Finding another new release from The Rick Ray Band, Can't Lie Hard Enough, in my post is always welcome. It will be a good day, and it's sure better than finding another damn bill. If you haven't checked out this unsung Ohio band, they are certainly worth your time.
There are several very good reasons I like guitarist Rick Ray and company. First is their DIY team-centered work ethic. Everybody in the band contributes to the composition, production, and mix of the tunes. And you gotta love the CD artwork, from PhotoShopped collages to Ray's original drawings (as on the current release). Second, between Ray and the rest of the band, they are quite talented musicians. Finally, they easily blend a broad spectrum of genres, including rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, the psychedelic among many others, into a fusion of entertainment.
Except maybe on this new album. Don't get me wrong here: Can't Lie Hard Enough is fine Rick Ray Band material. However, except for a few songs, I'm not overly impressed. The highlights are the title cut which reminds me that, dropping the vocals, The Rick Ray Band is a great jam band. But vocalist DC can be intriguing in his lyric: View from a Train is simply awesome. The music is bluesy, the imagery fascinating. He gets a spirited political conscience on Dragon's Breath, but it's diminished by a weak arrangement. Following this political edge, Rick Ray delivers a slice of truth on Propaganda. This time the music is on par with the caliber of the lyrics. Certain kudos go to Blasphemy?, and maybe the rocker All I Want is Peace, penned by bassist Wally Spisak. And speaking of Spisak, of all the players, his performance on Can't Lie Hard Enough is suspiciously foremost. While there's a certain clarity to the production, all participants are evident, the mix sounds smothered as if played under a pillow.
Regardless of my praise and reservations, The Rick Ray Band's Can't Lie Hard Enough is representative of their profound talent and masterful amalgamation of many musical genres. In other words, The Rick Ray Band are both great and entertaining at what they do, but Can't Lie Hard Enough may not be their best effort. Nevertheless, I'll say this: it's The Rick Ray Band, and I dig it. Recommended.
The Rick Ray Band's Can't Lie Hard Enough is representative of their profound talent and masterful amalgamation of many genres. In other words, The Rick Ray Band are both great and entertaining at what they do, but Can't Lie Hard Enough may not be their best effort.