The Robert Cray Band is one of the only groups to successfully guide the blues genre into the millennium. Critics have coined him a 'wanna-be,' but have been proven wrong by the band's triumph through their talent and image without losing the origins and sound of smooth blues or falling into mainstream rock.
Their infamous breakthrough was their debut album Strong Persuader for Mercury in 1986. It included the hit 'Smoking Gun' and earned them a Grammy Award that uplifted their career from then on. Cray never strayed from the blues/soul relationship and released albums such as Midnight Stroll, I Was Warner, and Shame Plus a Sin, for Mercury to prove themselves.
The band initially formed in 1974 in the North West, playing in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and then later in Seattle and the Bay Area. In the beginning, the band continuously toured with the great guitar player, Albert Collins. By the end of 1983 the Robert Clay Band was playing with him at Carnegie hall with artists like John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon.
Cray is considered an inventive, impressively reachable guitarist and a multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer. His accomplishments include playing with numerous artists in varying genres, such as Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Tina Turner, with mentors John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. His distinctive collaborations strengthen his style and are said to bridge the gap between rock, blues, and the R&B genres.
Robert Cray was featured at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas. He also co-wrote Clapton's song, 'Old Love' after Clapton had covered his 'Bad Influence' track. J.J Cale, Buddy Guy, and Jimmie Vaughan also joined them at the eventful festival. The Robert Cray band also appeared at the Cotton Bowl, along with Johnny A., Duck Robillard, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Honeyboy Edwards, and Booker T. Edwards with the MGs. The event benefited the Crossroads Rehabilitation Clinic in Antigua.
The Robert Cray Band released Time Will Tell on Sanctuary Records in the summer of 2003. Keyboardist, Jim Pugh and Cray produced the record featuring artists Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson from Sly and the Family Stone, Turtle Island String Quartet, and Luis Conte.
Robert Clay was featured in the August 2003 issue of Vanity Fair among other artists who performed in the Salute to The Blues concert at the Radio City Music Hall in February of 2003.
Cray has won five Grammy's in his musical career and has had the chance to discover varying directions on the musical atlas. The Robert Cray Band repeatedly tours all over the North America and is known to co-headline with John Hiatt and The Goners.