In the world of modern blues, few artists have been as adept as Robert Cray at forming an enduring hybrid of classic R&B and Chicago-style influences. With his longtime collaborators Jim Pugh (keyboards), Richard Cousins (bass) and Tony Braunagel (drums), guitarist/vocalist Cray has crafted an instantly identifiable sound. His guitar tone is singular, clean, crisp and startlingly present, and his singing voice smooth and soulful - which might explain the multiple Grammy awards that adorn his mantel.
In August, the Robert Cray Band will release its 16th studio album, "Nothin' But Love." Though he's never released a less-than-strong record, this new one promises to be particularly special, as it marks the first time Cray and Co. have collaborated with storied producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley, who has worked with the likes of Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Rush and the Black Crowes. Revered for the crisp, live feel he brings to his recordings, Shirley captured the Cray Band in all its in-concert glory.
Sample some of that glory when the Robert Cray Band performs at 8 p.m. Monday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). Tickets are $29 advance, $32 day of show (box office, Ticketmaster).
-- Jeff Miers