The Ray Edwards Group
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The Ray Edwards Group

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
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Having only previously witnessed Ray playing solo, I enter the venue with expectations firmly rooted in my mind as to what the show would contain, a one man circus of rock and roll swagger mixed with a ‘20s vaudeville style theatricality, kind of like a cross between Mick Jagger and Eddie Cantor. Tonight however, Ray is accompanied by brother Eric on guitar, making up The Ray Edwards Group, and playing to a capacity crowd; expectations are obviously high for this (as of now) unsigned act and they pull it off in spectacular fashion.

The duo take to the stage amidst a wave of deafening applause from the adoring audience and courteously thank them for their attendance before having played a single note. Launching into the first number, I am taken aback by the power of Ray’s voice, melodic and powerful, more Merry Clayton than Mick Jagger, easily filling the small room and speaking every word with utter conviction. The ability to instantly draw all attention to the stage is something that a lot of current acoustic acts lack greatly in their live performances and The Ray Edwards Group definitely have it, a huge sound for an acoustic duo.

The six song set ranges from ballads and songs of sorrow, to the Bond theme-esque ‘Soul in America’, ending with fan favourite ‘Rollercoaster’, which sees Ray walk off into the crowd as the whole room bellow out the chorus with him, creating a somewhat special moment for all involved and making it clear that something is taking off for this young band. Judging by the strength of their material and the quality of their live performance, it won’t be long until we see The Ray Edwards Group packing out much larger venues.

You can see The Ray Edwards Group performing with a full live band at Cargo on the 6th May. - Muso's Guide


The first day of the month saw Ray Edwards deliver a performance that was brimming with charismatic charm, rather to pinch and punch. As I strolled into the foyer of the King’s Cross venue, the atmosphere of the evening ahead was already setting. You had the feeling that, on a night with plenty of ill-fitting and genre-clashing acts on the bill, everyone was here to see one strapping young fellow.

Ray Edwards politely welcomed his audience as he took to the stage. It did not take long for Ray to explain that tonight was a family affair. As a recent change to his live performance, his older brother accompanies him on acoustic guitar and backing vocals throughout, which allows Edwards to concentrate on his vocals and stage tricks. Ray then announced that his 91-year-old grandmother was in the audience, which naturally caused the hearts of every female (and more effeminate males) in the room to melt from the sweetness of the occasion. The tone was set.

Particular highlights of the set included ‘Because of You’ and ‘Sinking Into The Sky’, yet the peak of the performance was everybody’s favourite sing-a-long ‘Rollercoaster’. The audience worked as a choir to attempt every plausible harmony to sing in reply to Edwards. He was clearly humbled by this tremendous reception from his crowd and struggled to get the rest of his words out due to over-smiling.

Master Edward’s approach to popular songwriting is simple and honest, yet with a high concentration of artistic taste and authenticity, which is certainly influenced from the ‘pin-ups’ of the 1960’s such as The Kinks or The Rolling Stones. Ray is a quintessential English gentleman. He makes all the pretty girls blush, yet the guys in the audience do not get jealous. Ray’s warm personality really shines through his music, especially with his passionate and inviting live performances. Check out his website at www.rayedwardsmusic.com to hear more from the promising gent.

8/10 - Never Enough Notes


Discography

"When birds bark and dogs sing" Nov 2011

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Bio

The story of the The Ray Edwards Group begins with two brothers, Eric and Ralph Edwards. And a story is not a story if it has no beginning, middle & end – an unravel if you will.

Born and bred in Brighton, they experienced an eclectic upbringing rich in music and theatre. Their parents were both performers, as was their grandparents and great grandparents. Music was born into the brothers, who shared a similar taste in rock n roll but it was seldom played around the house. Anyone who has heard “Soul in America” will immediately peg the whimsical inherited theatrics whilst driven insistently by rock and roll.

The brothers took to the stage in 2011 and delivered a familial acoustic act for several months. It was described as “lyrically intriguing songs that capture the entire audience’s attention, while Ray swaggers around the stage with brilliant presence, all the while beautifully backed up by his brothers outstanding guitar playing”. The audiences grew, as did the band and so the story progresses.

The Ray Edwards Group is often synonymous with Ray Edwards himself but you are the people who surround you. Ray and Eric knew it was time to surround themselves with two more. Niall Lavelle on drums had known the brothers from school and had toured with Eric several years before. Raph on bass had become a close friend from gigs he had come to watch them at. Their first recordings together “When birds bark & dogs sing” was recorded in Milk Studios with Tom Aikenhead, Strongroom Studios with Will Davies and mixed at Mindloop UK with Nick Caffrey. In the absence of previous demos, the group experimented with capturing they’re unique live spirit, compressing emotive stories, heavy guitars and quintessential copper bottomed integrity.

In their inaugural year they have supported Johnny Borrell of Razorlight, Carl Barat of The Libertines, Tete, James Walsh of Starsailor, Gentlemen’s Dub Club, True Tiger and The Raveonettes.