NEW MUSIC: Charlie and The Rays release debut album
Seattle’s own Charlie and The Rays (comprised of sisters Rebecca and Jordan Stobbe and childhood friend Gracia Bridges) are the amalgamation of all the folk, singer/songwriter, country rock and protest bands you loved in the ’60s and ’70s. So it’s no surprise that upon first listen, this trio will firmly plant itself deep inside the reward center of your brain and give you all of the aural pleasure.
Charlie and the Rays’ self titled debut album is a gem awash with vocal harmonies, hand claps, wailing guitar licks, bluesy swagger and deep swells of emotion. It’s an album you should listen to, and right now.
From the press release for the album:
Produced by Johnny Sangster (Mudhoney, Smokey Brights) at Litho and Crackle & Pop studios in Seattle, the album is a sprawling pastiche of roots rock and pop. Fans of First Aid Kit, Vance Joy and HAIM will enjoy Charlie and the Rays’ enchanting command of songcraft.
I had the chance to chat with Charlie and The Rays about the release of their debut album, busking at Pike Place Market, terrible ideas, and action figures. Check their website for upcoming tour dates and make sure to see them play Hotel Albatross this Thursday, June 14th!
Interview with Charlie and The Rays
the mixtape: What are you doing right now besides answering this question?
Charlie and the Rays: We’re all in the bathroom and I’m reading these questions out loud while Gracia showers and Rebecca brushes her teeth. We’re pretty close if that isn’t enough evidence.
tm: I love it when a band has this style of name…Gladys Knight and the Pips, Shannon and the Clams…As far as I know, no one in your band is named Charlie. Where’d you get the name Charlie and the Rays?
CatR: Well, we’re not quite sure, so if you find out let us know! 😉
tm: Tell me a bit about your days as buskers on the streets of Seattle. What were your first few experiences like? Nervous, uncomfortable, excited?
CatR: I’d say all three of those adjectives are accurate descriptions our early busking days! Although I might add “embarrassing.” We used to bring a picnic blanket (yes, literally my mom’s blue and white picnic blanket), and sit down, cross-legged in front of the original Starbucks at Pike Place, tentatively singing away our harmonies while strumming some buzzy chords that we may have just learned that day. We very quickly realized no one really gave a shit about you unless you were confidently belting your heart out (and at least standing on your feet), so that’s what we started to do!
tm: How do you go from busking on the streets of Seattle to where you are now with the release of your debut full length album?
CatR: We just naturally followed where we felt drawn, and this is where it’s lead us! Lots of passion and dedication as driving forces.
tm: You all dressed up as Peter, Paul and Mary for Halloween at one point. Is Peter, Paul and Mary a big inspiration for the band?
CatR: Rebecca and I just make extremely handsome men so we take any opportunity we can to put on a fake mustache. This is only kind of a joke — we LOVE Peter, Paul and Mary, they’ve always been a huge inspiration to us! Mary is a goddess. If I Had A Hammer was one of the first songs we learned to busk.
tm: What have been some of the bigger challenges for you all getting your debut album completed?
CatR: Finances. Always finances. We always have to pull a million strings in order to gather the funds for making recordings of this quality and the release processes that follow. Putting the final “stamp” on everything has also always been a huge challenge for us. We’ve found that progress and improvement often leaves discontentment. Biggest challenge though — getting our cat to purr loudly enough into our iPhone for the last touches on Sun Song. 😉
tm: From your website I’ve learned much about Charlie and the Rays. One example of this, is band member Jordan Stobbe, who among other things, enjoys “…terrible ideas…”. Can you tell me about one such terrible idea that either stayed terrible or became a fucking great one?
CatR: Finding a way to meet Paul McCartney when he came to play Safeco in 2013. That ended with me chasing down his limo and hugging him through his open window so I’d say that was a success. One that didn’t turn out quite as well was Gracia and my attempt to start a dog treat business in High School with home-made dog treats, I think my German Shepherd growing up was the only dog that would eat them.
tm: On your bandcamp page beneath the description of your band are the words: “Bananas Foster!”
Is this a fav dessert of Charlie and the Rays? If not, what is/are your fav dessert/s?
CatR: We made Bananas Foster randomly one time, and it somehow became a weird joke of ours. Besides our random liking to Bananas Foster, our real favorite desert is weird cookies or brownies that I bake that always seem to have an ingredient missing or substituted, yet still end up tasting pretty dang good.
tm: What are you most excited about re: Charlie and The Rays in the coming months?
CatR: We are excited for working on new songs now that the album is done and spending more time in our musical elements and not computing finances and business-y stuff, — and for more touring!
tm: If Charlie and the Rays was an action figure, what would accessories would you have?
CatR: A giant slice of pizza on which the action figure lays (inspired by the The Taste Of Streep), and a black cat side-kick with a big gut named John.