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This Way Up
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Award winning songwriter, singer and musician Brian Ray, best known as the ultimate sideman guitarist/bassist for Paul McCartney, takes a step out front in the spotlight to release a new solo album This Way Up. Brian's second solo album, following Mondo Magneto released in 2005, can be described as rich, fun rock with hooks galore and lots of guitars supporting a classic yet modern writing style. Brian Ray has been an in-demand session/touring musician and hit songwriter for acts such as Etta James, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, Kelly Clarkson and Chris Cornell to name a few. But for the past decade Brian has been touring the world's largest venues and stadiums in Paul McCartney's band.
Ray says, ''I have been on one hell of a ride with this band. The last 8 weeks alone have been amazing, with 110,000 screaming fans in Mexico City, playing IN the White House for President Obama and the First Family, then performing at the Isle of Wight Festival, to name some big moments for us recently. Paul continues to inspire a new generation of writers and bands. I find myself in a catbird seat with a great view from ringside. It is a joy to now share some of my own music.''
I Found You was written by Brian and Oliver Leiber (son of Jerry Leiber of the legendary songwriting team, Leiber & Stoller). ''It is a rambunctious, upbeat song, an expression from the best part of me, looking in every possible place for the love and peace we all want... finding it right before my eyes, where I least expected it!'' The song features a guitar marching band with approximately 40 guitars having a guitar tantrum, along with a big marching drum beat. Notably the song also features some of Ray's rock star pals: Scott Shriner (Weezer), drums and bass by Pete Thomas, Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello's band), Adam MacDougal (The Black Crows) on wild Wurlitzer piano. The second single Happy Ending (also penned by Ray & Leiber) is a ''modern rock post-sexual revolution, where the hell are we now? kind of song'' according to Brian. ''It's about a guy trolling the internet, hooking up, finding her, then finding that HE wants more than just a casual fling, while SHE smiles and slips out the door.'' The song also features Shriner of Weezer, Russ Irwin of Aerosmith, and Jason Page. Both songs were recorded and mixed by Joe Zook (Weezer, One Republic, Pink, Leona Lewis) and were produced by Brian Ray.
Each song on This Way Up is stellar in its refreshing diversity. Brian's new CD is a Deluxe Limited Edition package with a slip cover, revealing great photographs and art direction by fine artist Glen Wexler. This Way Up features a 16 page booklet in a digipack with the finest musicians, mixing, and mastering available today. Brian can be seen on tour with McCartney for more high octane shows at various stadiums and arenas throughout the world. ''Playing alongside Paul McCartney is a privilege beyond description. It isn't a job, it s a way of living and I'm more than a little bit addicted to it'' says Ray. ''He is an inspiration to me and to the band at every show. Besides singing like a deity, his music is right at the top of my favorite songs ever written. He sings with so much passion, grace and abandon...pure rock & roll nitro with just the right amount of glycerin.''
What I love about Brian as a musician is that every track he records is different from every other yet they all hang together so well. From the moody open of Happy Ending through the guitar-anthem ending of Under The Sun, there are plenty of highs and lows, wide-open rock straightaways that gear down into a wending, catch-your-breath ballad and then he hits the gas again. --Beth Kujawski - Writer
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Top Customer Reviews
Having followed his music for the last year, and watching him as part of Paul McCartney's touring band,it's important to buy this album not only because of its great work, but equally as a piece of musical history. Woven into the fabric of this collection represents 40+ years of collaborating with musical masters that are listed in Brian's Wikipedia profile.
Read his profile, check out his site - [...], follow him on twitter - @brianrayguitar, and his Google profile. When you do this, you can start connecting the dots of someone who's been a part of musical history.
While the variety of artists that he as worked with may vary, you can gain a unique insight into Brian's extraordinary talent through the medium of photography. His album covers tend to have him with his iconic Gibson Les Paul Jr in hand. Of all the instruments, amps, pedals, gizmos and gadgets he may have in his tool chest, the basics of the Les Paul Jr. clues you into a sense of style and something memorable that is gives Brian Ray his musical voice.
It's important to not only listen to, but study Brian Ray's music. When you do, you'll wind up saying to yourself - "I've heard this before...." The reason you've "heard this before" is because in many cases, Brian has been the under current sound, tone, and vibe supporting or writing for many musical greats.
Brian Ray's "This Way Up" brings forth that sense of familiarity; one that is very deeply embedded from Brian's legacy and his unique and rock'n DNA.
Highly Recommended. Big Time.
Brilliant songs like Under The Sun with his great guitar work or Happy Ending with a very personal sound are some of the best songwriting I have witnessed recently.
Hello Lonely is a great ballad .
I found you , the new single . is a catchy tune that really rocks.
The album have no filler and all the songs mantain the high musical standard.
Sandy Jacobson, Creator & Producer of BackStage:Los Angeles
"L.A.'s REAL Music Interview TV Show!"
First I would say that I highly recommend this album as I believe it is some of Brian's best work to date. His first album, Mondo Magneto, was so good that if we were still living in the age of audio cassettes and vinyl, I'd have had to replace my copy at least twice due to wear and tear. The same would be true for This Way Up, but to an even greater degree. Of the 11 songs on this album, I consider 6 of them my favorites. This is quite unusual for me as there are many really great albums out there by some of the greatest musicians on which only 2 or 3 songs will fall into this category with me. Honestly, this entire album is great, but if I was forced to glean only my favorite songs from this album for a compilation, 6 of them make the cut. The following is the list of my faves with a short commentary for each:
1. This Way Up - This song is a party from the very first notes to the end. It is totally understandable why this was chosen as the title song for the album. I love everything about this song.
2. Happy Ending - Slight bending of genres...a little taste of Hip-Hop mixed with Rock. Cool alternative tones mixed with some vintage vibes.
3. I Found You - Very catchy chorus. Cool background vocals, and the change-up to the retro "Putting On The Ritz" sound was pretty cool as well.
4. Camouflage - This song has a really great message. Love the progression in the chorus too. Great Tune!
5. Very Happy Song - I like this very happy song indeed. I really like the underscoring riffs on the guitar and bass, and great solo. Very tasty use of some reverse sounds too.
6. Hey Miranda - The intro features a very catchy clean guitar rhythm riff over-scored by a classy slide, punctuated by piano. I can listen to stuff like this all day and never get weary of hearing it. I like how this song builds throughout as one long crescendo.
The rest of the album is fantastic as well, but these are the songs which I consider my favorites. Yours may be different, but the only way you'll know for sure is for you to buy the album and spend some time listening to it yourself. :D I think this is definitely some of Brian's best work to date.