Trail Mix: Boo Ray

Tomorrow, Boo Ray, native of Western North Carolina and wayward country troubadour, is set to release Sea of Lights, his most recent record, on vinyl.

Released digitally last year, Ray has teamed with Kindercore Vinyl, based in Athens, Georgia, for this project. Kindercore is pushing the vinyl technology envelope. with a goal of offering vinyl pressings free of petroleum products within the foreseeable future. Sea of Lights is the very first pressing from Kindercore, and the collaboration between the company and Boo Ray is set to continue, as a series of duet singles is already in the can and ready to be released.

I recently chatted with Boo about sharing tape machines with Bob Dylan, tattoos, and working with Kindercore.

BRO – You recorded Sea of Lights on the same machine Bob Dylan used to record Nashville Skyline. That’s good company, right?

BR – You bet. I believe in the ghost in the machine. My producer and great friend, Noah Shain, got that old Ampex 300 and called me as soon as he had it up and running. These old tape machines are quite the contraptions. They’re all pulleys, levers, and springs, and it takes half an alchemist to really operate one well. It’s just not about the tape machine, though. It’s about the relationship between the engineer/producer has with the tape machine and the entire signal chain. API consoles and Ampex tape machines were apparently made for each other and are a great pairing. These records I’m making with Noah are designed on the front end to be manufactured and listened to on vinyl.

BRO – How did you develop a relationship with Kindercore?

BR – I’ve been kicking around Athens on and off for years and Kindercore has always been real cutting edge with acts like Maserati and Japancakes. Kindercore and I are Athens townies.

BRO – What can you tell me about the duet series you have planned?

BR – It’s an A-side/B-side vinyl single collaboration series with other singer/songwriters. So far, the way it’s going down is the A-side is an original song I write with the other singer and the B-side is a cover song we do together. It’s getting interesting. Stylistically, it’s allowing me to do some things a little outside what you’d expect to hear on one of my records. We’ve covered some interesting songs and written songs I am really proud of. So far, I’ve finished collaborations with Elizabeth Cook, Lilly Winwood, Critter Fuqua, Wade Sapp, and Rachel Rowland. We’ve got a few others we’re excited to announce. These singles begin releasing sometime real soon.

BRO – We are featuring “Sea of Lights” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?

BR – That song’s the relief I needed as my life was falling apart just when I got the call from Noah Shain to come to Los Angeles and make a new record. It’s about my ongoing love affair with Los Angeles and the long haul. You know, you just can’t tell what’s around the corner. You never know what worse luck your bad luck saved you from.

BRO – I’ve noticed you sport two full sleeves. What was your first tattoo? Any plans for your next?

BR – Yeah, I am pretty covered in tattoos. My first couple of big tattoos were from Freddy Negrete and Marcus Kuhn. And, yes, I am scheming on some new ink. Mastering engineer/record producer Pete Lyman and I are fixing to get tattoos at Chris Saint Clark’s Kustom Thrills. I’m an official endorser of Olathe Boot Company and they sent me the stitching design that goes on their boots. I’m going to have the Olathe toe medallion stitching pattern tattooed on the tops of my feet.

You can check out all of Boo Ray’s tattoos and tunes from Sea of Lights tonight and tomorrow around Nashville.

For more information on Boo Ray, the new record, or when he will be hitting a stage near you, check out his website.

And if you want to learn more about the cool things going on at Kindercore Vinyl, surf here.

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