Premier storyteller considers songs his family

Ray Bonneville

Ray Bonneville is called by many the “song and groove man.”

That’s how the Austin based singer-songwriter has always been and it’s a creative niche that works. His latest CD, At King Electric, is another slice of life from a man who was expelled from school, served in the United State Marine Corps during Vietnam and worked as a taxicab driver in Boston, while teaching himself the guitar and harmonica.

A true troubadour, Ray just rambled around the country seeking out and absorbing musical styles, playing festivals and clubs where they’d have him. Eventually his talent rose to the surface and he started opening for B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Dr. John. Listening to Ray is like listening in on a parishioner confessing to his priest.

“I never had kids, but this will be my ninth studio album since I started writing and performing my own songs,” Ray said. “I guess you could say that the songs, the records and the folks I meet out on the road have been my family. I get to know the characters in my songs as they reveal themselves to me over the hours, days and nights of writing. This new album is alive with them. There are several characters inhabiting one song in ‘The Next Card to Fall;’ one who is emotionally rescued by a street parade in ‘Papachulalay;’ there is the reflective addict in ‘Codeine;’ the lost and destitute road dog in ‘It’ll Make a Hole in You;’ the prison inmate who calls his estranged brother as his release date nears in ‘The Day They Let Me Out.’”

Before becoming a full time singer, songwriter Ray continued his travels, earning a commercial pilot’s license in Colorado and then lived in a wide-range of environments including Alaska, Seattle, Paris and New Orleans. By the way, he was born in Canada.

“Lately I’ve been thinking about how my past, my family history and my songwriting and work as a touring musician have shaped my character and path. I’ve come to realize how much a part of my chosen family my songs are, and also my fellow musicians.”

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