CD Reviews

PETER RAY: Americana Deluxe

peter ray

Peter Ray’s collection of songs on Americana Deluxe delights listeners through lessons learned, heartaches yearned, dangers beware, and Godspeed ahead. The Country ensemble cruises melodically through memories of yesterday, today’s adventures, and tomorrow’s outings.

Strumming a soothing guitar and mandolin, Ray croons through the southern back roads of “Cajun Girl” and the sunsets of “Kentucky.” Songs like “Sunshine” dote on lost loves while “Rain” chimes in for lonesome reunions. Touting words of encouragement the old-fashioned way, Ray’s foot-tappin’ “One Step” carols sage advice to those travelling through life’s twists and turns where nothing’s impossible to turn around. The guitar makes it quite clear—just lift your head high and pick your feet up off the ground, one step at a time. “If you want it all you must rise above, if you want it all you must sweat some blood,” he sings. “If you want it all you must leave it.”’

“January” swoons a love lost while the “Dancing Mandolins” embraces a summer family gathering. The soft, sweet sounds of the guitar and mandolin pay homage to the chosen “one.” The catchy, pretty songs accompanied by a gritty-steady voice serve as the perfect backdrop to a Sunday mountain picnic. Kick back, relax, chew on grass, listen and learn!

A magical plus—stemming far away from the album’s countryside blues—Ray layers an iconic classic: an ingenious rendition of the poem “Invictus.” Written in 1875 by the English Poet William Ernest Henley during his recovery from a surgical leg amputation, the infamous poem has served to pacify celebrated greats like Nelson Mandela during life’s darkest hours. The arrangement and tempo showcase the strength and power of the words. The musical forte upholds the premise of the unconquerable soul. “In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced or cried out loud,” writes Henley. “Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloodied but unbowed.” Ray tunes in perfectly to underscore, “It matters not how straight the gate or how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

Americana Deluxe features Peter Ray on vocals, acoustic guitar, and mandolin; Vince Traber plays acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bass, midi prog, percussion, strings and keys; and Mike Tomillo handles the pedal steel guitars. Americana Deluxe is produced and mixed by Vince Traber and recorded at Little Tree Studio.

2 Comments

  1. Richard Filaccio
    Posted July, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    A spot-on review! This album is as surefooted as they come, full of depth, simplicity and soul. With repeated plays the songs take on new layers. Very enjoyable listening!

  2. Louis Filaccio
    Posted July, 2016 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    Peter Ray rocks! This is soulful roots music that taps you to a vibe you can relate to at a universal level. Listen and you’ll feel something that speaks to you. Ms. Viti nails it.

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