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Surviving
A talk with bluesman Robert Cray.
BY BEN FOGELSON

EW: Your New album Time Will Tell opens with "Survivor," a blues song that echoes from a deep well. You don't sound like B.B. King, but I found myself thinking of him during your crooning. What inspiration do you draw from King, and what other modern artists inspire you?

RC: Well, what I like about B.B. is that he talks to you and not at you. Once you get to meet the guy you're already under his spell. His personality is so congenial. He's real down to earth, and I like that about his music. He doesn't smash it over your head, he welcomes you into it. That's not what I like about everybody. There's Albert Collins, who had a completely different style, Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, who did minor keys, a weakness of mine. I'm a big fan of a lot of R&B singers with a gospel influence.

EW: In your previous albums, why are so many of your songs about sleeping with the neighbor's wife and breaking hearts?

RC: (Laughs) That's my good friend songwriter Dennis Walker. The man had troubles! But we sang a lot of his songs. It was our challenge and took daring to tackle those songs.

EW: Does it feel pretty cool coming back to Eugene? What kind of ties do you still have here?

RC: I don't think I have any ties left. A lot of people have moved on. We're here so infrequently, everything is so rushed. It's not like I'm going home anymore. It's been so long since I've lived there. I might take a walk around the mall, check out how things have changed, what's stayed the same.

EW: You completed Time Will Tell before signing the album to any company. In what ways did that affect your creative process?

RC: Well it hasn't changed anything 'cause we've always had creative control. But if we had been signed, maybe someone would have come out from the label to check progress, and that could be stunting. Otherwise, things were the same.

EW: Did you sell your soul down at the crossroads?

RC: No. It's a cool story though, ain't it? They even questioned Robert Johnson about that. I've been down on that road, Hwy. 61 down in the Delta. They say that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to get so good.

EW: Your song "Distant Shore" deals with war. If you could hammer out one mighty bar-chord and teleport all the coalition forces right out of Iraq, right now, would you do it, and what chord would it be?

RC: Yeah, I would do that. I would get an open big E string, turn the volume up so there's a lot of feedback, and I'd get 'em all out of there. Now that Saddam's running and hiding I'd get 'em out of there and let the people get back to their lives.

EW: What's your one musical performance that you'll never forget? Why?

RC: That's hard to say. There's a lot of cool ones. One was an opportunity to play with Muddy Waters, which was a gas at the Sacramento Blues Festival, some 20 some years ago. We played like eight shows with him, and we chatted before and after sets, talking about everything under the sun. I was invited out to sing "Mannish Boy" every night. Muddy was in his 70s. He seemed wise, and he looked like a Buddha. The big head, and that face, it was like you just wanted to go hug his head it was so beautiful.

—Robert Cray plays at 8:30 pm, July 3, McDonald Theatre.

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ART OF EVERYTHING
513 MAIN ST., COTTAGE GROVE
FR: DJ Dance--8

BLACK FOREST
50 E. 11TH ST. 344-0816
MO: Karaoke w/Jared--9

BRICK HOUSE
136 4TH ST., SPFD. 988-1612
TH: The Men of Playgirl--7
SA: Avatar, Head Rush, Servants to the End--10
TU: Cigar Swap--7; Big band, swing, jazz

CAFE LUCKY NOODLE
207 E. 5TH AVE. 484-4777
TH: Raging Family--9:30; Trip-hop
SA: Brothers of Beat--10; R&B, hip hop, reggae

CAFE PARADISO
115 W. BROADWAY 484-9933
MO: Songwriter's Showcase--9
WE: Mare Wakefield--9; Americana

CHAPALA RESTAURANT
68 W. 29TH AVE. 683-5458
SA: Lo Nuestro—6; Latin
WE: Lo Nuestro—6; Latin

CLUB RIO BAR & GRILL
444 E. 3RD 484-2927
TH: Must See TV--8
FR: DJ Cruz--9; Salsa
SA: Fungus, Ailment, Grynch, Clutter--9
TU: Family Karaoke--6
WE: DJ Mike Wet 'n' Wild Wed.--9

CORNUCOPIA
295 W. 17TH ST. 485-2300
SA: Swang--6; Swing

DOWNTOWN LOUNGE
959 PEARL ST. 343-2346
TH: L80's night w/DJs Jon Smith, DMoeFunk, Ceez--9
FR: Conception, Killing Faith, Northwest Royale--10; Rock, grindcore
SA: Upright Dub Orchestra--10; Dub, reggae
MO: Monster Truck Monday w/DJs Diablo, Scott
TU: Stone Cold Jazz w/ Kenny Reed--9
WE: OM Cookin, ISM--10; Funk, Groove rock

EMBERS SUPPER CLUB
1811 HWY. 99 N. 688-6564
TH: Billy McCoy—9; Country
FR: Michael Anderson Trio—9; Variety, country
SA: Michael Anderson Trio—9; Variety, country
WE: Billy McCoy—9; Country

EUGENE WINE CELLARS
255 MADISON ST. 342-2600
WE: Patty McCulla--6; Variety

THE WALKABOUT TRIO PLAYS SATURDAY AT LUNA.

