Songwriter, vocalist, and bass player, Ray Cardwell has joined Pinecastle Records to release his solo album, Tennessee Moon, in fall 2016. The album has a clear New Grass influence in producer Pat Flynn. However, with nine out of twelve tunes written by Cardwell, the album is his own take on that classic sound. Flynn also adds his talents on guitar and harmony vocals to the album along with fellow New Grass Revival alum John Cowan lending tenor and harmony vocals on many of the tracks (full personnel listing below). Cardwell has already built a touring band of incredible musicians to take his music on the road as Ray Cardwell & Tennessee Moon.
“One of the most interesting things about Ray is his range,” said Pat Flynn, “…His vocals are very distinctive, as well as his bass playing; that sets the stage for us to do a lot of things acoustically with modern bluegrass as a base.”
“In addition to possessing an extremely powerful, John Cowan-like vocal prowess, Ray is also a talented songwriter.” – Bluegrass Today
Ray honed his musical chops playing in The Cardwell family bluegrass band in the late 1970’s. In the ‘80s he spent time playing rock and reggae before moving to Nashville in the ‘90s to be a member of the bluegrass band, the New Tradition. He returned to his home state of Missouri a few years later to raise a family while teaching vocal and instrumental ensembles. Along the way he has had experience with an eclectic mix of musical genres from bluegrass and Americana to musical theater and Motown. Now living in Nashville, TN Cardwell has returned to his musical roots while blending in his varied influences to create a style all his own.
“I feel my music is based upon the traditional style of bluegrass and old timey music my parents raised me on, and the collection of musical experiences I’ve had in my journey through life. My songwriting is a direct reflection of new ideas balanced with the traditions of the past.
“When Ethan Burkhardt called from Pinecastle Records, I knew it was a label with amazing artists and good ‘street cred.’ I had good experiences with them before when Special Consensus recorded a song Danny Roberts and I had written.
“I have been anticipating this moment since I was a young boy in Missouri. The project is finished and soon will be out–music from my bluegrass soul, from a dreamer in the Ozarks. I hope you enjoy it.” – Ray Cardwell
Personnel on Tennessee Moon:
Ray Cardwell – bass, lead and harmony vocals
Pat Flynn – guitar, harmony vocals
Danny Roberts – mandolin
Jesse McReynolds – mandolin (“Tennessee Moon”)
Scott Vestal – banjo
Rob Ickes – resonator guitar
Andy Leftwich – fiddle, mandolin
Vocals: John Cowan, Claire Lynch, Ronnie Bowman, Scott Russell, Eric Morris, Brad Reside
Upcoming tour dates:
September 16th – 18th – Walnut Valley Music Festival, Winfield, KS
September 27th – World of Bluegrass Marriott Showcase hosted by Valerie Smith and the Bell Buckle Cafe (10 p.m.-2 a.m.), Raleigh, NC
October 1st – IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, 4 p.m., Raleigh, NC
October 1st – California Bluegrass Association (CBA) Suite at the Marriott, 11 p.m., Raleigh, NC
November 5th – The S’More Bluegrass Festival, a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Bell Buckle, TN
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Ray Cardwell is endorsed by AirPlayDirect, Rybski Basses, and Rushing Guitars.