I tracked to 2" tape I'm certain, because digital was beginning to make it's great debut. (For the record, I miss the warmth and sound that 2" brings).

Organic Drum Tracks Vol. 1

OGE- Objects In Motion

The Odd Get Even

The Journeymen- Dog Days