Hazy Ray
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Hazy Ray

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Alternative Blues Rock

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May
13
Hazy Ray @ Howlin' Wolf Den

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

May
08
Hazy Ray @ Chelsea's Cafe

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

May
06
Hazy Ray @ Howlin' Wolf Den

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Music

Press


HAZY RAY

I believe there are a few universal truths about music that exist.

1. All music is better live.

2. If Shazam can’t identify it, it’s likely better than 97% of any music you’ve ever heard.

3. Music is infinitely cooler when it incorporates either a trombone, sax, or a stand-up bass.

Hazy Ray’s sound seems to be built around these three universal truths of music. Have a listen. If you like what you hear, scope out HazyRay.com - Below the Mendoza Line


By Ed Cullen

Michael Hayes (2013 BACH M&DA) sweltered in his LSU Band uniform at afternoon football games early in the season. What he remembers best, though, is the exhilaration of night games in a packed Tiger Stadium.

A few days after Hayes graduated in May 2013, he moved to New Orleans to assume the alter ego of P. Michael Hayes II, CEO and co-founder of the five-member band Hazy Ray. Hayes was back in New Orleans in August after a tour that took the band to thirteen states.

"We started May 28, finished July 28, two solid months on the road, living out of the van, crashing with friends and family all over the country,” Hayes said. The band performed in Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.”

The band plays closer to home in the fall with gigs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houston. At a show Nov. 21 at Chelsea's in Baton Rouge, the band will release a free, five-song CD. The music may be downloaded after the release date at www.hazyray.com.

His last day in Baton Rouge before starting a summer tour, Hayes talked in a quiet Highland Coffees about his seven years at LSU.

"I auditioned at Baylor, TCU, and Texas A&M,” said Hayes, a College Station, Texas, native. He chose LSU after spending summers in Baton Rouge his sophomore and junior years of high school.

"LSU set the bar very high,” Hayes said. "Summers, I studied with Joe Skillen (tuba and euphonium), Frank Wickes (then-director of bands), and Seth Orgel (French Horn).” As an undergraduate, Hayes studied with (trumpet teacher) Brian Shaw and played in the LSU Jazz Ensemble under Shaw. He took a bachelor’s degree in music performance (euphonium and trombone).

On the road, Hayes doesn't run into many musicians with performance degrees. "No one's ever said I wasted my time, but it's not that common,” he said. "A degree is something to fall back on when you go out into the world of music.”

Hayes plays trombone and sings a little in Hazy Ray. The trombone has a natural quality in ensembles, Hayes said. "In popular music, having a trombone and an upright base is very different.”

"We hear a lot, 'You guys are different. You're playing different covers than other bands and in a different style.' It's music everyone knows, but it sounds like OUR band,” Hayes said.

Hayes wishes he'd taken business courses at LSU, but he didn't. "If I had it to do over, I would or I'd take a second major.”

His entrepreneurial side made him look upon Hazy Ray as a business, first. "A small percentage of us get it, have the confidence and are willing to put it all into a company,” he said. "If you start a business without thinking you're going to make money, you shouldn't start the business.”

Over spring break, the band did nine shows in Baton Rouge; Coconut Creek, an hour north of Miami; Gulf Shores, Ala.; and Tampa and Palm Bay, Fla.

"We brought tents and sleeping bags, but we ended up staying with family and friends,” he said.

Joining Hayes in Team Hazy Ray are co-founder, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Joshua 'Ray' Summey, Houston; Mitch Curtis, upright bass, Akron, Ohio; drummer Willie McCullen, Houston, and lead guitarist Ryan Noormohamed, Midland, Tex.

Hayes is 25. Ages of the band members range from 22 to 29.

Road trips have been educational: "We learned we could do it,” Hayes said. "We liked our performances. And we didn't want to kill each other.” - LSU Alumni Association


“We love music. It’s that simple.” –Hazy Ray

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present Hazy Ray.

A self-described “force to be reckoned with”, the five member collection of undeniable talent creates a smooth sound that takes listeners on a musical journey. The band officially began their journey as Hazy Ray in 2011, and they excitedly proclaim, “The rest will be history.”

