What better way to spend a weekend than a cruisy boat trip down the Hawkesbury in perfect weather, docking at the beautiful Dangar Island ferry wharf and walking the short distance to the Bowling Club? Not much would top that on a good day except my trip was highlighted by seeing the incredible blues guitarist Ray Beadle on the final leg of his 2 month tour of the East Coast.
The giant chess board was transformed into an outdoor stage with the audience seated casually around and up on the deck of the bowlo. The trees and sunshine formed the perfect backdrop to a wonderful afternoon of skillful guitar riffs and crooning vocals from the 3 piece band. Made up of Ray on lead guitar and vocals, backed by Ben Edwards on bass and Ivan Jordan ably taking the drum stool in place of George Brugmans who missed the final gig as he jetted off on a European holiday.
The tour celebrated Ray’s recent release, Bound to Get The Blues. Recorded at 301 studios in Sydney in early 2022, the album features seven original tracks, with the album all recorded live from the floor to tape. Showcasing these tracks and his 30 years of touring experience, Ray and co were in fine form, even with the last minute addition of a new drummer. The crowd were thoroughly impressed, with a steady stream of punters buying cds and merch throughout the afternoon.
This was the fourth time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ray play, each time the thing that sticks with me is his humble demeanor which seems completely incongruous with the way he attacks his guitar and the passionate way he delivers his vocals. The afternoon was filled with two sets and an encore of rhythmic blues, highlighted by the unique playing style that Ray has become renowned for. It’s clear he’s been influenced by the greats but he’s certainly developed his own unmistakable style and technique. I’ve seen him solo acoustic, solo electric, backed by a full band and now as a three piece and each time I’ve come away thoroughly impressed and definitely wanting more.
At the time of writing, there is one last chance to catch Ray – he is performing at the Wingham Music Festival on Sunday 15 October. The perfect addition to a magnificent line up of acts.