Ray Gehring & Commonwealth
Throughout his career, Gehring has found himself returning to the music that shaped his early years. “’Radio Trails’ was a huge concept record,” he says, “but the whole thing came together because I really needed to purge the ‘70’s out of my system. I’m a product of that decade. I was born in 1968 and listened to the radio constantly growing up. Lincoln was a city where music was everywhere. It informed everything you did & everywhere you hung out…everything you wore!
To do justice to these tunes, Gehring assembled his “Commonwealth”, a group of compatible musicians and friends, including Bill Carrothers, the German-born Matthias Bublath, Aussie Sean Wayland on keyboards, Dan Gaarder on vocals, Ronen Itzik and George Mel on drums and percussion, and Michael O’Brien playing bass on three tracks. (Wayland also co-wrote and contributes a fine vocal to “That was the Story”). Mixing unique, swinging interpretations of pop standards with a sincere love for the music and a healthy dose of humor, the end result is what Gehring describes as “big-fun jazz.”
For additional information or to schedule an interview or TV appearance, please contact Ray’s publicist, Athena Pope, on Tel. 310-391-9684 or AthenaMedia@aol.com
This week brings Gehring and his band back to the three cities he grew up in: Minneapolis, Lincoln and a stop in Omaha at the Saddle Creek Bar this Thursday. They’ll be here in support of their new CD “Radio Trails.”
Musically speaking, Gehring floats on the cusp of traditional jazz and jazz fusion, occasionally inserting elements of folk and Americana.
Gehring brings his soulful sound along with drummer George Mel and organists Nate Shaw and Matthias Bublath. His album, entitled “Ray Gehring Trio,” can be found on iTunes or cdbaby.com.
The music they perform creates an atmosphere that blends perfectly with the savory smoked barbeque, peaty single malts, and friendly patrons that make Bar BQ a neighborhood favorite.
“Our material includes songs ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to Neil Young, Burt Bacharach and Big John Patton,” says Gehring. “We also play original compositions and a few familiar standards. The format of this trio allows us to play a large diversity of material that easily traverses through different genres and styles. At the end of the day, a good melody is a good melody.”
Matthias Bublath, Dan Gaarder and Ray Gehring at the Zoo Bar [Photo by Tom Ineck]Lots of friends, family and a few Zoo Bar regulars made him feel welcome as he roared through two sets drawing heavily from his new release, a tribute to the pop music of the 1970s called “Radio Trails.” The CD is dedicated to Butch Berman and the Berman Music Foundation.
Gehring was ably accompanied by members of his band Commonwealth, in this case keyboardist Matthias Bublath and drummer Joey Van Phillips, with vocals featuring Dan Gaarder. The band also made appearances May 20 in Minneapolis and May 21 at the Saddle Creek Bar in Omaha.
Gehring, Bublath and drummer Joey Van Phillips [Photo by Tom Ineck]“Take the Long Way Home,” Supertramp’s 1979 super-hit, received a rocking instrumental reading with Gehring delivering a biting guitar attack that fully utilized the fat, resonant tone of his hollow-bodied axe. Gaarder took the stage for a rocking version of Neil Young’s “Motion Pictures,” and Gram Parsons’ “She,” which had Bublath displaying his versatility and imagination on keys.
Originals included Gehring’s bluesy “Stay Awhile” and the collaborative “That Was the Story.” Bublath added percussive, staccato jabs on the latter, which Luke Polipnick and Ray Gehring [Photo by Tom Ineck]Gaarder sang with his understated, reedy quality. Aptly for the venerable blues club, the band finished the opening set with a blues shuffle.
On Neil Diamond’s “Shilo,” Gehring’s guitar reached near-feedback level as Gaarder read from a lyric sheet, somewhat dampening the song’s effect. The second set’s highlight was a guest appearance by guitarist Luke Polipnick, whose band Volcano Insurance also includes drummer Joey Van Phillips. Among the tunes that Gehring and Polipnick mutually explored was the Willie Nelson standard “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
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We’re back after a bit of a hiatus & excited to be playing at Freddy’s Back Room on Feb. 16th @ 10PM. New stuff coming at y’all!
The Dynamic New Collection by Ray Gehring & Commonwealth
A Tribute to the Spirit of 1970’s Pop Radio featuring colorful new arrangements of classics by Supertramp, Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young & Brazilian-Tropicalia artists. Produced by Chuck Zwicky (Andy Summers, Jeff Beck, Prince) & co-produced by Bill Carrothers. Featuring Bill Carrothers, Sean Wayland, Matthias Bublath, Ronen Itzik, George Mel, Michael O’Brien, & Dan Gaarder
MyFirst CD: Seven pieces/tunes which I really love to perform and wanted to record. It’s a diverse set which features two original compositions. Again, my very special thanks go out to George Mel on drums and Michael O’Brien on bass.