Sugar Ray and the Bluetones...
-2016 brings Sugar Ray and the Bluetones close to playing their distinctive brand of Blues for 40 years. This year the band is nominated by the Blues Foundation/Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN for Blues Band of the Year, and band members Monster Mike Welch, Anthony Geraci, and Michael "Mudcat" Ward have each received a nomination on their respective instruments. This brings a total of 26 BMA nominations garnered by the Bluetones and its members as well as seven Grammy nominations bestowed on Bluetones members.
-The original line-up of Sugar Ray Norcia, Anthony Geraci, Michael "Mudcat" Ward, Neil Gouvin and then guitarist Ronnie Horvath (who subsequently changed his name to Ronnie Earl) was dominant in the late 1970's/early 1980's in the New England area, (where they were the House Band at the legendary Speakeasy Café in Cambridge, MA) New York City, Washington, D.C., throughout Virginia and a long road trip to Chicago where they played at Theresa’s Lounge on the South Side with Junior Wells. The band recorded two records with Chicago harmonica giant Big Walter Horton and toured as the backing band for blues legends Otis Rush, Big Joe Turner, J.B. Hutto, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Roosevelt Sykes and many more. After Mr. Earl left to join Roomful of Blues, a relatively unknown guitarist joined the Bluetones--Doug "Kid" Bangham~"Kid" coming from the band members as they didn't even know his name at the time! The Bluetones traveled to California and back, and were one of this generation’s first blues bands to tour Europe, as early as 1980. Bangham left to take the place of Jimmy Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Sugar Ray also joined Roomful of Blues in the 1990's for seven strong years of touring and recording.
-Sugar Ray Norcia has been the driving force behind the Bluetones since its inception. One of this generations most powerful blues vocalist, harmonica players and songwriters. “Sugar Ray is the real deal. There is nobody better to represent this music”-Kim Wilson, The Fabulous Thunderbirds. “Sugar Ray has great tone and phrasing, singing and playing the harp. One of my favorites”-Charlie Musselwhite. Sugar Ray has been on over fifty recordings with the likes of J. Geils, Michelle Willson, Otis Grand, Pinetop Perkins, and is
a featured vocalist on both Knickerbocker All-Stars recordings. -Guitarist “Monster” Mike Welch, one of Boston’s most beloved musicians has been a friend of the Bluetones since he burst onto the Boston blues scene at the age of 13. He was given the name “Monster” by Dan Aykroyd at the original House of Blues in Cambridge, MA, where all members of the Bluetones were recruited as part of the club’s Blue Monday band. Welch has released several albums under his own name and has been on recordings with Johnny Winter, Duke Robillard, The Mannish Boys, and Sugaray Rayford, to name a few. He has been the Bluetones guitarist since the early 2000’s and continues to amaze audiences worldwide with his passionate, powerful guitar playing.
-Bassist "Mudcat" Ward toured and recorded with J. Geils, Jimmy Rogers, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, and Rockabilly Legend Sleepy LaBeef. His recording with Hubert Sumlin also included Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Levon Helm, part of Ward’s over fifty recordings. He’s also an accomplished Author-Ellison “Tarzan” Brown: The Narragansett Indian That Twice Won the Boston Marathon (Ward) McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
-Pianist Anthony Geraci has toured with Jimmy Rogers, John Little John, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and has backed up artists such as Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thorton, and Bo Diddley. He has recorded with Kenny Neal, Sugaray Rayford, Debbie Davies, Big Jack Johnson, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, John Brim, and Odetta, to name just a few of his more than fifty recordings on which he plays piano and Hammond Organ on. Mr. Geraci formed his own touring band and made a host of recordings as leader. His latest solo recording Fifty Shades Of Blue (Delta Groove) has received multiple nominations from the BMA’s including Song of the Year that features Sugar Ray singing as well as all of the Bluetones performing on the title track.
-Drummer Neil Gouvin has been with Sugar Ray since they were in Jr. High School together, and graces the drum kit on every Bluetones recording. He has also been featured on a cd with John Hammond, Jr. Found True Love (Virgin) that was nominated for a Grammy, and has made multiple recordings with Otis Grand, Joe Houston, and others.
-Be on the lookout for a new Sugar Ray and the Bluetones recording “Seeing Is Believing" on Severn Records due to be released in October,2016 and hear the band on the new tribute cd, Blues For Big Walter (EllerSoul).
- Sugar Ray and the Bluetones Premiere New Song "Hungry But Happy" in Guitar World!
- Elmore Magazine previews "Here We Go" from Living Tear to Tear!
- Review of Living Tear to Tear in The Alternate Root
- Review of Living Tear to Tear on Twangville
- Interview with Michael "Mudcat" Ward in the BluesPowR blog
- Sugar Ray and the Bluetones' "Our Story" previewed in the Huffington Post! (Click the link and scroll down for preview)