GOOD TIMES
375 E. 7TH AVE. 484-7181
TU: Rooster's Blues Jam--8

JAKE'S PLACE
605 W. 19TH AVE. 431-0513
SA: Independence Day Party w/Johnny Law and the Rebels--6

JO FEDERIGO'S
259 E. 5TH AVE. 343-8488
TH: Jo Fed's All Star Jazz Jam-9
SA: Jake the Cat--9:30; Jazz
SU: Mark Allan--9; Acoustic guitar
MO: Open Mic w/Skip Jones the Boogie Woogie Man—10
TU: Barbara Dzuro—8:30; Jazz piano
WE: Latin Flavor w/Paul Paydos Trio—9; Latin jazz

JOHN HENRY'S
77 W. BROADWAY 342-3358
TH: 80's Night w/Chris, Jenn and John--9:30
FR: Wheel of Meat--6; Happy hour big band; Indy Independence Day--10
SA: Courtesy Clerks, Mine 37--10
SU: Vibe Nation, The Maybe Happening--10
MO: Avery Bell, Sunken Grade, Chain of Being--10
TU: The Last Chapter, Yeltzin, Avoid the Future Shadow--10
WE: Bob Marley videos, interviews, music--8; Higher Ground Sound--10; Reggae dance hall

LAVELLE'S TASTING ROOM
5TH ST. PUBLIC MARKET 338-9875
FR: Gus Russell--5:30; Jazz
SA: Gus Russell--5:30; Jazz

LONE STAR BAR AND GRILL
I-5 AT COBURG 686-8686
TH: Girls get wild--9; DJ dancing
FR: Guys get wild--9; DJ dancing
SA: Karaoke--9
TU: Open mic--9
WE: Coyote Ugly--8

LUNA
30 E. BROADWAY 434-5862
TH: Buster B. Jones & Friends--8; Guitar
FR: Erik Muiderman—7; Guitar; J.C. Rico--9:30; Blues
SA: Erik Muiderman—6:30; Guitar; Walkabout Trio--9:30; Jazz

THE DANGED PLAY AT MAC'S AT THE VET'S ON INDEPENDENCE DAY.

MAC'S AT THE VET'S
1626 WILLAMETTE ST. 344-8600
TH: Christie & McCallum—7; Oldies, country
FR: The Danged--9; Rockabilly
SA: The Cheeseburgers--9; Jimmy Buffet tunes
WE: Bourbon Renewal--9; Blues

MCDONALD THEATRE
1010 WILLAMETTE ST.
TH: Robert Cray--8:30; Blues
TU: The Neville Brothers--8:30; Bayou Funk

OVERTIME TAVERN
770 S. BERTELSEN 342-5028
TH: West Side Blues Jam--8:30
SA: The Cheeseburgers--8; Parrothead music

PERUGINO
767 WILLAMETTE ST. 687-9102
WE: Irish Jam--7:30; Celtic

QUACKER'S
2105 W. 7TH 485-5925
MO: Karaoke--9; Variety
WE: Quacker's Blues Bash—8:30; Blues jam

RAMADA INN
225 COBURG 342-5181
FR: Go 211--9:15; Rock
SA: Go 211--9:15; Rock

JOANNE RAND PLAYS WEDNESDAY AT SAM BOND'S GARAGE.

SAM BOND'S GARAGE
407 BLAIR 431-6603
TH: Ty Connor, Tom Heinl--9; Comedy, song
SA: National Poetry Slam Team Benefit--9:30; Spoken word
SU: Irish Jam--4; Whiskey Puppey, Andrew Kerr--8:30; Acoustic
MO: Lane Co. Bill of Rights Commitee benefit w/Paul Safar, The Wilder Bunch, Laughing Spirit Chorus--8; Variety
TU: Bluegrass Jam--9
WE: Joanne Rand--9; Acoustic

SAMURAI DUCK
980 OAK ST. 345-6577
TH: Bemiki--9:30; Reggae
FR: Wrekcreation, Fuck God in the Face, Blind Nil--9:30
SA: Sik9, Killing Faith, WHORE!--9:30; Metal
SU: Techno DJ--9:30
MO: 16, The Sofa King Killers--9:30
WE: Fusion Ball, Deprivation, Idiot Savants--9:30

SWEETWATER'S
VALLEY RIVER INN 687-0123
FR: Yacov Golian--8; Pop, folk vocals
SA: Yacov Golian--8; Pop, folk vocals

TACO LOCO
900 W. 7TH AVE. 683-9171
WE: Fuzz--7; Funk, jazz

TARASCO'S
100 E. BROADWAY
FR: Salsa w/DJ Mario Mora-9

TINY TAVERN
394 BLAIR BLVD. 687-8383
WE: The Great All Merge--10; Pre-primative
TU: Los Pistoleros--10; Latin polka

THE VOLCANO
535 MAIN ST., SPFD. 741-6001
TH: Blues Jam--9:15
MO: Karaoke--9:15
TU: Karaoke--9:15
WE: Ozone Baby--9:15; Rock

WILD DUCK MUSIC HALL
169 W. 6TH 485-3825
SA: Caliente--9:30; Salsa

ERASE ERRATA PLAYS AT THE WOW HALL ON WEDNESDAY.

WOW HALL ALL AGES
291 W. 8TH AVE. 687-2746
TH: Jyemo, Broadfunk--8:30; Jam, rock, reggae
WE: Erase Errata, The King Cobra, Shoplifting--9:30; Post punk rock

CORVALLIS

BOMBS AWAY CAFE
200 NW. 53RD ST. 752-9011
WE: Acoustic blues jam--7:30

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