REVIEW: Larry McCray Releases His Long Anticipated ‘Blues Without You’

Larry McCray. Photo by Peggy Smith.

By Anita Stewart, Managing Editor

New Album Release: “Blues Without You

Release Date: March 25, 2022

Larry McCray “Blues Without You”

These songs and this artist are the real blues, so look no further if you love this music. Larry McCray’s new 12- track album, “Blues Without You” dropped on March 25, 2022 via Joe Bonamassa’s new label KTBA Records (Keeping the Blues Alive).

Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, who have become quite the hitmakers lately produced this amazing recording. Guest guitarists include Joanne Shaw Taylor, Joanna Connor, Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa himself.

Detroit-based blues guitarist Larry McCray is one of the last legendary blues guitarists from America left. With eight albums in his body of work he is getting a second wind and a new lease on life. In the past he has played with all the blues legends, overcome a tough battle with cancer, worked through issues with his wife and flirtations with jail and incarceration. Yes, he definitely knows the blues in a personal way! Rock at Night covered his latest single release HERE.

His challenging life with all the plots and subplots would translate into a great, full length film! How fitting since a documentary is being made of his life and is almost finished. The album “Blues Without You” is available now and you can find it on Larry McCray’s website and on all streaming platforms.

Larry McCray. Photo by Arnie Goodman.

My standouts were: “Good Die Young,” great instrumentation, horns and backing vocals. “Down to the Bottom” more like a rock ballad with featured guest, Warren Hayes sounds almost autobiographical, a beautiful ballad. “Breaking News,” wow, some great musicianship, guitar, horns and strings. What could be better? Sounds very 70’s. “Drinkin’ Liquor and Chasin’ Women” with some great keys and Joanna Connor accompanying Larry on guitar, just WOW! The title song was plaintive and poignant. I wondered who he was really singing this song for even though the title says “for Paul.” With strings and horns, again this song had a 70’s sound. “Mr. Easy” featured guest guitarist Joe Bonamassa. At a slower tempo than the other songs, this was a funkier tune with some exceptional horns. I could go on but I gotta say, I think this is the best album I have heard this year so far!

Rock at Night says: “This is sometimes vintage blues and definitely a nostalgic tip of the hat to the great blues music of the past. Larry’s voice is gravely, yet melodic and goes right along with his skillful riffs on the guitar. With incredible production and expert back up musicians, this is an album that will bring a smile to your face when you hear Larry’s superb story-telling through song and one that you will have on repeat.





Anita Stewart
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