Black mirrors and social feeds have damaged our ability to connect on a deeply meaningful level. Alt-country/outlaw guitar-slinger Boo Ray delves deeply into the dire state of communication in the modern world with his new record, Tennessee Alabama Fireworks. The album plays like a southern gothic noir, and in his own words, explores the “nitty-gritty, guts and ugly parts of the human experience today.” These songs creep into the brain with his most poignant lyrics to-date. Boo Ray is every bit a hard-boiled poet as many of the pioneers that came before him, from the likes of Tony Joe White, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Reed.
Boo Ray fervently draws upon the situations and hurdles that make the world such a difficult environment to navigate these days. Continuing the dialogue from 2016's Sea Of Lights, Boo Ray dives head first into even more vulnerable territory as he wrangles themes of heartache, reopened wounds, loneliness and swallowing his pride. With “A Tune You Can Whistle,” a raucous honky-tonk boogie that is as sincere and hopeful as it is macabre and melancholic, he laments about “one nation under the influence” of computer screens that have cast our humanity into a shroud of anxiety and detachment. Always self-effacing Boo Ray confesses in the middle-8 "If the pain of the pain wasn't worse than the pain of the change, not a single damned thing'd be different I'd still be the same."
“She Wrote the Song” surveys the scene at ground zero, just after impact as Boo Ray sings about true love mangled by miscommunication, dysfunction and addiction. Boo Ray’s strong unique voice carries with it a warmth and wisdom you trust and believe. “Don’t Look Back” is a reeling road song contrasting a weariness from, and an insatiable love for the highway. Boo Ray conjures cinematic southern gothic imagery when he sings, "Ragtop Eldorado floatin' down the road / Moon lights up the bayou like a dance floor at a disco."
Tennessee Alabama Fireworks was tracked live to tape over five days at Nashville’s Welcome to 1979 Studio, which has recently seen the likes of Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Jason Isbell and many more capturing their sounds within. “Making a record at Welcome To 1979 was a real powerful creative experience,” says Boo Ray. Producer Noah Shain, whose pedigree includes work with fellow outlaws Nikki Lane, Nico Vega, Dead Sara and Badflower, among many others, captures Boo Ray’s full-band storytelling style as vivid cinematic soundscapes that hit right at the heart and pull no punches.
Boo Ray grew up in the mountains a couple of hours west of Asheville, North Carolina, where he began songwriting at twelve years old, learned to play the guitar at fifteen and put a band together at sixteen, playing clubs around the region. In 2005, Boo Ray wandered from Athens, Georgia, out to Los Angeles, where he spent a few years working with a slew of west coast musicians before he was picked up by a bondsman and hauled back down south. In a little bit of a tough spot and needing a ten dollar item to hustle, he slapped together the ten best tracks he had for his first album. With the help of Steve Ferrone, Noah Shain, Paul Ill, Monica Ewing and Producer John "Q" Keggler he released 2010's Bad News Travels Fast out of a halfway house.
Having learned what a one-sheet was from Hollywood actors & models on the west coast, he shipped 100 promos stuffed with CDs, one-sheets and Moon Pies as his first official Americana Music Association Radio Campaign. As a result of Boo Ray’s amazing songs and his tireless work ethic, his record reached the top 50 and stayed in the Top 100 of the Americana Chart and the Top 40 of the Roots Music Report for an entire year.
His first Nashville record, Six Weeks in a Motel followed in 2012 and gained enough attention to lead to a successful publishing deal, plus the recording and release of Sea Of Lights.
In addition to his music, Boo Ray spends some of his free time doing custom leather work, making hand tooled guitar straps and belts for his guitar picker pals, truckers, bikers, cowboys and rock & rollers. His customers have included Johnny Knoxville, Juliette Lewis, Billy Gibbons, and other household names.
Upon returning from tour earlier this year, Boo Ray went straight into the studio with his band to lay down his next record. His creativity hit on all cylinders, and Tennessee Alabama Fireworks was born out of a deep searching desire to address some grim realities of today’s world and it’s constantly-disconnected relationships. The album shifts between joyous, zen-like optimism (“Don’t Look Back”) and devastating critical care situations (“Outrun the Wind”) that can only come from living life and learning to navigate dark waters. Even considering such hard, inescapable truths, Boo Ray eyes a future full of hope and promise with craftsmanship that is built to last.