Hazy Ray has definitely been doing its part to etch its name in the musical history books with their impressive work. Having performed at numerous venues all over southern America, and in the midst of a nationwide tour; Hazy Ray aspires to blanket the world with their authentic sound. They are committed to providing fans with quality music each performance. Since the beginning of Hazy Ray, the group has evolved its sound into “a unique conglomerate of some of the best values and attributes across many different genres.”And when it comes to a live Hazy Ray performance, you’re definitely in for an amazing experience. The band’s repertoire boasts a host of original songs with a powerful story that will make you feel as if you were a character yourself. They also play some solid oldies that crowds always love. You think Hazy Ray is just another jazz/rock/grunge band? Think again. Better yet, see for yourself. You will definitely get up out of your seat when your hear them covering Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, “Everlong” by Foo Fighters, or Michael Jackson’s classic “Billy Jean”. A Hazy Ray show is a like an intimate gathering with your favorite people. They like to let the audience dictate the mood and the band’s direction saying, “The audience can react in so many ways; we just prefer to be in it with them and make a night of it. The less constraints there are, the easier that it is to do.”

Yet to reach the best part of their journey, already equipped with an impressive body of work, Hazy Ray is on the road to living out their dreams. Not the dreams of fame and fortune; genuine fantasies of impacting the world through music. Hazy Ray simply wants to give the world great music from their unique perspective. We’re here to listen! Check them out as we recently caught up with them to tell us more.

-Coyo Alexander



What are the names, ages, hometown, and respective instruments of everyone?
Ryan Noormohamed is a 21 year old from Midland, TX who lives the guitar. Willie McCullen is a 26 year old former naval officer from Waco, TX who eats, sleeps, and plays the drums. Mike Hayes is a 24 year old Trombone player from College Station, TX - he studies music at LSU. Mitch Curtis is 26 and a Bass player in every sense of the word from Akron, OH; He graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in music composition. I (Josh Ray) am 28, a storyteller from Columbia, SC via Houston, TX, and I sing and play guitar.










How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Mike Hayes (Trombone) and I (Josh Ray: Singer/Guitarist) met on stage at The Republic 1836 in College Station, Texas 5 years ago. We were both trying to make ends meet and sitting in with as many bands as we could. The owner had heard good things about my music and asked me to play my tunes during the break. Mike Hayes heard a few notes and just turned around, forgoing his break, just to play along with it. And what he brought was amazing. We decided to keep playing together and stay on the lookout for more musicians. I met Willie McCullen (Drums) 2 years later, Mitch Curtis (Upright Bass) a year after that and with Mitch came Ryan Noormohamed (Guitar) into the fold. The rest will be history.


How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Our music definitely becomes more intelligent AND more of a party every show. I suppose that is what I love most about this group. There is no compromise necessary. We have our cake. We eat it too.



Who writes your songs? What are the main themes and topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
(Josh Ray) I want to answer these backwards. The song topics have to change as our lives do, or else they lose their genuine nature; a quality which I prize over all and will not waiver on. The themes range through love, lust, loss, indecision, stress, politics, obsession, joy, struggle, victory, work…and anything else that pops into our lives. Life in general will be written about before we are done. As for the songs; I have come up with the basic structures, lyrics, and the melodies for most of the ones we perform. Mitch and I wrote my two favorite songs, ‘Stay and Fight’ and ‘Here We Are’ (also known as ‘My Song), which will be on the second album. Mike has written at least 3 that I know about and it will be nice to have a completely different perspective on life once we start


What’s the ultimate direction for Hazy Ray? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
We’ve said this from the beginning; internally we’ve gone to great discussion: “The goal is not - FYI Houston



Hazy Ray has been called “A bluesy, jazzy mess of soul,” “whiskey sex” and lead singer Josh Summey’s favorite, “garage jazz.” I’m grateful someone described New Orleans/Texas based Hazy Ray’s music so I don’t have to. The numerous influences and styles that make up Hazy Ray’s unique sound make it challenging to describe them succinctly; but their work is unmistakable and easily distinguished from their plethora of influences.

