His distinctive razor-sharp guitar and signature mix of blues, rock, soul and jazz has earned five-time Grammy Award-winner Robert Cray the title of modern blues poet. Over a career spanning more than three decades, he has been credited with infusing fresh energy into the world of contemporary blues and attracting a new generation of fans with his music. After a nearly five year absence, the Robert Cray Band will make a welcome return to the Bankhead Theater on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Tickets for the single performance start at $50 each, with $17 tickets for students or active military personnel, and are already moving fast.
Robert Cray showed an early interest in the guitar and discovered a love for the blues in his teens, forming his first band in the 1970s. He grew up admiring such legendary blues masters as B.B. King and Albert Collins, never imagining that he would earn his own place among them. Cray’s unique sound and approachable style had already begun to build a loyal fan base, when a song off his third album “Strong Pretender” became an unexpected cross-over hit in 1986. Released two months after the album, the song “Smokin’ Gun,” a classic blues tale of murderous jealousy, climbed into the Top 40s and his video became a standard on the MTV playlist.
The success of “Smokin’ Gun” brought Cray’s style of contemporary blues into the mainstream, awakening new interest in the genre. “Strong Pretender” quickly went gold, a rare achievement for a blues album, and won the band their first Grammy Award. With five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums, Cray has continued to evolve his own style, willing to take the blues in different directions and welcoming a variety of influences. His most recent recording, “Robert Cray & Hi-Rhythm” took him to the Memphis recording studio of Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Jordan to work with members of Hi Rhythm Section, the band that helped make the distinctive sound of soul music a staple on the radio play lists of the 1970s.
Cray’s lyrics, insightful and direct, tell powerful stories of love and loss. With his smooth, seductive vocals and searing guitar, he has earned his place among the greatest of bluesmen, whether easing into a soulful ballad or bemoaning heartbreak with a rocking beat. In 2011, Cray was welcomed into the Blues Hall of Fame, the youngest living inductee.
The recently announced 2017-2018 Season at the Bankhead Theater includes acclaimed artists across a wide range of musical genres, including Joan Osborne who will bring her gritty, blues-based rock sound to a deeply personal interpretation of the songs of Bob Dylan on Friday, October 27, 2017. For the complete list of upcoming shows and events visit lvpac.org.
The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater, which houses the Livermore Visitor’s Center and Gallery, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, are home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors. The Bankhead Theater ticket office at 2400 First Street in Livermore is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On performance days the ticket office is open from two hours before to 30 minutes after the scheduled start of each show. Tickets are also available by calling (925) 373-6800, or online at www.lvpac.org.
Event: The Robert Cray Band
Date/Time: Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street, Livermore
Price: $50-$100, $16 students and active military personnel
Tickets: Visit lvpac.org or call 925-383-6800