The five-time grammy winner’s playing and career is on display in his 2015 release titled “4 Nights of 40 Years Live.” Cray said the material is live, with the first disc taken from recent shows at a theater, smaller clubs and parties, and a second featuring studio recordings and rehearsal outtakes. A DVD is paired alongside and features concert footage from the 1980s and a TV show the band performed on in Holland, as well as interviews and guest appearances.
Cray said choosing to represent all these different incarnations of the band in this one packaging serves to show people an abbreviated version of their four decades of music and “all the different things that we are.”
Starting out in the mid-1970s, the band — originally hailing from around Eugene, Oregon — toured tirelessly along the Pacific coast. Gigs at this time were often Wednesday through Saturday deals in which the band would often play bars or taverns from around 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Cray said. That could work out to three or four sets of music, or about 40 songs every night.
It all blew up for Cray and his band with the release of the album “Strong Persuader” in 1986. Although they had already released a few albums and had been touring for about a decade, the album propelled them to new, unforeseen heights.
“We started traveling to a lot more places, going to Australia, South America as well as Europe and Japan,” Cray said.
Songwriting remains a strength for Cray, who credits two producers for helping him develop as a lyricist.
One of those producers was Dennis Walker. Cray said Walker helped open his eyes to writing lyrics “that paint pictures and lyrics you can envision when hearing the song.”
If You Go:
What: Robert Cray
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Clearwater River Casino, 17500 Nez Perce Road, Lewiston