The five members of Hazy Ray (Josh Summey: lead vocals/guitar, Patrick Michael Hays II: trombone/vocals, Mitch Curtis: double bass/vocals, Ryan Normohamed: lead guitar, and Willie McCullen: drums), were gigging in Houston recently and taking care of business with producer/engineer/manager Mike Tristan of Wire Road Studios. Fortunately, I caught their performance at Avant Garden in Houston, TX. Their energy on stage is unconstrained; when Hazy Ray is in the house – it’s going to be fun. Hazy Ray is currently on tour in Texas, Louisiana (where 3 members reside), Alabama and Nashville, TN. They make their way back to Texas frequently – if you missed them this time ’round, follow Hazy Ray for updates about concert tours, CD releases, and all things Hazy Ray.

I joined them (with producer/engineer/manager, Mike Tristan) the following morning at Wire Road Studios to lay down some some promotional tracks. An epic recording session of 18 songs in 4 hours: don’t try this at home kids, recommended for professionals only. Afterwards they sat down with me for an interview and later that same day – tore it up at Phoenicia in downtown Houston. Hazy Ray is on a mission I know they’ll accomplish: success. They’ve got the right mix of talent, business savvy, determination and my favorite quality: humor.

Check out Hazy Ray’s day at Wire Road Studios interview viddy. Credit to : Willie McCullen and Mike Tristan. Please note Willie’s (drums) skillful rhythms and I-am-the-click timing. My position in the control room didn’t allow for much visual focus on Willie, but he deserves recognition…he is solid. I have to specially acknowledge the bobbing head, with a beard reflected in the control room glass…that’s Mike Tristan, Hazy Rays‘ manager/producer/engineer. Mike’s an integral part of Hazy Ray, and a great example of why managers and artists should be friends first. Trust and support are reciprocal components of the artist/manager relationship and these guys give each other plenty of both…and it’s for real.

- Jen the Music Maven's Celebrity Blog


Deep & Shallow
Full-Length Album
Hazy Ray, April 14, 2012

Hazy Ray is not easy to categorize, but not because they don’t know who they are. Hazy Ray knows exactly who they are, and that’s precisely what makes them hard to describe.

While listening to Deep & Shallow, I was afflicted with a serious case of the “that’s-gonna-bother-me-all-day” virus – where you get annoyed with yourself because you cannot recall some bit of common information that you know you know. In the case of Hazy Ray, I couldn’t pull up specific bands that they reminded me of, though I was absolutely sure the names were somewhere.

I have to admit, I’ve never been affected by a band in that way, and it drove me nuts during the show – to the point where I was deconstructing rhythm and chord progressions in an attempt to narrow it down.

I am sorry, but here are the words I came up with.

Hazy Ray is…

-Sublime playing a Self-Titled-era beach show, sober, on the fictional day Jack Johnson got raging drunk angry and broke someone’s face in a bar fight.

-A tastefully less-dramatic, mid-career Michael Jackson collaborating with 311’s chord progressions (not the band itself).

-Streetlight Manifesto, chopped and screwed, with the vocals of…Nick Hexum’s one night stand with…Jack Johnson? I don’t know, this is hard.

For one, the stand-up bass is played by a guy with a degree in musical composition, which partly explains the band’s chameleon transition from easy-going rock to impeccable jazz. The ball is passed to the trombone with precision, and it folds in with zero margin of error. For all the genres they invoke but don’t fit into, Hazy Ray’s vocal department should not compliment any of them…but it does.

I can’t explain it, nor can I explain why I like something that reminds me of Jack Johnson.

One solo is classic rock, the next riff comes from a trombone, Jack Johnson makes a three-second cameo…and the next track’s feature is a moody bass line with occasional guitar licks.

Deconstructing Hazy Ray could end up a full-time job, but fortunately, they’re extremely good at what they do. Resist the urge to figure out where you “know that style” from, and enjoy the intricacy of what’s happening on Deep & Shallow. - Dig


The live music scene in College Station can be pretty hit-or-miss sometimes. While fans of Texas country are usually able to find a good band any Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, anyone looking for other genres may not have as much to choose from in Aggieland. But this past Friday, March 30, Church Street Blues and BBQ on Northgate hosted a band called Hazy Ray – and they absolutely broke the mold.

Led by singer/songwriter Joshua Ray, this blues/garage-jazz band comes to Texas from New Orleans, Louisiana. Their stage presence can be summed up by the energetic purple-clad trombone player whose antics on stage were almost as entertaining as his solos, while drummer Willie McCullen kept him on beat. It would be easy to see a brass instrument next to the stand-up bass played by Mitch Curtis and assume that Hazy Ray is a typical jazz band, but they are certainly not.

