On March 1st Forty Below Records released 'Somebody Save Me', the new studio album from Texas-born soul blues singer, Sugaray Rayford. On the album’s opening track, “The Revelator”, Rayford forcefully sings, “I’m a freak of nature / I ain’t no honey bee / I’m an unknown creature / The like you’ve never seen.” At 6’5” and 300 pounds, this cigar chompin’ ex-Marine with a voice like a force of nature holds court in any room he enters. Possessing a magnetic personality, and an old school vocal style that echoes Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and Teddy Pendergrass, Rayford is also a stellar dancer with moves reminiscent of the Legendary James Brown.
'Somebody Save Me' is an ambitious album that slides gracefully between the new blues of Gary Clarke Jr. and Fantastic Negrito and the vintage Daptones soul of the late Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, bringing a fresh take to classic sounds.
The album was produced by Forty Below Records founder Eric Corne, best known for his work with blues legends John Mayall and Walter Trout. Corne recorded the bulk of the record live and the chemistry of the performances infuses the songs with a spontaneity and raw emotion.
With his 8-piece crack band and personal charm, Rayford’s live shows are quickly becoming
renowned for their high-energy and celebratory nature, with Rayford whipping the crowds into a frenzy, like a Gospel Preacher. In the studio and in person, Sugaray Rayford is developing a reputation as a force to be reckoned with and an artist to watch in the coming years.
Rayford began his musical career at the tender age of seven, singing and playing drums in church, and his gospel influences definitely shine through in his music. The soulful rasp and emotive vocal style hint at his first-hand experience with hardship, and a childhood marked by poverty and loss.
“I remember a sad game I used to play with my brothers, a competition that determined who was skinniest by counting the number of belt holes left unused,” recalls Rayford.
His mother struggled to raise three boys alone while battling cancer. "She suffered and we suffered," Rayford says. "Then, we moved in with my grandmother and our lives improved. We ate every day and we were in church every day, which I loved. I grew up in gospel and soul.”
The ten songs on 'Somebody Save Me' explore contrasting themes of darkness and light and musically the album is full of inspired arrangements with several unexpected twists and turns; like the John Barry (James Bond) inspired bridge of “Angels and Devils”; the wobbly 1950s inspired keyboard solo and lush strings of the title track; and the gospel choir, shape-shifting keyboards and dramatic horns of “The Revelator” which seamlessly blends blues, soul and jazz with a hint of reggae. But at the center if it all is Sugaray Rayford’s commanding voice, tying it all together.
In 2017 Rayford released the critically acclaimed 60’s soul infused, 'The World That We Live In', “Without a doubt, my favorite album of the year, so far” (UK Vibe). Previous releases also include 'Dangerous' “A modern day masterpiece.” (Brian Wilson).
As front-man of The Mannish Boys, Rayford and the band won the Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 2013 and Rayford himself has been nominated for over a dozen BMA’s, including Vocalist of the Year and multiple nominations for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.
** Click here for Booking Information **
“A true badass?...? marrying the funky soulfulness of classic R&B records while acknowledging contemporary sensibilities.“ - Popmatters
“The album features a killer band and was recorded live, giving a sweaty, urgent vibe that is tough to capture, but magic when it happens.” - Soul Tracks
"Think back to, say, the Golden days of Chess and people like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters; then factor in the sound of classic soul men like Solomon Burke and add a sprinkle of the big voiced icons like Teddy P and you're getting near to the sound of Sugaray Rayford. Float that over an authentic soul backing in the manner of Daptone and Stax and you're getting near to the sound of 'Somebody Save Me'." - Soul & Jazz & Funk
“stonking, funking, soulful blues.” - Blues & Soul
“Sugaray Rayford has the vocal chops to die for, but he’s got something else - it’s called star power and charisma. This guy’s got “It.” - Rock & Blues Muse
“Sugaray Rayford is a soul singer who brilliantly weaves blues, jazz and gospel inflections into his soaring songs". - Living Blues
“Sit back and listen to one of today’s best blues-soul singers. Even better, attend one of his live performances where his energy can totally galvanize an audience” - Elmore