Article Contributed by Devious Planet | Published on Saturday, June 15, 2024

Sugaray Rayford is thrilled to announce the release of his new album, Human Decency out now on Forty Below Records. Listen to Human Decency here.

Human Decency's message is a simple reminder that our similarities are more substantial than our differences, and in the end, there is no black or white or left or right; there are only hearts and minds.

Rayford is a man with a message and a larger-than-life personality and voice to deliver it. At his core, a unifying force. His live shows are a party. Some conversations may be had, and some self-reflection may occur, but at the end of the day, people leave feeling a sense of joy and togetherness.
Working with producer, songwriter Eric Corne, the soul-blues powerhouse has crafted an incendiary sound and narrative, contributing to an exciting new chapter in American soul music.
An all-star cast lent their talents to the album. Performing are guitarist Rick Holmstrom and singer Saundra Williams, who are both from Mavis Staples's band, along with drummer Matt Tecu (Jakob Dylan), bassist Taras Prodaniuk (Lucinda Williams), guitarist Eamon Ryand (Happy Mondays), keyboardists Sasha Smith (Sam Beam) and Drake "Munkihaid" Shining (Deep Purple), trumpeter Mark Pender (Bruce Springsteen), saxophonist Joe Sublett (B.B. King), flutist Dan Kaneyuki (Goo Goo Dolls) and Corne who chips in with harmonies and a variety of instruments.

The video for the title track was brought to life by Director, Anthony Wolch, Cinematographer, Eric Foster and Editor Ali Niknam.

There has been no shortage of praise; Relix Magazine called Human Decency, “A funk-infused journey that expands on Rayford’s soul blues heritage, elevating the instrumental presentation beyond expectations." Q Magazine stated, “Rayford’s larger-than-life personality and funky soul swings along at a steady clip, giving voice to a worthy cause all the way down the line”, Soul and Jazz and Funk declared, “Think back to the Golden days of Chess and people like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters; then factor in the sound of classic soul men like Solomon Burke and add a sprinkle of the big-voiced icons like Teddy P and you're getting near to the sound of Sugaray Rayford”. And Americana Highways effused, “Smoked-out rhythms with a blend of Muddy Waters and BB King that works…works…works on all levels.”
Sugaray Rayford was nominated for a 2020 Grammy for Somebody Save Me and has won five Blues Music Awards for B.B. King Entertainer, Vocalist, Soul Blues Album (In Too Deep), and Soul Blues Artist (2x).

After finding some early success with the award-winning The Mannish Boys, Rayford struck out on his own with Blind Alley. In 2017, The World That We Live In helped Rayford break through to the upper echelon of the blues world while also putting the soul community on notice that he had arrived.
Born in Tyler, Texas, Sugaray Rayford's early years were full of turmoil. His mother struggled to raise three boys alone while battling cancer. "She suffered, and we suffered,' Rayford says. "Then, we moved in with my grandmother, and our lives improved. We ate every day, and we were in church every day, which I loved. I grew up in Gospel and soul." The soulful rasp and expressive vocal style hint at his first-hand experience with hardship, and a childhood marked by poverty and loss.

As an African American youth growing up in poverty, Rayford saw the military as a path out serving ten years in the Marines. Today he is as comfortable using his voice to deliver songs with a message as he is singing about love. "I believe in social justice and want that to be a focus in the music, but I also like to have a good time. The light and the shade, baby!" says Rayford