Hazy Ray covers a range of genres in their music and blends several similar styles excellently. While their Facebook page introduces them as “slightly jazzy, slightly soul, lightly Latin,” lead-guitarist (and current student at Texas A&M) Ryan Noormohamed described the band as similar in style to Dave Matthews. Trombonist Mike Hayes says he likes to think of the band as part of the “revival of rhythm and blues”. A surprisingly grungy influence is sometimes apparent as they cover bands such as Pearl Jam and Audioslave but their set-list also included versions of songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Maroon 5. If you go to HazyRay.com and listen to their song “One Last Time”, you may be reminded of Jason Mraz or Dispatch. As Noormohamed says, their inability to be easily categorized is due to the fact that the “band members come from diverse musical backgrounds.” After watching Hazy Ray perform for several hours, I’m inclined to agree with him and I can only describe them as a unique group of musicians who each bring their own talents to the table. With so many different talents and impressive solos filling every break in the lyrics, both Hayes and Noormohamed are quick to point out that Ray’s songwriting is the glue that holds the band together.

Excellent musicianship and dominant stage presence are two characteristics which sometimes combine to make a great band and a fun live show. Hazy Ray has both of these attributes. If any of these descriptions of their music interest you, I highly recommend that you check out their website for a sample of their music and keep an eye on their Facebook page for information on upcoming shows. Hazy Ray plays shows in Texas on a monthly basis, and regularly comes to Bryan/College Station as well as the Houston area. As a fan of music, and a new fan of Hazy Ray, I hope to see you all at their next show. - Uloop


Hazy Ray's Band Unity

By Christie Matherne
Published March 21, 2012


The reasons bands break up are as numerous as the stars in the sky, but what makes a band stay together seems to revolve around the oft-elusive band unity. However rare that quality might be, Hazy Ray has it, and that’s why the five-piece is slated to open up for Ludacris this Saturday at LSU’s annual free spring concert, Groovin’ on the Grounds.

“It was really important to [trombone player/LSU student Mike Hayes],” said vocalist/guitarist, Josh Ray. “When something’s really important to one of us, we’re all-in.”

That’s more than commitment – that’s unity, and it goes a lot deeper than entering a battle of the bands to win an opening spot at a concert. Their unique brand of soulful, energetic jazz, reinforced with Ray’s incredible control of vocal range, would not be possible without that closely-knit dedication.

For 28-year-old Ray, much of it stems from 16 years of experience, and four years of playing with Hayes before they added the other components of Hazy Ray. While many of them now live in New Orleans, they all met in College Station, Texas.

“I had a regular gig at a really nice spot in College Station, and he had a gig there – [Hayes’] older sister worked there,” Ray explained. “I played there a year after it opened, and he heard my music once, and just kept coming back. It’s like feeding a cat that doesn’t belong to you…it’s never gonna end.”

Perhaps their dedication as a whole can be traced to their musical backgrounds – none of the five began with the common “rock star dreams” that plague many bands. Stand-up bassist Mitch Curtis has a degree in musical composition, while Hayes has been playing his trombone since he was an early teen. Ray composed – and sold – his first song at age 15, and has since written nearly three thousand songs, by his estimates.

In other words, their passions lie in using their instruments to build a song.

“We gotta take care of ourselves – if we don’t challenge ourselves, we’re not motivating ourselves,” said Ray. “We go back over the songs and add transitions and other components to keep us interested. [Curtis] has a degree in composition, and the bass is technically the most boring instrument to play, so we have to let him go nuts with that sometimes.”

However, they seem more aware of their job on stage as entertainers than many bands are – so aware, they consider the audience as something of an auxiliary band member.

“Most of the time, musicians fail because they get so good, they forget about the audience – they forget that they’re supposed to entertain people,” said Ray. “And we form our songs with everything in mind, telling stories and being entertaining to watch; entertaining to listen to.”

“You know how some bands are studio bands, where you listen to their album and it’s really good? And then you go see them live, and some people are disappointed with that,” said Hayes.

