Hot on the heels of the highly acclaimed single Blue Haze comes the debut album from Byron Bay musical force Ray Sorenson. Silent Writer is the culmination of a lifetime's work from the widely admired singer-songwriter and a perfect example of an artist hitting his peak when many his age are winding down. Each wonderfully honest song unlocks a piece of what makes Ray Sorenson one of the best kept secrets in Australian country music.
A well-known musician on the North Coast of NSW, Ray has spent most of his life writing and touring the region, however he never found the right time to release an album of his own material. Now in his 50s, this accomplished musician has recorded an album that is the perfect representation of his life. 'Being still alive is a success in the music industry after all these years," Ray says. 'I've had a great time in the past 40 years, but I have never been where I am heading now."
Silent Writer is a country blues/alt-folk gem that captures the intensity of Ray's song writing and superb vocals. For a debut album it is an exceptionally crafted release. The production is faultless and his songs resonate on a variety of levels and sink into your skin the more you hear them.
'I had over 40 songs to choose from and I wanted a good mixture on the album," Ray says on the song selection process. 'There is a sort of a graph that fits with the song selection and I hope the album shows my versatility as a songwriter. It's very important to me that the songs stay honest. Maybe sometimes they're too honest. But they are a reflection of life up until now and I want to share that with Australian audiences."
Ray started working on Silent Writer back in 2010, but the songs go back as far as the early 70's. It's one of the reasons the album has an imposing air of maturity from start to finish. Each song, from the harmonica laden title track Silent Writer to the rhythmic swagger of It Didn't Work Out, invites the listener to take a peek through the window of Ray's soul. They are brutally honest, something that's become a trademark of his work.
'When we headed into record the release, the words were very important to me," Rays says. 'I needed to understand every word, and we achieved that. Most of my songs come through me, not from me in the early hours. It is hard to just sit down and write a song, but Steve James [producer] has moulded the songs and the musicians for which I am very grateful."
Steve James is an ARIA-award winning producer who has worked with the likes of Thin Lizzy, The Screaming Jets, Mental As Anything and The McClymonts. The album was recorded at Rockinghorse Studios and features an impressive cast of musicians – these include Dean Sutherland on bass and Warwick Scott on lead guitar (both founding members of iconic funk rock band Skunkhour) and the revered Lawrie Minson on pedal steel guitar. Ray Scott, one of the best harmonica players in the country, also features throughout the album.
Ray first had designs on recording an album back in 1986 after releasing his first single in Tamworth. 'I thought that recording an album would be quite simple," he says. 'I thought I would be able to just make a backyard recording and that would be it and everything else would look after itself, but how wrong was I! I am very grateful to the team I have behind me, they are all well experienced in the industry and they will look after me."
Ray has played countless shows along the East Coast of Australia and hopes to share Silent Writer with Australian audiences far and wide. 'People usually respond well to my originals, especially when I give a bit of a story about the song," he says. 'I hope the album does well and I can spend the rest of my life playing and writing my songs for people who want to hear them."
Ray Sorenson's debut album Silent Writer is released independently on Friday 31st October 2014.
Silent Writer is available via Ray Sorenson's website and all major digital retailers. For more information, please visit www.raysorenson.com