Katy Hobgood Ray featuring Dave Ray – I Dream of Water | Album Review

Katy Hobgood Ray featuring Dave Ray – I Dream of Water

Out of the Past Music


CD: 10 Songs, 39 Minutes

Styles: Mellow Delta Blues, Folk, Americana, All Original Songs

Blues fans, what’s your sign? The Sun is currently in Pisces, a water sign typically characterized as dreamy, spiritual, peaceful, imaginative and compassionate. Those adjectives are also tailor-made to describe I Dream of Water, the newest release from Katy Hobgood Ray featuring Dave Ray. This Memphis-based duo presents the softer side of Delta blues. In contrast to blazing horn sections, wailing guitars and pounding drums, their new album features ten original mellow tracks that inspire us to unify (“Kings, Queens and Jesters”), testify (“Dirty Water”) and combat climate change (the title track). What the CD lacks in edge or down-and-dirty, romping-stomping instrumentation, it makes up for in heart. Katy’s vocals are as sweet as ice cream in early spring, backed up by David Eugene Ray’s stalwart pipes. Together, they make a poignant pair.

Dave and Katy met in 2001 at a songwriter’s night in their hometown of Shreveport, LA. Both write songs in the Americana/folk rock/country vein. In 2003, the couple moved to New Orleans, and over the years they’ve continued to perform at coffee shops and small venues, collaborating in various bands. They’re also members of Friends of Leadbelly, a group of musicians dedicated to promoting the legacy of North Louisiana songwriter Huddie Ledbetter. Over the last few years, Katy has become known for her work in children’s music with Confetti Park and has performed at numerous festivals: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Fest, the Folk Art Fest, Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo, Beignet Fest and Red River Revel, among others.

Joining vocalists Dave and Katy are Chuck Dodson on piano and organs; Scott Frock on trumpet; Dave Hoffpauir on drums; Vikki McGee on background vocals; producer Greg Spradlin on guitar and background vocals; Dylan Turner on percussion; Brad Walker on saxophone, and Jason Weinheimer on bass and percussion.

Perhaps this duo’s greatest strength is their songwriting skills. Full disclosure: Most of the songs on this CD are political, but they pack a punch, especially track six. “Dirty Water” brings post-Katrina New Orleans back into the spotlight, highlighting its plight nearly fifteen years after the hurricane hit: “The president told us nothing would stand in his way. He’d move heaven and earth to make us whole once again. We waited so long, but the phone never rang. The promise meant nothing, and nothing has changed.” In a word: oof. Nevertheless, what’s all “That Really Matters?” “All the friends you made and all the love you gave away.” As long as there’s love, there’s hope. As long as there’s hope, cities like NOLA will rise time and again from high water.

I Dream of Water combines a sense of environmental urgency with Pisces-style Delta blues!

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