Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army
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Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States | SELF
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"Jess Ray's vulnerability in lyricism and unique ability to capture her heart in song has moved my soul and stirred me to tears over the good news of Christ that I have known for so long. As an artist, it has been nothing less than a blessing to have the opportunity touch a part of her music and to work with her on this project."
-Shelly Moore, Shelly Moore Band - Shelly Moore of Shelly Moore Band


"Jess Ray is a breath of fresh air. Her music is honest, not cliche. Careful, not casual. Her songs are written from real life, not the hypothetical. Anyone who listens will quickly see that Christ is consequential in her lyrics, music, and life."
-Mike Passaro, Shelly Moore Band - Mike Passaro of Shelly Moore Band


Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army

In the middle of hearing her self-titled release for the first time, I began creating scenarios in my head of how indie music pioneer, Jess Ray, will potentially transform Contemporary Christian music. Melodic brilliance of the mind, pure words from the heart, and the warmest of vocal tones all contribute to this best kept secret. Immediately, I’m enthralled in the lyrical sophistication of “One Name”, “Better”, and “Truth”, leading me to believe Ray’s musicianship is far beyond her years. Now that my car stereo and this album have begun their long-term relationship, I find myself excited to drive in hopes of hearing something I haven’t heard in previous rotations. Sure enough, Ray never ceases to inspire me through her message of hope, love, and grace. Jess Ray is no longer a secret and her self-titled album is the perfect start to a long and inspiring music career.

- Michael Alvarado - Michael Alvarado


In case you’ve never noticed, when you rip a CD onto your computer, iTunes will list a genre for that album. With Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army, iTunes decided that the album fell under the label of “pop.” This could not be more misleading.

When you think of pop, generally the words “soulful,” “mellow” and “heartfelt” don’t really come to mind. But they are definitely words I would use to describe Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army.

Jess Ray has a voice that will hook you instantly. It’s smooth, it’s strong, it emotional. It is impossible to hear her voice and not feel a connection to the music. Ray’s vocals come across in such a way that it makes you feel as though she is singing to you specifically, and the effect is something really quite beautiful.

Instrumentally speaking, the music on Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army leans towards the simplistic side. It does its job of supporting Ray’s vocals and setting the tone for each song, but it isn’t overwhelming. The instrumentals are gentle, and provide the perfect musical accompaniment to the feeling that Ray pours forth with her voice. For as mellow as the songs on the album are, they come across with an impressive power that you wouldn’t expect; I’m not exaggerating when I say that the combination of Ray’s voice and the instrumental backing is completely moving on several of the album’s tracks.

Now, as wonderful as Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army is, there’s a kicker that may turn some listeners away: several of the tracks have a very blatant Christian message to them. However, I would hesitate to classify the album as Christian rock, even with lyrics that come right out and say, “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, you’re my only chance.” Honestly though, if you give the album a chance, the music and vocals will draw you in so completely that you don’t even realize the Christian slant of the lyrics right off the bat. Because of this, when you do notice that message in the lyrics, you don’t feel as though Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army is trying to push any sort of agenda on their listeners.

Jess Ray and the Rag Tag Army is definitely deserving of a listen, and I would be surprised if, at the very least, you aren’t impressed with Jess Ray’s voice.

Hot Tracks: Waiting For, Better, Come As You Are

Carly Doenges—MuzikReviews.com Staff

April 29, 2010

©MuzikReviews.com

Link to Review:
http://www.muzikreviews.com/reviews.php?ID=1063 - MuzikReviews.com


THE SKINNY: Jess Ray And The Rag Tag Army have released a self-titled LP that has me wondering just how soon a public audience will latch onto Ray's beautiful voice.

WEBSITE: http://jessraymusic.com
MYSPACE: http://myspace.com/hearjessray
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/jessraymusic


Jess Ray And The Rag Tag Army have absolutely seized my ears and I think any self respecting music lover will find the same beauty in Ray's voice and the band's simple intensity. Ray's Christian roots and spiritual lyrics carry her music to an emotional high and suspend it from song start to end. That, coupled with warm guitars and a steady groove make listening to the group's recent self-titled release as easy to listen to as Copeland dipped in melted chocolate.

The Rag Tag Army is essentially a separate entity from Jess Ray, but the music makers join forces both live and on this record to form what is in-arguably a very pleasant playing band. Ray is responsible for songwriting and on tracks like "Truth" it's evident there is an emphasis on creativity and tonal depth as the band launches into unison vocals, group percussion, and finally an incidental chord change that will keep you on your toes.

Lyrically, Ray brings familiar Contemporary Christian to the stage but does so with some unique, personal variation that could land her a spot on either indie and major radio. It's Jess Ray's melodies that differentiate her from the pop acts on those very same major radio stations. Simple and insatiably catchy melodies that won't leave your head (especially tracks like "One Name") are breaching the rim of this album. Ray's warm and rather low voice with a surprisingly high range makes every line of prose pop with love. I must have played "One Name" six times since I received the album this morning. Take a moment to listen to a few tracks and maybe you'll be infected with the same beautiful sounds that I've had the pleasure of writing about here.

See Review: www.praiseforwallflower.com/2009/09/jess-ray-and-rag-tag-army-album-review.html - Joey Stasio of Praise For Wallflower.com


Discography

Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army
"Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army"
Released September 12, 2009.
Single - "Rely"
Track Listing:
1. Before
2. Rely
3. One Name
4. Truth
5. That I Might Love You
6. Waiting For
7. I Pledge My Life
8. Better
9. Come As You Are
10. Gates
11. After

Photos

Bio

In less than a year, Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army have grown from an unknown into a well demanded act throughout North Carolina and the region. Since releasing their self-titled LP in September 2009, the band has independently sold over 400 albums and created a buzz which has resulted in consistent headlining performances in their hometown, Raleigh, NC.

With a sound that embodies indie and folk rock, Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army set themselves apart with a high energy live show and, of course, their signature percussion interludes which their fans have grown to love and expect.

The band's debut album has been greeted with positive reviews. Listening to their music is "as easy to listen to as Copeland dipped in melted chocolate" (Joey Stasio of PraiseForWallflower.com). Throughout the 12 track LP, Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army succeed in taking listeners on a journey as "the combination of Ray’s voice and the instrumental backing is completely moving" (Carly Doenges of MuzikReviews.com).

As the band moves into the Summer and Fall of 2010, Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army have plans to begin touring the East Coast and Colleges around the region.

Jess Ray + the Rag Tag Army is Jess Ray (Vocals/Guitars/Piano), John Ray (Bass/Vocals), Daniel Faucette (Electric Guitar), and Dustin Miller (Drums)

Management
Aaron Wilson
AMW Entertainment
amwentertainment@gmail.com