“Our practices are on stage. We learned our music in front of people, so we got a trial-by-fire of what works and doesn’t work,” added Ray. “And the cool thing about that is that we can be more experimental, ‘cause we already know those experiments work – we’ve already seen how they react. You can do that in front of a mirror by yourself at home, and not know if they work. We formed them in front of people, so we know they work.”

Seeing them play before Everclear at the Uncle Earl’s St. Patrick’s Day Music Festival, it was apparent that those words aren’t fluffy or practiced. They practice what they preach, before they preach.

“We want to do this for the rest of our lives – and what we want to do as part of that, is be a live band,” said Hayes. “We want to tour; we want to entertain.”

Hazy Ray will open up for Ludacris at LSU’s annual Groovin’ on the Grounds. The event starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Be on the lookout for a Hazy Ray CD release party in the coming weeks! Keep up with them on their Facebook page - Dig: Baton Rouge Uncovered


Music lovers and tired tailgaters lounged under oak trees and enjoyed rock tunes after the football game as four local bands vied for the top spot Saturday in the Battle of the Bands in Free Speech Plaza.
New Orleans-based band Hazy Ray claimed first place and a slot at the Groovin' on the Grounds spring concert on March 24 after judges scored each competitor.
"It feels incredible," said P. Michael Hayes, Hazy Ray trombonist and music education senior. "We put in a lot of work in the last couple months."
Hazy Ray graced listeners with a smooth, jazzy, alternative sound, incorporating a trombone and cello into each of its songs.
The Broken Rubber Band, from Baton Rouge, kicked off the show with songs ranging from blues and jazz to rock ‘n' roll.
With three of its members clad in variations of suits and ties, the band got a few of the concertgoers dancing with its song "Waltz."
Framing the Red, a band from Natchez, Miss., livened the mood as it cranked out sounds of high-energy rock.
People clapped and cheered while one young boy danced in the middle of the plaza.
Familiarity set in when audience members joined in to sing a rendition of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."
A crowd of more than 100 accumulated for the event, with many gathering near the stage and others simply sitting in the grass with their dogs.
Baton Rouge group Pushing Pandas ended the performance as the sun began to set, playing a few rock songs with funk, pop and reggae influences.
Electrical engineering junior Matthew Loupe said he wanted to see the bands perform and would like to play in next year's Battle of the Bands.
"[It was] pretty decent. Better than I thought it was going to be," said Antonio Smith, mechanical engineering freshman, who happened to stumble upon the event as he was walking around campus.
Students on Target, a part of Student Government, hosted the event that has been taking place at the University since the '90s.
"Our motto is ‘music with a mission,'" said Khristen Jones, SOT director and accounting senior.
She said there was an increase in talent and a great audience turnout at this year's contest.
"I think all of the bands have been really, really good," said Christina Tran, SOT member and microbiology junior.
SOT works to promote a healthy lifestyle and delivered wellness messages throughout the event.
Each band submitted an application and CDs, and SOT members chose the four bands that competed Saturday.
- The Daily LSU Reveille


Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to sheaserrano@gmail.com.



?All praise be to #Thurogod.
About two weeks ago, we were out at the opening of the super-impressive Wire Road Studios. As part of the tour, they had three separate bands working on music so you could see exactly what the process looked like.

Following the tour, while trying to eat as many of the free foodstuffs as possible without offending anyone (really a delicate exercise in stealthdom), local rapper #Thurogod approached. The middle of the conversation:
#Thurogod: Did you get to hear Hazy Ray play today?
Us: No.
#Thurogod: Make sure you check them out. They are incredible.

He smiled, because that's what he does, but there were thunderclouds in his eyes. So we looked them up. And holy crap. They were, in fact, incredible: A wave of horns and funk and amber vocals that make your eyes squint like sunlight does.

Go to SoundCloud right now and listen to the acousticized, heart-bending live version of "I Keep Your Letters." It is downright religious.

Anyway, praises, praises, praises. Interview ahead.

Rocks Off: First, tell everything they need to know about Hazy Ray in exactly six words.

Hazy Ray: Shallow, organic, beat-driven, deep grooves. (Many compare it to whiskey sex.)




?RO: This is kind of weird, and maybe totally stupid, but sometimes when you're singing or riffing or whatever, it sounds less like you're saying words and more like you're saying sounds and bleeps and blaps. Is that on purpose? Or are we being totally obnoxious?

