Five-time Grammy Award winner and one of the youngest members in the Blues Hall of Fame, Robert Cray and his band are coming to Memorial Hall today to showcase their unique style.
Mark Nelson, a spokesman at Carolina Performing Arts, said it was an easy decision to bring the Robert Cray Band to UNC. As a personal fan of the band for the last 20 years, Nelson said he knew the guitarist and his band had a lot to offer the school.
“For people who don’t know who Cray is, if they want to experience just an upbeat, fun, rock n' roll, blues concert with a really famous American blues player, they should come out,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be great, it’s going to be a blast. People are going to have a lot of fun.”
Cray’s publicist Tracey Miller said Cray has a unique charisma as a live entertainer.
“There’s an energy and passion on stage that’s never duplicated,” she said. “For any guitar enthusiast, I think they’d be blown away by his talent.”
Miller said the band has been developing their skills touring together for the past four decades, ever since Robert met his bassist, Richard Cousins, in high school. Since then, the group has received 15 Grammy Award nominations, sold millions of records, and sold out performances across the country.
"He's amazing. He's incredible. He's a legend," Miller said.
UNC music professor Scott Sawyer opened for Cray in 2007 in Cary at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre. He said Cray's skills and expertise are unmatched.
“He’s a veteran of the Blues R&B scene,” Sawyer said. “He’s a great songwriter, a great singer and a great guitarist.”
Nelson attributed the band’s success to Cray’s lyrics that have a universal appeal.
“I go back and hear stories that I heard 20 years ago, and they’re still topical today,” Nelson said. “They’re lyrics that could easily fit into someone’s life today.”
Nelson said students shouldn’t expect a recycled performance. The Robert Cray Band stays successful because the group constantly reinvents sets, rarely doing the same thing twice. He added that UNC students would be missing out if they didn't come to see the band in action.
“It’s right here, it’s on campus — take advantage of these things while you can,“ he said. “It’s part of your time here at Carolina, it’s part of your experience, don’t let it pass you by.”
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