Review: Robert Cray, Royal Concert Hall
Put that book down, ladies, and forget about 50 Shades Of Grey. Instead try listening to 50 shades of Cray.
Plenty of them did at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday evening as the Robert Cray Band provided a superb masterclass in musicianship.
Cray's versatile voice and great guitar work naturally dominated proceedings, which were interspersed with light-hearted chat with the audience which quickly established an easygoing rapport.
It is difficult to fix Cray, a singer and musician of great scope, firmly in one particular musical genre, and it is not really necessary. He is master of all he performs, no matter whether it is blues-orientated or influenced by soul, jazz, rock, pop or gospel.
The show kicked off with Anytime and in the next offering the audience was quick to show its appreciation with a spontaneous round of applause to acknowledge Jim Pugh's keyboard wizardry.
In between songs Cray's comments were as natural and warm as his guitar was eloquent and intense.
Won't Be Coming Home and the punchy Move A Mountain revealed the depth of his vocals and guitar playing, which had the quality of being able to swiftly change the mood and the momentum.
Right Next Door (Because Of Me) was especially memorable and The Forecast possessed a driving, infectious beat which sped along.
It is easy to see why the stylish Cray has received a hatfull of Grammy Awards and why last year's Nothin But Love, was voted Guitarist Magazine's album of the year.
Smoking Gun and I'm Done Cryin' had a powerful, epic feel about them and were two of the highlights of a classy and polished performance by the multi-talented Cray and his fellow musicians.
The songs were definitely more than just another notch on Cray's expressive and impressive guitars, which were regularly changed by Zak, one of the hardest working men of the night, who literally ran on and off stage between songs to carry out his duties.