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Music Review - `Tennessee Alabama Fireworks` by Boo Ray (jh)

Boo Ray  - Tennessee Alabama Fireworks  (click on image to watch video)

27 May 2019 


Fireworks stands to mark the borders of several states, and the one on the Tennessee- Georgia border becomes not only the title but a metaphor of sorts for troubadour outlaw country guitar-slinger Boo Ray, marrying his Georgian southern rock with the honky-tonk of Nashville, where the album was recorded live-to-tape with producer Noah Shain and Ray’s East Nashville band. The album has plenty of southern gothic lore  and explosive moments as Ray, in his own words, explores the “nitty-gritty, guts and ugly parts of the human experience today.” 

Ray originally hails from North Carolina, spent time in southern California, and has since made that five-hour trek from Athens, GA to Nashville countless times. From hardscrabble beginnings, he’s starting to find some success. This could be a breakthrough of sorts.

One can easily learn that Ray’s a talented writer before even putting on one tune. View this passage in the liners – “The Tennessee Alabama Fireworks sign that stood on the side of I-24W appeared like a surreal, southern gothic effigy carved in the hillside as you rounded the bend and began to climb up the Cumberland Plateau…and the bands touring in and out of Nashville, has the image of that sign indelibly etched on their consciousness and might associate it with the way they felt when they’ve gone barreling by.”

Drawing from the poets he admires including Tony Joe White, Jerry Reed, and Willie Nelson, Boo Ray has plenty to say, kicking off with “A Tune You Can Whistle,” commenting on the difficulties we now have communicating in the world of distractions through the lens of Ray’s keen observations. The joyous, rocking “Don’t Look Back” follows. "Gone Back Down to Georgia" and "20 Questions" owe to Jerry Reed’s lyrical approach and his soulful southern rock Muscle Shoals sound that he established. 

Ray then proves he’s more versatile in the touching, affectionate “She Wrote the Song.” He addresses a heartbreaking critical care scenario in “Outrun the Wind” following the gentle pedal-steel drive preamble “Dee Elle” and country-rocker  “We Ain’t Got the Good.” Honky-tonk rave-up, politically tinged “Skin & Ink” closes. Ray’s music plays like the best of a honky-tonk roadhouse but digs in; his lyrics and viewpoints are the more intriguing part of his artistry. 



Jim Hynes



Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here




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