Following a sold-out engagement in 2015, Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Robert Cray returns to the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) with the Robert Cray Band Friday, March 8, 7:30 p.m. Known for bringing Blues back to the top of the charts in the 1980s, this five-time Grammy winner and recipient of the 2017 Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance will perform a mix of his most powerful good-time, uptown, low-down Blues and soul material from a career that spans four decades.
“While his music has always paid a deep debt to the Blues masters that came before him, he has always had his own unique sound, which is a result of his ability to meld Blues with music accessible to the MTV generation,” said Blues Rock Review.
Born into a military family, Cray spent a lot of time traveling, and lived in Germany for two and a half years in the early 1960s. There he spent much of his time listening to his parents’ record collection including songs by Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and others. In 1964 the Crays moved back to the U.S. and settled in Tacoma, Wash. This was the same year that the Beatles took their first trip to the United States inspiring Cray and many of his peers to pick up a guitar. Cray never put it down. Cray formed his first band with longtime bassist Richard Cousins in 1974. This was followed by the Robert Cray Band. In 1977 the band played the San Francisco Blues Festival, and that same year Cray was asked to play the role of bassist for a fraternity party scene in National Lampoon’s “Animal House.”
The Robert Cray Band recorded their first album, “Who’s Been Talkin,’” in 1980 and in 1986 won a Grammy for “Best Traditional Blues Recording,” with their fourth album, “Showdown!” (1985) a collaborative album with guitarists Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland. But it was “Strong Persuader” (1986) that made the list of the 100 greatest albums of the 80s and became Cray’s break into the mainstream. To date, Cray has recorded more 24 albums, and has collaborated with stars including Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker.
The Robert Cray Band comes to the McAninch Art Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Friday, March 8, 7:30 p.m. Tickets range: $56-$66. For tickets and more information, call 630.942.4000 or visit/- Atthe MAC.org.
VIP Suite Service is available for an additional cost of $30 per person and includes a private, pre-show cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception beginning at 6:45 p.m., followed by coffee and dessert at intermission.
WDCB 90.9 FM, Chicago’s home for jazz, is the media sponsor for this event.