A nearly full house greeted Robert Cray and his band on Sunday, March 8, in the Turning Stone Casino Showroom in Verona. Pre-show conversations indicated that many were long-time fans who had seen Cray multiple times, as the venue has become a regular stop on his tour itineraries.
Touring in support of his twenty-fourth album, That’s What I Heard, released just nine days prior on Nozzle Records, the performance featured five songs from that recording, available here. Cray’s strengths are a smooth, pleasant voice and impeccable guitar tone. He is not so much a guitar gunslinger blasting a flurry of notes at listeners as he is a craftsman of melodies and accents that complement his vocals and songwriting. In doing so, he had those long-time fans engaged and responsive, singing along and applauding enthusiastically. Cray was polished and professional, a strong persuader indeed.
Cray was joined by his veteran bandmates Richard Cousins on bass, Dover Weinberg on keyboards, along with accomplished Memphis drummer Terence F. Clark, the newest member of Cray’s touring band. It was clear that this ensemble enjoys playing together, and each of them helped shape the overall sound and had their moments in the spotlight. Speaking of sound, the Showroom is consistently one of the best venues acoustically for its seven hundred seat size, and the evening’s sound engineer is to be commended for the clarity and listenable volume. It was so good, people walked away from slot machines to stand outside in the hallway and listen.
Set List: Phone Booth, The Same Love That Made Me Laugh (Bill Withers cover), Poor Johnny, You’re Everything, You Can’t Make Me Change, Anything You Want, Fix This, I Can’t Fail, This Man, Aspen, Hip Tight Onions, Promises You Can’t Keep, Right Next Door, Just How Low Encore: My Baby Likes To Boogaloo, Time Makes Two