Südseiten Festival, Vol 1: Guitar Ray & The Gamblers
GUITAR RAY & THE GAMBLERS was first formed in 2002 by Ray Scona, and
they have collected several collaborations and productions with
internationally renowned blues artists, including Jerry Portnoy, Otis Grand,
Big Pete Pearson, Paul Reddick, Roxanne Potvin, Deitra Farr, Lea Gilmore,
Jumping Johnny Sansone, Sonny Rhodes, Keith Dunn, Kirk Fletcher, Treves
Blues Band and took part to big festivals in the blues scene.
Between 2002 and 2004, the band performs on tour with Sonny Rhodes,
Keith Dunn, Paul Orta, Jumping Johnny Sansone, bringing around the world
the Blues from Texas, Chicago and New Orleans. In 2004, the guitarist Otis
Grand, with whom Ray Scona had collaborated in the past, produces his
first two albums: “New Sensation” and “Poorman Blues”. Latter is
immediately positioned in the Top 5 on “2008 International Pool” Blues News
in Germany, and is programmed by several broadcasters in Europe and U.S.
In 2005 the band comes to a turning point: at the Cazorla Blues Festival, in
front of an audience of 5000 people, the band meets Jerry Portnoy,
harmonica player for Muddy Waters, founder of Broadcasters with Ronnie
Earl, and who has played with Eric Clapton. Between Jerry and the band a
good feeling is immediately established, so that they start a wonderful
collaboration that lasts for two tours.
In 2007 the band participates to the album “Hipster Blues” by Otis Grand,
and in 2008 it performs with Otis himself together with Deitra Farr and Little
Jimmie Reed in front of CNN cameras at the International Festival Eclat in
Beirut, and in France in Limoges with Blues Extravaganza. In the same year
the band takes part to Otis’ Norway and Poland tours.
In December 2009 the band starts its first European tour with the current
name “Guitar Ray & The Gamblers”, hitting Germany, Belgium, France and
Denmark. A DVD named “As The Years Go Passing By” reporting this tour has
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In 2010, the band meets Paul Reddick, talented canadian harmonica player
and singer, winner in 2008 of the prestigious Maple Blues Award, author of
many songs featured in movies soundtracks, TV series, and commercials
(“I’m a Criminal” has been chosen by the Coca Cola Company for a TV
campaign in the U.S.). With Reddick and Roxanne Potvin, beautiful voice
and Canadian singer-songwriter, the band tours in the spring of 2010 in
France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy. In June, at the
french festival Auzon The Blues the band meets Lea Gilmore, journalist, singer
and civil rights activist based in Baltimore. Lea is fascinated by the
combination of her Gospel singing and Ray’s Blues, so decides to engage
the band for her european tour in the same year. Again in 2010, the group
takes part in two major festivals, the Gaverenwinkel Festival in Belgium and
the Blues En Loirein France. The band meets Big Pete Pearson, excellent
bluesman with countless collaborations with legends such as Ray Charles, BB
King, Muddy Waters and Etta James. The entente is excellent and an intense
collaboration immediately begins.
In 2011 and 2012 the band participates in three European tours with Big
Pete, and collaborates with him to “Choose”, a traditional Blues album
released in 2012 and produced by the american label Modesto Blues
In summer 2012 the band plays alongside Fabio Treves’ summer tour. In 2013,
after a short tour with Big Pete Pearson, Guitar Ray & The Gamblers back in
studio for the recording of the brand new album “PHOTOGRAPH”, with Paul
Reddick as producer.
In 2014 Ray & the Gamblers performed live in Europe and Italy in three
successful tour with Big Pete Pearson, Paul Reddick and the two time W.C.
Handy Award nominee, the great Kirk Fletcher.
In 2015 the band is on the road touring Italy, Switzerland and Czech
Republic to promote “Photograph”, and one more time in tour in England
and Italy with Otis Grand. Opening act for Deep Purple italian Tour as a
Treves Blues Band guest, playing Padova, Milan, Florence, Rome.
In 2016 one more time in tour with Big Pete Pearson, and on the E-Street
Band's Stage in Rome, Circo Massimo, as Treves Blues Band guest, opening
act for Bruce Springsteen.
Ray Scona : Vocal, Guitar
Gab D : Bass
Marcello Borsano: Drums
Manuele Ghirlanda: Piano