Digital images of Ray Goren by Kurt Swanson and Soulful Impressions
Ray Goren (born on March 19, 2000 in New York City) is an American musician from Southern California who sings and plays guitar and keyboard. Through grass-roots support, Ray has emerged onto the scene appearing on the main stages of the nationally acclaimed Doheny Blues Festival (2012) and the Detroit Jazz Festival (2011) to name just a few.
Before the age of three, Ray was playing nursery songs on a toy keyboard. By the age of five Ray was listening to jazz and playing by ear his own versions of songs by his favorite artists, Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Jackie McLean and Oscar Peterson.
Ray’s musical life took a turn when, while surfing the web, he stumbled on a clip of BB King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and Jeff Beck all playing together “Sweet Little Angel”. Ray has said that when he heard the music he “felt something that I never felt before. I still don’t have words to describe the feeling but it was strong and powerful”. Before that day was over Ray had discovered and was listening to, Albert King, Luther Alison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Otis Rush among others.
In the spring of 2009, merely a few months after starting to play guitar, Ray was at Hermosa Beach on a Sunday afternoon having lunch with his father at Café Boogaloo. Blues harmonica player Mason Casey was performing there with his band. Mason invited Ray to sit-in making it the first time Ray played guitar outside of his room. After that day, and throughout the summer of 2009, Ray sat-in with Mason Casey and his band at numerous venues in the Los Angeles area.
In the fall of 2009, Ray went to see blues legend Deacon Jones (band leader for John Lee Hooker and Freddie King). Bass player Mike Hightower, who had played with Ray during the summer as part of the Mason Casey band, persuaded Deacon to let Ray sit-in. As Deacon later said: “It was love at first note”. Ray became a regular part of Deacon’s band, playing in numerous venues in Southern California. Approximately six months later, Ray played guitar on two songs on Deacon’s self-released Tribute to John Lee Hooker album titled “The Day The Blues Stood Still”.
On May 22, 2011, Ray led his own band for the first time. The show took place at the Coach House Theatre in San Juan Capistrano. The band was comprised of Ray (guitar and vocals), Deacon Jones (Organ), Tony Braunagel (Drums), Bob Gloub (bass) and John Sosin (Ray’s longtime music teacher on guitar). The performance was professionally recorded and filmed.