About Bill Ray

br-15mos

Bill Ray has been playing drums since the beginning. Finding his father's drums at 15 months old and discovering the power of 2 & 4, his purpose on this plane of existence was set in motion at the age of four, having seen the local drum guru perform a drum solo at his parents' photography studio in Jackson, MS.

In 1989 a move to California was inevitable and taking gigs of any musical style turned out to be a fertile training ground. In 2001 Ike Turner offered BR the gig and as he said many times "Billy Ray is the drummer of my soul". Bill played with Ike on up to the end of his life and played on his 2007 Grammy Award winning album "Risin' With The Blues". Bill also holds over 150 other album credits to his career in all styles of music from Rock to Jazz, Country, R&B, Funk, and Eclectic "experimental" styles.

Bill is currently enjoying residence in the beautiful Pacific Northwest; Seattle, WA.

Bill endorses Stone Custom Drum, Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, Aquarian Drumheads, Kickport International, Sonall Percussion, Humes & Berg, Etymotic, Eccentric Systems, and Slug Percussion Products.

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I found my father’s drums at 15 months old and was immediately drawn to the power of a backbeat and how it made me feel. My then-four year-old self discovered my dream, nee’ purpose when the local “drum guru”, a man by the name of George Lawrence (who is still a friend to this day) performed a drum solo at my parents’ photography studio in Jackson, MS. while getting band pics done.

In 2015 a move to Seattle began a new chapter in my life. Currently I instruct at Seattle Drum School and in my own private studio. I have been playing with Paul Gilbert and did his recent release “Behold- Electric Guitar”.

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".

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!

These are artists who have had a tremendous impact upon my drumming and overall "concept" of music.