Advance sales have ended. Tickets are still available for this event, please buy your tickets at the show tonight when you arrive.
In 2012 the Blue Dogs, after 25 years of playing shows and releasing 9 CD's and 2 DVD's, continue to perform up to 100 shows a year, from clubs, festivals, and colleges to corporate events, private parties, and fundraisers---primarily in the southeast but still traveling wherever they are called, over the past few years to New York, DC and Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and of course Georgia and the Carolinas. They continue to maintain a national (and international) fanbase, with all 9 recordings available through ITunes and other digital portals via their distributor, Redeye, and their CD's, DVD's and other merchandise offered exclusively at their website, www.bluedogs.com.
After the 2006 release of their 9th CD, the Charleston SC-based Blue Dogs quietly entered into their 20th year as a band (est. 1987) playing and singing Americana/country-rock music. To be more specific, January 2008 marked 20 years since standup bassist Hank Futch joined forces with longtime friend, fellow cub scout, and acoustic guitarist/vocalist Bobby Houck under the band name “Blue Dogs.”
To mark that anniversary, the band released a DVD of a live performance in their hometown, recorded in a 200-year-old theatre called the Dock Street Theatre, where they not-so-coincidentally made their first live CD 10 years earlier). On Thanksgiving Day 2008, Live at the Dock Street Theatre…again (Black River) was made available exclusively at www.bluedogs.com, or at the band’s live shows.
So the video serves as a milestone in the Dogs’ career in more ways than one. With 99 minutes of footage, it includes guest appearances by some of their good friends and well-known South Carolina musicians: Blue Dogs songwriter Phillip Lammonds, Tommy Dew and Kevin Wadley from the influential 90’s Charleston band The Archetypes, Columbia’s Danielle Howle, and the Adande African Drum ensemble featuring former Dogs percussionist (‘97-’98) Jesse Thrower.
The video might as well be considered the Blue Dogs’ definitive performance. It is packed with 20 songs, pulling from all 5 of their studio releases as well as a couple of songs that have never been released by the band. There are fan favorites throughout. And the band runs the gamut stylistically, flexing their country/pop muscles, but then also weaving in the bluegrass sensibility that goes back to the band’s beginnings, while then managing to incorporate African djembe drums seamlessly into the show.
In fact, what is so obviously present in this show is a Blue Dogs trademark: an loose unpredictability. Various local and regional bluegrass musicians step on and off the stage with ease, most with no rehearsal that day with the band. At one point in the show, the band blows an intro to the song, and without missing a beat, stops and jokes and then starts again. Not surprisingly, the moment was not edited from the footage and made the final cut.
Rounding out the band’s lineup for the show is original Dogs’ drummer Greg Walker, whose first gig with the then-acoustic band was in 1992 at the Music Farm in Charleston, where he spontaneously set up and played and has been the band’s drummer ever since. The newest member of the band is celebrating his 10th anniversary--guitarist David Stewart, who plays flawlessly on this night. Yet the star of the evening could well be the band’s some-time mandolin player, Daren Shumaker, who is all over the stage and all over the songs with tasteful solos and licks and seems to be having the time of his life. Everyone shines in this video, which truly turns out to be just the right kind of celebration as it showcases the achievements of a band 20 years in and on top of their game.
Dear Country Music Lovers,
Some people like for someone else to do the talking for them, but when it comes to the back story of this artist, only one person can get it right, and that's Early Ray himself. So instead of boring you with the same-old-same-old, Ray is going to take you down south and tell you how it is. So, grab a beverage of your choice, get comfortable and listen to some Hell Raisin' Country at it's Finest as you learn more about the best thing to happen to country music in a long time.
Troy Perry, New Country Records
I've never liked bios much as they are typically filled with cream puff quotes about how "artsy," “powerful” or “amazing" an artist’s music is. Instead, I'm going tell you a little about myself, how I grew up in the south, traveled the world and came to write and sing the songs I do today. So here it is, from me to you with no BS…
My hometown, Rock Hill, SC, is a small southern town located along the Catawba River where I was raised on country music and country cookin’. My mom and dad listened to all the great country artists of their time, Hank Sr. & Jr., Willie Nelson, Dolly, The Statler Brothers, Johnny Cash, Millsap, Charlie Daniels, Waylon and many more. However, at an early age I started to gravitate towards a different sound, and I could be found crawling around my brother’s record player listening to rock-n-roll for hours.
Growing up, I loved bands like Kiss, and Motley Crue. You know, big hair, makeup and a kick-ass sound. My garage bands were modeled after these 80’s rock groups, and I had a ball trying everything in music. All of the experimenting led to me playing bass in a shock-rock band that traveled the world playing to crowds as big a one hundred thousand strong in Germany, sell out shows in Japan, Australia and all over Europe. The band even had a music video featured on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
Even though I don't play that music anymore, my time with it has shaped who I am today. I don’t regret a single experience it afforded me, but after all the touring and high-life of playing with the big boys, I felt a tug to come home and start experimenting again.
I wanted to play my own music and sing songs that I wrote. So, I moved back to Rock Hill and started my solo acoustic career. As you can imagine, I enjoyed the break from being on the road, but it didn’t last long. In just a short time I was back touring on a small scale on the east coast. During this period I found my roots again, because now, as an adult, I could relate to all the songs I heard as a kid. Country music has a tendency to speak to folks, and I was finally ready to listen.
And listen I did. I listened to the stuff I grew up on, the stuff I missed out on and the new stuff that comes from the country music scene today, but I just didn’t hear what I needed to feel. There was something missing. One day it hit me, and I began to write.
The songs you hear from me today contain equal parts Hank Jr. and Van Halen. They are real stories about my life; my travels, my experiences with love and just having a good time. They aren’t deep, meaningful or artsy. If you’re lookin’ for touchy-feely, keep lookin’. This music is about real life in the south, it’s about raisin’ hell and drinkin’ from a red cup with my friends. Those friends I speak of are affectionately known as Red Cup Renegades, and they are apt to tell you some wild-ass stories about fightin’, alligator wrestling or makin’ love. They are loyal too, and if you don’t think so… talk some junk.
I have been fortunate enough to share the stage with Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, David Allan Coe, Slayer, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Black Eyed Peas, Corey Smith and Josh Thompson, just to name a few… and yes, I too have some crazy stories. ABC has seen fit to use some of my songs in a TV show called “Greek” and on ESPN, and some of my songs have landed on a soundtrack or two in a couple of indie films. My music career has been fun, to say the least, but it is just getting started. I hope you will join me as I start a new chapter in my life.
My songs are here for you to listen to, and I hope you like them. If you don’t, that’s ok too; good music ain’t for everyone. Otherwise, I hope to see you at a show soon. I’ll be the big guy on stage with a red cup full of who know’s what.