Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – 2016

One of the most highly-praised and successful blues acts of the modern era

Raymond “Sugar Ray” Norcia is a world-renowned, award-winning blues vocalist, songwriter, harmonica player and band leader. He began his career on the Stonington, CT/Westerly, RI scene in the 1970s. In 1979, he moved to Rhode Island and formed The Bluetones with keyboardist Anthony Geraci, drummer Neil Gouvin, bassist Michael “Mudcat” Ward and guitarist Ronald “Ronnie Earl” Horvath who was replaced by Kid Bangham after one EP release on Baron.

The band enjoyed great success as a touring act in the 1980s culminating in two national releases for Rounder Records in 1989 and 1991. The band was put on hold for several years after Ray accepted an offer in 1991 to join Roomful of Blues with whom he recorded several albums including the Grammy nominated Turn It On, Turn It Up in 1996. Geraci formed his own successful unit, Little Anthony & The Loco-Motives, during this period, releasing two albums and touring nationally. Ray left Roomful in 1998 and reconvened The Bluetones for a series of albums which has put them at the top of the international blues scene.

Guitarist Michael “Monster Mike” Welch, a star in his own right since his teens with a series of national releases, joined in 2002 and the group celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2014. Their current album, Living Tear To Tear, is a best-seller which received an unprecedented seven Blues Music Award nominations.

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