Singles Club - Premiere Edition: Charlie and The Rays

Ladies and gentlemen, please say a warm hello to Charlie and The Rays.

This Seattle lady gang takes quite a few of their sonic cues from the bygone days of the Laurel Canyon golden age, adding some earnest campfire warmth and incredibly rich, powerful vocal harmonizing to their beautiful take on modern folk.

The main creative force behind Charlie and The Rays is the triad of Jordan Stobbe, Rebecca Stobbe, and Gracia Bridges, and they're fixing to release their self-titled long player tomorrow. If the divine "Blossom Child" is anything to go by, it's going to be a total knockout of a record.

"Blossom Child," which premieres right here, right now, has so much more substance to it than just sounding good. But more on that in a minute - I'll let Jordan explain. There's a wonderful tenderness to the song, a compassion that feels honest and heartfelt. Oh, and the harmonizing is simply off the charts.

So sit back, take a load off, and get acquainted with the lovely ladies of Charlie and The Rays. And why not listen to "Blossom Child" a time or two (read: incessantly) while you read a wee Q & A with Jordan.

How did y'all get together?

The three of us go WAY back! Rebecca and I back to birth (we're sisters), and Gracia and I became best friends in kindergarten. So I'd say we've "been together" practically our whole lives. Gracia and I from the very beginning always had grand imaginations and were constantly coming up with all sorts of strange and extravagant plans and ideas (building ziplines, attempting our own dog treat business, making music videos to our favorite pop songs, etc.), and in the summer of our junior year of high school (Rebecca was going into her sophomore year) Gracia proposed the idea of busking to Rebecca and I in the living room of my dad's house as we brainstormed fun summer things to do (so naturally -- busking?!). We all jumped at the idea and began learning cover songs. Even though we'd all been musically inclined growing up, we had never attempted anything of this sort before, and could barely strum an acoustic guitar at the time. With this new hobby, our passion began to grow for creating vocal harmony arrangements to our favorite oldies covers (songs by The Everly Brothers, The Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel to name a few), and we soon began to write our own music. This progression and evolution continued, and soon enough we had formed a band.

What artists/albums most inspired you as you worked on the new record?

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; The Preatures Girlhood; George Harrison All Things Must Pass; Freddie King; John Lennon Imagine and Double Fantasy; Paul McCartney RAM.

What's the story behind "Blossom Child"?

"Blossom Child" was one of those magical songs that comes to you through almost no conscious effort or awareness. I had been listening to John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" on repeat in the days prior to writing it, and one day I was in my kitchen after listening to it for the umpteenth time, grabbed my guitar and strummed out that beginning lick. The rest kind of just built off of that, and for weeks, I didn't quite know exactly what had inspired the lyrics. Someone in my life at the time used to call me "Blossom" after James Taylor's song "Blossom," but beyond that, it would take weeks before the meaning behind the rest of the lyrics and the person they were depicting would come to me in a stark realization. The person represented in the song as the "blossom child" is someone who was confused and unsettled in their life yearning to find happiness, young and immature in many ways, with dreams and passions so strong in forging their future that it created an unsettledness in the present, and an internal battle. In the song I try to bring comfort and peace to this person with a sweet delicate love and empathy, showing them the simple beauty in front of them, though sometimes aired with a frustrated tone. The chorus paints this struggle to be with someone who is "hiding their face," disguising and suppressing the internal strife, desires, and battles they experience.

If you could play a gig with any band, current or not, who would it be/why?

From the present, HAIM, or from the past, Janis Joplin or Joan Baez. Because those shows would emanate with the power of women and how RAD would that be?! We need more shows like that!

[posted 5.17.18]


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