Ray Goren is an up and coming singer/guitarist/songwriter who recently recorded two EP’s with legendary producer Eddie Kramer. Not familiar with Kramer’s work? Think Are You Experienced, Axis Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland. Yup, he produced all three. (If you’re not familiar with those albums, we need to have a serious talk). Goren’s style is an interesting hybrid of R&B, soul and blues with a most decidedly heavy guitar thrown in the mix.
The first EP, LA Sessions contains five songs which highlight Goren’s penchant for variety.
Gotta Learn has a funky, swinging R&B infused feel with a clean, jangly electric rhythm guitar and electric piano. Just when you think you have the song pegged, the lead guitar break kicks in–with a very big kick. A soaring, Hendrix-style guitar solo with big note bends fed with Goren’s wah-wah pedal which pans from left to right and back again (especially cool when listened to with headphones). The pan effect is something right out of Jimi’s playbook.
There’s the obligatory ballad, Memories. The song itself is fairly undistinguished, but redeems itself with Goren’s tasty, bluesy solo.
Weight of the World is an interesting piece. It’s light and bouncy, with a really cool chime-like guitar riff. What really distinguishes the song are the lyrics, which attest to Goren’s tender age. “I can’t really understand what love and life’s about. Am I too young, are you too old it makes me want to scream and shout.”
All She Needs is Me is another very R&B-like ballad with prominent keyboards. Again, the song fools the listener, thinking it’s going to be another mellow tune—which it is, until the guitar solo. It’s easy to make the Hendrix comparison, particularly with Kramer producing, but yes…the kid can really wail.
Stop Waiting is the strongest track on the album. The song starts as if it’s going to be yet another easy ballad, then kicks in with a bruising power chord riff, cool female soul backup singers on the chorus leading to yet another very Hendrix-like screaming wah solo. Really cool feedback ending, too.
LA Sessions is a very promising debut from Goran, and it will be interesting to see what he has in store for us when the second EP is released later this year.