Hazy Ray: A Bluesy, Jazzy, Mess of Soul

Hazy Ray has been called “A bluesy, jazzy mess of soul,” “whiskey sex” and lead singer Josh Summey’s favorite, “garage jazz.” I’m grateful  someone described New Orleans/Texas based Hazy Ray’s music so I don’t have to. The numerous influences and styles that make up Hazy Ray’s unique sound make it challenging to describe them succinctly; but their work is unmistakable and easily distinguished from their plethora of influences.

The five members of Hazy Ray (Josh Summey: lead vocals/guitar, Patrick Michael Hays II: trombone/vocals, Mitch Curtis: double bass/vocals, Ryan Normohamed: lead guitar, and Willie McCullen: drums), were gigging in Houston recently and taking care of business with producer/engineer/manager Mike Tristan of Wire Road Studios. Fortunately, I caught their performance at Avant Garden in Houston, TX. Their energy on stage is  unconstrained; when Hazy Ray is in the house – it’s going to be funHazy Ray is currently on tour in Texas, Louisiana (where 3 members reside), Alabama and Nashville, TN. They make their way back to Texas frequently – if you missed them this time ’round, follow Hazy Ray for updates about concert tours, CD releases, and all things Hazy Ray.

I joined them (with producer/engineer/manager, Mike Tristan) the following morning at Wire Road Studios to lay down some some promotional tracks. An epic recording session of 18 songs in 4 hours: don’t try this at home kids, recommended for professionals only. Afterwards they sat down with me for an interview and later that same day – tore it up at Phoenicia in downtown Houston. Hazy Ray is on a mission I know they’ll accomplish: success. They’ve got the right mix of talent, business savvy, determination and my favorite quality: humor.

Patrick Michael Hays II, Mitch Curtis and executive assistant, Dario Scalco in the kitchen at Wire Road.

Check out Hazy Ray’s day at Wire Road Studios interview viddy. Credit to : Willie McCullen and Mike Tristan. Please note Willie’s (drums) skillful rhythms and I-am-the-click timing. My position in the control room didn’t allow for much visual focus on Willie, but he deserves recognition…he is solid. I have to specially acknowledge the bobbing head, with a beard reflected in the control room glass…that’s Mike Tristan, Hazy Rays‘ manager/producer/engineer. Mike’s an integral part of Hazy Ray, and a great example of why managers and artists should be friends first. Trust and support are reciprocal components of the artist/manager relationship and these guys give each other plenty of both…and it’s for real.

Ryan Noormohamed and Willie McCullen at Wire Road.
 Ryan Noormohamed gets a grip.

Mitch Curtis and Hazy Ray listen back in the control room at Wire Road.
Josh Summey
    Ryan Normohamed

    Top to bottom: Willie, Mitch, Ryan, Michael, Josh.
    Ok – I confess. I asked them to pose totem style…they were reluctant but in Hazy Ray fashion: they had fun with it!
    Mike Tristan (producer/engineer/manager).

    Interview Video and recording session with Hazy Ray at Wire Road Studios.
    You can browse Hazy Ray’s current release (produced by Mike Tristan) ‘Deep and Shallow’ here.
    Follow Hazy Ray’s tour schedule on their website.
    Follow Hazy Ray on Twitter
    Like and Follow Hazy Ray on Facebook
    Check out their SoundCloud
    Follow Mike Tristan on Twitter
    Drop some comments about Hazy Ray - would love to hear from some new fans!
    Hazy Ray’s Upcoming Shows:
    Friday, August 3rd - The Judge’s Vinegarroon BBQ (1805 Church Street, 7-10pm) – Nashville
    Saturday, August 4th - The Judge’s Vinegarroon BBQ (1805 Church Street, 8-10pm) - Nashville
    Monday, August 6th - Roosters BBQ (123 12th Ave N, 9-10pm) - Nashville
    *Writer’s Round with Joshua Ray from Hazy Ray
    Wednesday, August 8th - Taps (2117 Belcourt Ave, 8-8:45pm) - Nashville

    Houston Rapper, Wes Coas, Releases “Styles Davis”

    Recently I attended a listening party for Houston rapper Wes Coas at Music World Studio in Houston, TX. “Styles Davis” is his 4th solo album release and in my opinion, his best to date. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this album, I went to the party without any expectations. Even if my expectations were unusually high, I wouldn’t have been disappointed in this excellently produced EP with lush beats and an introspective view of Wes Coas‘ challenges, and triumphs. What a pleasure to participate – thanks Wes Coas.

    Houston has produced a myriad of rap artists. In the current decade Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed Houston the “Rap Capitol of the World.” In any ‘Capitol’ there are numerous like-minded folk, and Houston has certainly been guilty of creating too many artists (of all genres) that are indistinguishable from their peers. Not so with Wes Coas, “Styles Davis” release.While the word ‘fresh’ made be over-used today, there’s a good reason for it, there’s a lack of ‘fresh’ material out there and music lovers are constantly searching for something new…something that isn’t stale. “Styles Davis” is fresh…and lush. The beats in ‘If You Knew (the Agenda) are comprised of trumpets, french horns, strings, sitar, baritone sax, triangle and more. If that sounds interesting – take a listen because it is. This track takes me somewhere, the range and texture in the beats fully explores the musical space around Wes’ vocals producing a very effective contrast.

    Wes Coas shares the spotlight with vocalist Ju-Ju in the breezy “Celebrate” another favorite track of mine:

    Another excellently produced track is “Murderer.” Wes Coas‘ straight-forward no BS vocals are delivered against a background of stark, spaghetti-western guitar beats that expand throughout the piece to deliver a range of tone that underscores his hard-hitting message.

    I recommend a trip to Wes Coas website to check out the rest of “Styles Davis”. Let us know what you think, drop some comments – we want to hear from you.

    I can’t leave this blog without calling very special attention to Wes Coas’ manager O. Washington. ‘O’ is the consummate networker, marketer, nose to the grindstone kind of manager that gets things done. He’s also one of the few that get it right when it comes to social media (my expertise). He covers all the bases and he’s learned one one obvious trick that others continue to ignore (which is beyond my comprehension as a social networker): the simple concept of email! Wes Coas and other artists of FMG (Flycat Music Group) are always on my radar because O puts them there…in my inbox. I know every release, event, blog post,, etc. about every artist on the FMG label and I never have to search. FMG keeps me updated and that, my friends, is just one of the very important rules about ‘net’working: don’t make us search for you – you gotta come to us. O knows it, and gets it.

    You can hear/buy “Styles Davis” here.
    You can also find Wes Coas on FMG website
    And here
    And Facebook.

    Jen the Music Maven, Wes Coas, Cy Jackson, O. Washington at Music World Studio, Houston, TX

    You can catch Wes Coas and other FMG artists !LIVE! at the FMG Summer Jam in San Marcos, TX.

    Credits from the “Styles Davis” project go to:

    Executive Produced by G.Rose
    Assoc. Produced by O. Washington and G.Edison
    Production: 7th Letter , Bass Heavy, Epik, Flawless
    Additional Vocals: The Frontman, Bass Heavy, Sasha
    All songs recorded and mixed by Bass Heavy @ Mission Control Studios. Katy, TX
    Mastered by: www.SoundsRightMastering.com
    Artwork: 7th Letter
    A&R: International O
    Photography: El-Shamesh Photography


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