Sugaray Rayford genuinely preaches the blues along with plenty of hope on his upcoming release In Too Deep
Before receiving recognition on a national level, Sugaray Rayford already knew what his mission was – to invite all his audiences wherever the music would take them. The Texas born singer and entertainer has guided him as the front man for several bands, including The Mannish Boys who won The Best Traditional Blues Album in 2013. But his contagious performances also afforded him a solo career where he weaved his special brand of blues sprinkled with soul and gospel from 2010 to this day. Rayford has also been a fixture with The Blues Music Awards including a BB King Entertainer of the Year and Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year in 2020. Coming off his Grammy nominated CD Somebody Save Me, In Too Deep drops a palette of inspiration, social messages and crisp production from songwriter Eric Corne, head of Rayford’s current label Forty Below Records. Backed by a band including his touring keyboardist Drake ‘Munkihaid’ Shining, Rayford sticks to his winning stage zone that he carries into the studio.
Within the ten tracks off In Too Deep, here are a few tracks that are particularly notable. While the message behind “Invisible Soldier” illustrates Rayford’s insomnia stemming from PTSD, the southern soul grooves are powered by a tight brass section and a unique background vocal production. “Miss Information” runs on a solid funk drums/percussion foundation while providing the sad state of affairs in general: “The soul of humanity/Facing calamity.” There is more emphasis on the blues with the pensive title track: “I never had my hand out/Gonna earn my keep/I keep trying to climb out/But I’m in too deep.” A must hear over and over in the gospel flavored, “Please Take My Hand,” weaves male choir humming, bass drum and hand claps that sets the tone claiming the everlasting battle in the name of civil justice.
While Rayford and Corne provide knowledge throughout In Too Deep, there is a break for proper romance thru “Golden Lady of the Canyon,” an uplifting ballad for a special lady love: “Both my lover and companion/Always there to pull me through,” decorated by fluctuating guitar touches and a brief but moving organ solo. Overall, what makes “In Too Deep” a joy to experience is that the blues according to Rayford strays far from a down and out mood while boldly addressing what is pertinent to humanity. Four and three-quarter stars out of Five.
The Urban Music Scene