HR [laughs]: Your are being less obnoxious than insightful, and honesty is always best. On purpose is less accurate than spontaneously appropriate. All in all, the sound of my words, bleeps, and blaps is me having the time of my life.

RO: You have a song called the "Superman Song." Why? Why not the Spiderman song or the The Incredible Hulk song?

HR: After she was hurt, the muse for this piece spoke of meeting someone who would pridelessly (like Kent) use all the powers in his possesion to protect her family and her heart. If I new Mike Hayes (Trombone) when I wrote this song, it would surely be called "Spiderman Song" because he is, of course, the the greatest super hero of all time.

RO: Would it be possible to convince you all to do more Radiohead covers? That "High and Dry" cover was lots 'o fun.
HR: Anything for Rocks, Off but only at our show this Saturday. (8:30 p.m., Crescent Moon Wine Bar.)


RO: Oh, in that video, people in the crowd are clearly talking. That's a big pet peeve for a big bunch of the writers here at Rocks Off. How bothersome is that for you?

HR: There is nothing more fun for us than entertaining a crowd. Situations change and we adapt. In this instance, we were in hour three of a four hour performance to a full venue graduation weekend in a college town. We knew what the job was, and we kept them drinking for four hours. Some shows are demonstrations, some shows are shows, and some are flat-out-parties. We love it all.




?RO: Let's say that, for reasons that were never explained, one day a man in sunglasses and a leather coat approached you and said, from here to eternity, you will either hear a large group of people talking in the background every time you perform your music or you will hear a a large group of people talking in the background every time you have sex. You have to choose one. Which is it? Why?
HR: Best question ever! And you have a split decision. Saint John (Drums) and I would rather have a large group of people talking while we pleasure our prospective partners. We are entertainers to the end... who may or may not harbor slight exhibitionist tendancies. Mike Hayes is firmly on the other side of the fence, wanting no talking from any parties not involved in the sexual activity. Mitch (Bass) however, doesn't mind having a large talking group of people anywhere in his life.


RO: Anything else you want to make sure gets mentioned, because now is totally the time to do it.

HR: Our debut album, Deep and Shallow, is in the mix down stage of production at Wire Road Studios and will be available in the coming months of 2011. We are playing at Crescent Moon Wine Bar in The Woodlands every month and will return to AvantGarden as soon as we can.

While we are maintaning a week of Texas shows every month, the band has temporarily relocated to New Orleans for entertainment opportunities, as well as educational and inspirational purposes.


See Hazy Ray at www.hazyray.com, and contact them anytime at Hazyray@live.com.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff. - Houston Press



