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With the power of a gale force wind, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones new album Seeing Is Believing blows out of our speakers, blowing with a groove so transcendent that it propels us higher and higher out of ourselves. The band—Monster Mike Welch on guitars, Anthony Geraci on pianos and Hammond organ, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass, and Neil Gouvin on drums, Norcia on vocals and harmonica—never wastes any notes, from the opening Mississippi blues of “Sweet Baby,” that features Norcia’s down-and-dirty harmonica and his signature blues growl, and the wink-and-a-nod jazz blues of “Misses Blues” to the smoky lounge tune “Not Me” and the downright moving guitar instrumental tribute to B.B. King “You Know I Love You.” Sugar Ray and the Bluetones wring every emotion out of us even as they show us just how blues ought to be played; we don’t have to see the band to believe them, though; one listen to this new album is plenty enough to convince us that Sugar Ray and the Bluetones deliver the best blues and jazz on the planet. – Henry Carrigan, No Depression.
It was a beautiful day at The North Atlantic Blues Festival held in Rockland, Maine in July of 2014. Sugar Ray and the Bluetones were on stage dispensing their brawny blues chops and mesmerizing the crowd. The Bluetones are a true blues band in every sense of the word. The mutual respect the members have for one another is the real standard for this outfit.
Sugar Ray Norcia is the front man and leader of the group, but the members of the Bluetones are in complete agreement that the sum is greater than the parts. I introduced the Bluetones at a show in May and was pondering how to present them to the audience. My thoughts returned to that day in Maine. I walked on the stage, held the microphone and announced: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, The Greatest Blues Band in America… Sugar Ray and the Bluetones! Enough said. – John Hall, Music Event Promoter, Rhythm Room Entertainment, Marshfield, MA
Sugar Ray Norcia: Vocals and Harmonicas
Monster Mike Welch: Guitars
Anthony Geraci: Piano and Hammond Organ
Michael Mudcat Ward: Bass
Neil Gouvin: Drums
Sugar Ray Norcia plays Hohner® harmonicas and uses Sonny Jr. Harp Amps
Monster Mike Welch uses Lollar Pickups, Barber Electronics and Curt Mangan® strings
Anthony Geraci appears courtesy of Delta Groove Music
Cover photography by Joseph A. Rosen, New York, NY
All other photography by Denise Maccaferri Photography, Plymouth, MA
Graphic Design by Al Brandtner, Brandtner Design, Chicago, IL
Sugar Ray and the Bluetones would like to express their gratitude and love to the following: Patty, Louise, Jesse, Marie, Lauren, Gia, Michael Norcia, Louise, Judy, Ella Geraci, Jeannette and Joaquin, Jan and Dan Welch, Chet and Linda Niedbala, Andrea Miller, Jason, Zaklina, Todd, Mikayla, Ann Ward, Jan Gouvin, David and Bridget Earl and the team at Severn Records, Kit Holliday, Isabelle Cattez, Peter ‘Hi-Fi” Ward, Clay, Aria Tudanger and Ember, Keith Asack, Harty Wiedemann, Marie Thompson, Erkan Özdemir, Ola Dixon, Ronnie Owens and Eller Soul Records, Nick Moss, Mike Ledbetter, Marty Richards and Lori Urso, Otis Grand, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard and his band, Dick Shurman, Chefjimi Patricola, Jeff Scott Fleenor, Michael Cloeren, Charles and Tracy Ross (Tampa Bay), Barbara Newman, Joe Whitmer, Paul Benjamin, The Blues Foundation, John Chan, Fred Taylor, Boston Blues Society, Gina McClain, Peter Black, Greg Sarni, Holly Harris, Tom Reney, Robert Kempf, Patrick and Claudine Van Speybrock, John Hall and Ellie Johnson, Nick Loss-Eaton, Sonny Jr., Tom Hazeltine, Moe and Joe Marino, Fred and Trina Smolen, Dominic and Lisa Rello, Jeffrey Aptt.