Friday, March 30, 2018 - 8:00 pm
Texas born Caron “Sugaray” Rayford began his musical career at the age of 7 singing & playing drums in church. His gospel influence can be heard and felt in his music today. Rayford’s phrasing is intimate and conversational and the soulful gravel in his voice hints at his firsthand experience with hardship during his childhood marked by poverty and loss. He remembers a sad game he played with his brothers, a competition that determined who was skinniest by counting the number of belt holes left unused on his belt. His mother struggled to raise three boys alone while battling cancer. When she died, it was a kind of a relief. “She suffered and we suffered,” Rayford said. “Then, we moved in with my grandmother and our lives were a lot better. We ate every day and we were in church every day, which I loved. I grew up in gospel and soul.”
When Sugaray belts out a song, you not only hear it, you feel it. The excitement in the room is palpable when he takes the stage. His dynamic voice is as large as the man himself. With his old school vocal style, Echoes of Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and Teddy Pendergrass can be heard. At 6’5” he is a big man, but he moves with grace and energy and his dance steps will remind you of the Legendary James Brown.
Suga started singing contemporary music about 15 years ago in the San Diego area, where he sang lead vocals with a R&B/Funk band called Urban Gypsys. With this band he had the privilege of sharing the stage with many notable artists such as The Average White Band, Dennis Quaid, Joe Louis Walker and Kal David to name a few. After dabbling in blues just a bit, Suga realized that the blues was where his heart and soul belonged. So after some soul searching he left the Urban Gypsys and became the lead vocalist for Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz, a Temecula area blues band. Shortly after joining the band in 2004, they released their first CD “Trunk Full of Bluez”. This band was hungry and played over 200 gigs a year for the next few years while their popularity rose exponentially.
In 2006, Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz represented San Diego (Blues Lovers United San Diego) in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge (IBC), and brought home the 2nd place prize. The band began playing higher profile gigs and in 2007 and released their 2nd CD “It’s Tight Like That”. In September 2008, the Boys won the LAMN Jam Grand Slam Urban Artist of the Year title by a landslide, beating out hundreds of other competitors and were offered a distribution deal on the spot by RBC Records. It was becoming obvious though at this point that the band’s most valuable ingredient was that of their dynamic front man, Sugaray! He really knew how to work a crowd and turn up the energy level of a room right quick!
Suga’s first solo release, Blind Alley was a self-released project put out in 2010 that garnered critical acclaim.
In May of 2012 Ray made his stage debut starring in the Tony award winning play “Ain’t Nuthin’ But The Blues,” joining members of the New York Broadway cast and had a 6-week run with every show ended with a standing ovation.
In 2013, Suga sang lead vocals on 9 songs for the Mannish Boys’ CD “Double Dynamite” released on the Delta Groove Label. The CD went on to WIN Best Traditional Blues Album in May 2013 at the Blues Music Awards.”
2013 was a good year as Suga released his second solo CD “Dangerous,” also under the Delta Groove label and debuted at # 2 on Billboard Blues Charts, #6 on the Roots Music Chart and #2 on The Living Blues Chart.”
In 2017 Sugaray Rayford is nominated for 2 Blues Music Awards, the prestigious BB King Entertainer of the Year Award and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year Award as well. Suga is very proud and excited about his next release recorded on Blind Faith Records in Italy and will be released on May 26th. “The World That We Live In” is an album of all original material with the feel of 1960-70’s soul. It includes a full band with horns, strings and back-up vocals that has an old school feel. Be on the lookout for Suga’s latest release and an extensive world wide tour!