If ever there was a band suited for the dark back rooms of a New Orleans jazz club, B/CS band Hazy Ray
fits the bill. The group‘s music reminds you of the set of a smoky mystery movie, a place where surreptitious kisses and elegant dances are stolen. The steamy Texas summer nights seem just a little more
romantic when accompanied by the musical stylings of this up-and-coming quartet.
The group‘s debut album, Deep and Shallow, delivers a graceful riff of influences, drawing inspiration
from such greats as Bela Fleck, George Clinton, and The Meters. Hazy Ray‘s combination of guitar, bass,
drums, and trombone allow the group to put a unique spin on a variety of styles that smack of Latin,
Caribbean, and blues themes. Tinted with a decidedly funky flavor, Hazy Ray‘s music could perhaps be
best described as ?twisted jazz,? but the group‘s members seem to favor ?whiskey sex? as the most appropriate label. You just have to hear it to understand, they‘d say.
Hazy Ray‘s music is smooth, soulful,
and deep. Lead singer and guitar
player Josh Ray, the group‘s wordsmith, pours out his heart in almost
every original song. In ?I Keep Your
Letters,? Ray grieves the loss of a
great love while accompanied by a
pensive groove punctuated with the
insightful melodies of trombonist
Mike Hayes. The uncomplicated tonal
backdrop emphasizes the emotional
nature of the song; Ray‘s pain is almost palpable throughout the fourminute piece.
This same mournful sentiment is
echoed in ?Stay and Fight,? a sultry,
slightly up-tempo tune that captures the confusion and devastation that follows a relationship‘s end:
?The only time he ever saw her sad/is when she told him to go/Did she want him to stay and fight?/
Guess he‘ll never know,? opines the song‘s chorus. Ray is clearly familiar with venturing into uncomfortable territory to capture raw emotional response, a tendency that elevates his songwriting into true poetry.
While the honest, bare lyrics make Hazy Ray‘s music both approachable and intriguing, the group‘s musicianship provides definite structure. All four members are so solid in their technical abilities that the
essence of the music seems to flow forth effortlessly. Hazy Ray just makes it look (and sound) easy to
play, well, almost anything. The band flawlessly executes full stops in the shuffling love song ?Linda?
and throws down sick solo sections on the album‘s title track. It‘s clear that these guys are on the same
wavelength, and it‘s fun to join them for the ride.
But the party really starts when Hazy Ray plays live. The group‘s musical prowess is only enhanced by
the members‘ cheeky stage presence. It‘s not hard to see that bassist Mitch Curtis is having the time of
his life when he spins his stand-up instrument around like a curvaceous dance partner, and you can‘t
help but get excited when Mike Hayes invites friends onto the stage for impromptu trombone battles.
Drummer John Wesley‘s energy and enthusiasm is similarly infectious as he occasionally stands up behind the set to pump up the crowd.
Hazy Ray‘s live shows are peppered with playful nods to popular music that dates back as far as the
1910s. Modern interpretations are featured as well, including a rousing rendition of the Blackstreet hit
?No Diggity,? which is always a crowd-pleaser. Hazy Ray also isn‘t hesitant to tackle such classic tunes as
Frankie Valli‘s ?Can‘t Take My Eyes Off Of You? or Jimi Hendrix‘s ?Little Wing.? These tasteful covers are
made over in true Hazy Ray style; the members add touches of funk, harmony, and soul to unexpectedly
spice up a library of familiar tunes.
After the group‘s album drops this year, Hazy Ray will be relocating to New Orleans, with their sights on
London in the not-so-distant future. No matter where they play, though, they‘re sure to make an impact;
these young musicians‘ talents clearly belie their years. Hazy Ray is mature, insightful, innovative and
visceral in their approach to sophisticated jazz. And if that‘s what we‘re calling ?whiskey sex,? I‘d say
pour me another round.—KATHRYN BENNET - 979 Magazine


Discography

4/12/2012: "Deep & Shallow" LP
Spring of '14: "Superman" EP
Summer/Fall of '14: "Linda" EP
The second album entitled "Second Chances" will be out in winter: late  '14/early '15

Photos

Bio

Hazy Ray (New Orleans, LA)

"The Soul-Rock Phenomenon!" - Mathew Knowles

Hazy Ray is an amalgamation of sights and sounds you may have seen and heard before, but never blended together so distinctively to create an experience that ensnares the senses and communicates the soul. The five piece band boldly describes their sound as "… at the core, true rhythm & blues," pulling from their vast influences that range from Jamie Cullum and Dave Matthews to Radiohead and Maroon 5. Hazy Ray’s head-turning sound is equal parts new and familiar, as the band continuously draws from a seemingly-endless bag of tricks. In 2011, the band’s premiere performance in New Orleans birthed the signature sound they now brand as "New Orleans Rock." Their debut album, "Deep and Shallow," was recorded at Houston’s Wire Road Studios later that year. 


On stage, Hazy Ray is known for their precise and exceptionally energetic live show that leaves audiences dancing to new charts and singing along to familiar, albeit different, covers.The Texas natives stepped onto the New Orleans scene quickly, landing on bills with Grammy Award-Winning Rebirth Brass band and Ludacris, as well as singer/song-writer John Lefler of Dashboard Confessional, Everclear, Free-Sol, Hunter Hayes,  blues greats Tinsley Ellis and Tab Benoit, and festival headliners Cowboy Mouth, Chicago, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Music Festival appearances at Springboard South (Houston), Gretna Music Fest, French Quarter Fest, and performances during SXSW and Jazz Fest this past year show promise into future festivals. The band's 2012 and 2013 summer tours have expanded the group into a National Touring Act, performing across 15 states. Hazy Ray wrapped up a busy and expansive 2014 calendar year with its New Orleans House of Blues New Year's Eve show marking 142 performances on the year. 


Band Members