Bluegrass vocalist and bandleader Ray Cardwell will debut his new band, Tennessee Moon, and the material from his upcoming album, at Nashville’s Station Inn tonight, July 28. Also appearing will be Pat Flynn, former New Grass Revival guitarist, who is serving as producer for Ray’s upcoming album, also titled Tennessee Moon.
And the New Grass connection is no accident. Ray’s music is deeply reminiscent of the NGR sound, merging traditional bluegrass with elements of blues and soul through Cardwell’s impressive vocal range and power.
Long time grassers may recall Ray from his time touring with New Tradition, a contemporary bluegrass group in the ’90s that also included Grascals mandolinist Danny Roberts. Since that time he has been working in Missouri as a choir director and band teacher, but has returned to Nashville to follow his heart – and bluegrass music.
Tonight’s Station Inn show begins at 9:00 p.m. and will showcase Ray on bass and lead vocals, assisted by his touring group: Kyle Smith on mandolin, Kelsey Crews on banjo, Michael Testagrossa on reso-guitar, and Theo MacMillan on fiddle.
Flynn says that folks who make the show – or check out the album when it hits – will be immediately struck by Cardwell’s voice.
“One of the most interesting things about Ray is his range. He has a very diverse musical background. We have a bluegrass foundation, but we’re doing everything from blues and gospel a cappella to straight-up bluegrass.”
You can follow Ray on Facebook for updates on Tennessee Moon.