Don Ray Band - Kickstands Up
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  • Kickstands Up
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (04:12) [9.6 MB]
  • The Ride
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:11) [7.3 MB]
  • Eagles And Buffalo
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (04:54) [11.2 MB]
  • Daniels And Caine
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:40) [8.4 MB]
  • My Rush
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:37) [8.29 MB]
  • Lonesome Rider
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (05:00) [11.45 MB]
  • This Is Our House
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:39) [8.36 MB]
  • Full Throttle
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:32) [8.09 MB]
  • Gone Nowhere
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:34) [8.17 MB]
  • The High Road
    Genre: Rock
    MP3 (03:05) [7.06 MB]
DAddario EXP strings

Don Ray chooses NuttHouse to record third album
By Russ Corey – Staff Writer, TimesDaily, Florence, AL.
It only took a couple of visits to the Shoals for Don Ray to realize this was the place he would record his third album, a departure from the Texas blues country rock sound his band is known for.
The Nashville-based artist and his keyboardist, Jonathan Armstrong, spent the past week at The NuttHouse Recording Studio in Sheffield with some Shoals musicians, including guitarist Will McFarlane ( Bonnie Raitt, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section ), who also is producing Ray’s new album. “We did not realize it, but Jon and I have longtime connections with this area,” Ray said. The connection goes back to Belinda Jackson, a Shoals resident who was Ray’s one-time music publisher in Nashville, and local songwriter/producer Mike Pyle. Ray said Pyle invited him and Armstrong to the Shoals to get acquainted with people in the Shoals music industry, including McFarlane.
Ray and Armstrong parked their tour bus at Florence’s McFarland Park and let Pyle show them around. They ended up writing half the album while they were here. “We wrote the track ‘My Rush’ right on the bus with Will McFarlane, start to finish,” Ray said.
McFarlane is enthusiastic about the project. “They’re really nice guys, so it’s an easy hang,” McFarlane said. “Don has such a strong voice.” He took on the role of producer after the impromptu jam session in McFarland Park. “Each step along the way just seemed to fall into place,” McFarlane said.
Ray said his previous two albums were more guitar- driven, Texas blues/country rock albums, a sound he developed after moving to Austin, Texas, in the early 1980s. He decided to take that sound to Nashville, where he recorded and released albums in 2009 and 2010. The Don Ray Band released a concert DVD at the end of 2010 and recorded a single with former Little Feat singer Shaun Murphy, who also was a background vocalist with Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.
When Ray and Armstrong started writing songs for the third album, he sensed a change in the direction of the music. “John’s influence is really heavy,” Ray said. There was a strong keyboard presence that Ray said was reminiscent of the rhythm and blues/soul/blues sound of early Muscle Shoals music.
“They wanted to shift their focus to Muscle Shoals,” Pyle said. “What a great place for blues tradition. Anything we can do to get Muscle Shoals back on the map again.”
While there are still some rock songs on the album, there also are some ballads and songs more in the tradition of Bob Seger and Delbert McClinton, McFarlane said.
“It’s a departure from the harder rock sound to a more soulful sound,” Ray said. “This fits Will McFarlane so well.” Ray said he toured several Shoals recording studios before deciding on The NuttHouse. He said he liked the Austin Texas connection he and studio owner Jimmy Nutt share.
“Don is a great singer,” Jimmy Nutt said. “It’s great that he’s using some young Muscle Shoals musicians. It’s super cool they’re the sons of former studio musicians Joey Holder and Will McFarlane.”
Bassist Jamie McFarlane and drummer Justin Holder have been playing together since they were kids and have the ability to sense each other’s next move. They dubbed themselves the “Bandito Brothers” because of the matching bandanas they wore in the studio. “We cut our teeth together musically,” Jamie McFarlane said. “That’s one of our big selling points. We can read each other’s minds.” Both musicians recently returned to the Shoals from North Carolina and are eager to join the pantheon of great Shoals musicians. “I want to be the next Roger Hawkins,” Holder said, referring to the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section drummer. Holder said his background in blues and southern rock fit Ray’s project. “I love it,” Jamie McFarlane said. “It sounds refreshing while tipping its hat to old school stuff.”
Ray said he feels a connection with Sheffield and hopes his sessions will convince others to come record in the Shoals.“My heart sunk when we drove through there,” he said. “There were so many empty buildings.” “A resergence in record labels recording their artists in the Shoals would be wonderful for their economy and they’ll get a great sounding record no doubt.”
Armstrong said he and Ray knew they wanted to record in the Shoals. “We knew Will McFarlane was our guy too,” he said. “The Muscle Shoals sound comes from guys like him.”

CD Review by Music Row Magazine
1/5/2011, Music Row Magazine
DON RAY BAND/On Top Of The Heap
Writer: Don Ray/Curt Ryle; Producer: Don Ray; Publisher: Margdon/Big Matador, BMI; Margdon (track) (
—This Nashvillian has a growling, bluesy, bruiser delivery. On the title tune to his current CD, he is a working-class moaner with more than a little Southern-rock punch. For some grins, spin “Perfect Ten,” wherein he digs a fat chick to a rocking backbeat. “So Wicked” is voodoo swamper. “Boom Chika Wah Wah” and “Good Bad Boy” are irresistibly sexy. Heck, this whole album rawks. I bet these guys are great live.

