Larry McCray is one of a handful of talented young blues performers leading the genre across boundaries and into the new century. McCray’s savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals have drawn attention worldwide.
McCray’s hard work paid off when he became the first artist signed by Virgin Records’ blues division – Pointblank Records. In 1990, they released his debut, “Ambition,” which was well received by the U.S. and European press.
1993 saw the release of McCray’s second album, Delta Hurricane, which was recorded in Memphis with the notoriously funky Uptown Horns. The guitarist’s gut wrenching rendition of Warren Haynes’ power ballad, “Soul Shine,” opened many ears to McCray’s talent and diversity.
In 1998, Born To Play The Blues moved the story of McCray’s broadly appealing music forward another giant step. Bold, brawny, often dazzling guitar lines are matched with confident, soul-drenched vocals. Understated funk rhythms and crunchy rock riffs meet searing slow blues and booty-bumping shuffles.
The year 2000 found the guitarist co-establishing his own independent record company together with Koch, forming Magnolia Records. The release Believe It kicked it off, putting McCray on chart to continue to release albums on his own dime and time, without the business or rules of a pressing-type of label.
McCray also sights a career highlight as being honored as the Orville Gibson 2000 Male Blues Guitarist of the Year. “Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, like seven or eight other people were nominated, as well” stated McCray.
With Magnolia Records his new home and a young son to raise, McCray was able to pull back into his personal life for a while. McCray keeps busy on the road trying to find the time to write music.
Magnolia Records released the McCray’s first live album, Live On 75, on December 6, 2005. In November of 2006, Larry’s latest studio record, simply self titled – Larry Mccray, was released and is gaining popularity in the U.S. from coast to coast and is also making a splash in Europe.
Larry McCray is widely known in Michigan and beyond for his major role in keeping the genre of blues alive. However, McCray doesn't even consider his band a blues band. "It's a whole different place," he says. "If you can't step outside the lines and put any of your own influence, then there's not really much of a future left for musicians."
Stepping outside the lines seems to be what McCray does best. His astounding guitar playing makes it clear that he has mastered the blues, but McCray imparts his music with his own unique stamp. His soulful vocals along with his rock and R&B influences give him a musical style that is completely his own.
Songs like "Blues is My Business" showcase McCray's incredible technical guitar skills, while other numbers like "Soul Shine" put McCray's warm singing voice front and center. But no matter what the song, McCray's own unique style of blues is evident.
Larry McCray has been a professional recording artist for over 20 years and has achieved many impressive accolades over his career. He has released six studio albums, the most recent two were released by McCray's own record label, Magnolia Records. McCray's music has received rave reviews from critics and fans in the U.S. as well as Europe. McCray received the prestige title of Orville Gibson Male Blues Guitarist in the year 2000, beating out seven other nominees including Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.
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