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Fans of Robert Cray\'s unique style of guitar-driven soul-blues can breathe a sigh of relief as the bluesman releases his first studio album in four years with This Time. Recorded at Santa Barbara Sound Design in Santa Barbara, California the album was produced by Cray himself. The guitarist has also shuffled his band somewhat since the release of Twenty, his 2005 album, brings his old friend and former band member, bassist Richard Cousins, on board along with veteran blues drummer Tony Braunagel to join long-time Cray keyboardist Jim Pugh for this recording.
Cray\'s sound has always been a unique blend of blues and soul, but as shown by This Time, it\'s also much more than that. \"Every time somebody asks me about where my music comes from, I give them five or six different directions - a little rock, soul, jazz, blues, a little gospel feel,\" says Cray in a press release for the album. \"Then there are some other things that maybe fall in there every once in a while, like a little Caribbean flavor or something. You just never know. I always attribute it to the music we grew up listening to, and the radio back in the \'60s. It’s pretty wide open. It\'s hard to put a tag on it
The songwriting on This Time is a true collaborative effort, with Cray and his band members all contributing to the pot. Cray\'s soul-drenched \"I Can\'t Fail\" is a slow-turning, 1970s-styled R&B beauty featuring one of Cray\'s most passionate vocal performances, some tasteful gospel-tinged keyboards (courtesy of Jim Pugh), and a crying Cray solo that hits your heart like the biggest, baddest arrow that Cupid has in his quiver. The song is a good example of Cray\'s confident songwriting skills, a talent that is often overshadowed by his dynamic fretwork.
Cray follows \"I Can\'t Fail\" with Pugh\'s \"Love 2009,\" a soul-blues burner with assured vocals, a silky soundtrack vibe, and an insistent recurring riff. I\'d say that these guys were definitely listening to some old-school jams in the creation of This Time, and your ears will thank them for it. The jazzy \"That\'s What Keeps Me Rockin\'\" is an up-tempo blues stroll that showcases an underutilized, Duke Robillard/Amos Garrett side to Cray\'s guitarplay. Drummer Tony Braunagel keeps a steady beat with some fine brushwork and subtle drums above which Pugh lays down some infectious keyboard riffing.
Robert Cray - This Time Tracklist
1. Chicken In The Kitchen
2. I Can\'t Fail
3. Love 2009
4. That\'s What Keeps Me Rockin\'
5. This Time
6. To Be True
7. Forever Goodbye
8. Trouble And Pain