Robert K. Oermann • January 5, 2011

Lonesome Rider CD Review
The Don Ray Band released its first CD, On Top of the Heap in 2009 to much critical acclaim, Lonesome Rider, due to be released on August 17th is a terrific follow up. The production/sound mix is very clean and crisp, making it a totally pleasurable listening experience.

"The Trigger", the opening track gets you right into that nice groove I mentioned above. Yes, sit back after getting that bottle cap off and enjoy a cold one. Tasty playing, not over the top, a nice feel, those guitar licks dancing in your head. I knew I was hooked after listening to the CD for a few days and while in bed last night, this song was still playing in my head.

For you that like those up tempo songs and jump sound, "The Ruckus Room" will have you up on your feet bumping and shaking your booty and the beer will start flowing real nicely at that moment. Overall, there is a nice mix of blues and southern rock that will make listening to the entire CD a joy.

When I first listened to CD it reminded me of a little Johnny Lang, some Robert Cray, some Skynyrd, especially on track 11, "Gone Nowhere." Hard to pin down Don's singing, as to who he reminds me of, but his voice comes through loud and clear, every word easily picked up. Great job Don!

The title track, "Lonesome Rider", starts out with the sound of a Harley, which made me think of the late Hughie Thomasson of The Outlaws. Hey, if radio station DJs still had the freedom they had 20-25 years ago, the song would make a great segue with The Outlaws, "Ghost Riders in the Sky."

Pick up this CD now! Check out the band at and make sure when you're on the site to click on the tour schedule and go see them when they come to your town.

Hank “Hitman” Hart – Southern Fried

Lonesome Rider CD Review
Sitting on the porch drinking a beer listening to the Don Ray Band will become a favorite past time of fans. Although I have listened to the CD and find different nuggets each time I listen, Poison is the standout track to my ears. Something a bit different than the other tracks and more Southern Rock with slide guitar the way we love it. The next track, Gone Nowhere, follows in the same vein and comes together in tour de force of Southern Rock.
The Don Ray Band has loads of professional talent in both the studio and on stage so the influences are made into their own unique form. You won’t hear much more professional musicians than these folks. As for the music, it is a mix of many styles but holds true to the roots of the bands influences.
With Don Ray and his cast of talented band mates he has transposed their influence in a very subtle way as well and is walking the same path, with some finely crafted and performed songs. I wonder if this music will be too sophisticated for many southern rock fans with its influences that sounded to me like T-Bone Walker, George Benson, The Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Delbert McClinton. But influences are just that, they help mould the sound that is the Don Ray Band, the subtle influences merge to form what is a fine CD by an excellent band.
You will very rarely hear an artist who offers such a variety of styles on one album, from down home Raising a Ruckus to lead off track The Trigger with its jazz influences, to the rocking southern rock of Lonesome Rider, to the blues of Love Is, to the jazzy sounding Ball and Chain this is music that just begs to be played over and over.
Vernon Tart – Pure Southern

Lonesome Rider CD Review
Last year I received nearly 100 CD's and one of them was the Don Ray Band's Debut Release "On Top Of The Heap". I felt that that release was so good that I awarded that album "2009 Best USA Blues Album", "2009 Best Overall Blues Debut Album" and ranked them #2 on the Top 25 Best Worldwide Blues Albums of 2009, in my Year End Review. In April of 2010, Real Blues Magazine placed that Album at the #1 spot on their Top 100 "Must Purchase" Blues chart, so I guess I was not to far off the mark with my choices. Now after having the good fortune of being sent their follow-up Album, "Lonesome Rider", I must say that after giving it a few listens, I have no doubt in my mind, that this new release is equal to, if not better than their last.
With the release of "Lonesome Rider", the Don Ray Band continue where they left off with "On Top Of The Heap", and give it to you the only way they know how, Straight Up In Your Face Blues and Southern Style Rock.
"Lonesome Rider" is an Album that continues to define a band that truly has their fans at heart, offering us music that can touch us all, because we have all been there. This Album will continue to bring the Don Ray Band to the forefront of the Blues and Southern Rock Genres and will continue to garner them the accolades they more than deserve.
The Don Ray Band quickly became one of my favorites with their release of "On Top Of The Heap", and now with their dynamic new release "Lonesome Rider", that fact couldn't be anymore truer.
As with their previous release, I have no problem what so ever giving "Lonesome Rider", my highest rating of 5*****.
"Lonesome Rider" is an exceptional Album.
Review By John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

Don Ray Band Review
A powerful singer and songwriter of huge talent, Don Ray and his band display a big sound and well articulated performance throughout all original songs. It can be likened to a frenzied madness, by the inherent musical quality and the amazing professionalism of every musician. Along with the impressive bright voice of Don Ray, always superb and firm, with great rage, you should add all the musicians to the mastery. There is also a faultless bright final production that goes together with the very original and personal Don Ray compositions. In short words, a performance done with big enthusiasm that will certainly call the attention of all listeners. GREAT.

Vicente Zumel
"La Hora del Blues"
Barcelona, Spain

  • Members:
    Don Ray, Jon Armstrong, Jeff Offutt, Josh Birkhimer, Gary Dales
  • Sounds Like:
    Delbert McClinton, Bad Company, Allman Brothers, Bob Seger, Kid Rock
  • Influences:
    Delbert McClinton, Allman Bros., Joe Cocker, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Bad Company
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    06/08/18 12:40:08

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