One of the best debut albums I have heard in a long time and, in my opinion, one of the finest releases of 2014, is singer/songwriter Ray Sorenson’s first album, ‘Silent Writer’. The album is a collection of original material written over a period of about forty years. However, it was not until recently that Ray felt that the time was right to release an album of his work. And now that the album has finally been released, he is very satisfied with the results; and deservedly so. The album was nominated for awards in five categories in the Dolphin Awards in Northern NSW recently. The first single from the album, his song ‘Blue Haze’, took away the award for best production and ‘Don’t Fool Yourself’ won best blues song.
The album was produced by noted music producer Steve James who has worked with such artists as Screaming Jets, Thin Lizzy, The Angels and Paul Young, just to name a few and, with an array of talented musicians backing him on this LP, Ray has come up with a very impressive recording for his first release.
At the time of our interview, Ray was tossing up between ‘Don’t Fool Yourself’ and ‘Time to Yourself’ as a potential second single. “This album has so many styles to it,” he says, “and each song could be released as a single.” When asked if he has a favourite on the album, he is quick to nominate ‘Time for Yourself’. “It’s a pretty deep song for me. I remember I spent a bit of time on that one.” Ray says that all his songs are based on personal experiences. “There’s no fiction in there,” he insists.
So, if all his songs are based on life experiences, what is the story behind ‘The Whales of Byron’? “The story is basically about two people who are in love with each other,” he explains. “And walking along the beach at Byron Bay, the female comes across a stump sticking out of the beach and they both turn into ghosts and he experiences the female being harpooned. It is a sad song but it’s a strong message song.”
When I ask how he categorises his music, Ray is uncertain. While he concedes that some of his songs could be considered ‘country’, that is not necessarily how he sees it. “More like cross country,” he suggests. “But there are so many different styles. I don’t want to be slotted into one specific genre.”
2015 looks set to be a very busy year for the singer. “Next year we’ll be organising festivals and tours and things like that.” He is particularly keen to play country towns. “Playing in country towns is so important because, if there are 3,000 people in a town, and a third of them go to your show, you can guarantee that, for 500 kilometres out, the next day people are going to know about it.”
“By this time next year,” he promises, “everyone will know the name Ray Sorenson.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2014. All rights reserved