Texas bluesman Sugaray Rayford and his band (Gino Matteo on guitar, Ralph Carter on bass, Lavell Jones on drums, Drake Munkihaid Shining on keys, and Leo Dombecki on sax and keys) returned to their self-proclaimed second home this past weekend, treating their fans to a marathon Saturday night, house party set. Rayford and the band had The Birk's dance floor packed and rockin’ with his brand of Memphis soul. He led us through a blues journey with everything from B.B. King to Albert King to Lightnin’ Hopkins and plenty of Rayford’s original material penned with his writing partner Carter. Highlights included performances of “Texas Bluesman” celebrating his roots, a powerful rendition of “Call Off The Mission,” and the seductive groove of “Southside of Town”—watch a live video below from a previous visit to The Birk.
Sugaray Rayford is a big man with a big voice and his even bigger heart and soul shined on the last song of the night, a deeply personal performance of the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World” with Dombecki accompanying on the Hammond B3. It was the perfect close to a fantastic evening of music shared with family and friends at The Birk, which, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing venues in Oregon.