'Mondo Magneto' is real fresh and a little bit nasty. It sounds like he's leaning my way on 'Soft Machine', like he did onstage with me.
Brian Ray has spent his entire career performing, writing and recording with a who's who of musical artists. Now, finally, the guitarist/songwriter/singer/producer is releasing his first solo album, Mondo Magneto.
The multi-faceted, multi-talented musician has worked either performing, writing or recording with an impressive and diverse list of artists, from R&B legend Etta James (with whom Brian toured and served as musical director straight out of high school) to penning Smokey Robinson's award winning "One Heartbeat", to his current gig playing guitar, bass and singing with Paul McCartney.
Opportunities to write and record with a myriad of successful artists came easily to Brian, and one can find his resume in the racks at any major record store in the world. Add scoring for television and film to his long list of collaborations both onstage and off, and it's easy to understand how someone takes this long to get around to writing, producing and recording his first solo CD. "People have always asked me when I was going to do my own thing," Brian laughs, "I guess I was just busy."
On Mondo Magneto, the fresh, modern songwriting blends perfectly with the more traditional, classic rock, pop and R&B influences from Brian's years of listening to and working with some of music's most legendary artists. Finding the musicians to perform with him on his own CD was easy - he called on his friends Abe Laboriel, Jr., Wix Wickens and Rusty Anderson, all from Paul McCartney's current band, along with Weezer's Scott Shriner and Davey Faragher from Elvis Costello's band. Etta James' special guest appearance on the sexy "Soft Machine" adds even more to the exceptional line-up that Brian pulled together for this record.
Since Brian is known primarily as a guitar player, one would expect his own album to rock hard, as it does on songs like "Goin Down Swingin'" [written with Oliver Leiber, son of Jerry Leiber]. A great songwriter such as Brian Ray is able to use his songs to tell tales that the listener relates to, and that is the case with all the tracks on this CD.
The opening track on Mondo Magneto, "Good For Nothing", kicks the CD off with a fresh, smart rocker with strong radio potential. Vocal harmonies and an upbeat tempo put us in the mood to listen to the rest of the songs on the album. Another, "I Liked You Better" [written with Oliver and Adam Cohen, son of Leonard], is a tongue in cheek foray into those relationships we get into when we are under the influence, and shows the harder rock edge to Brian's music. "Vinyl" shows off his story-telling talents in a modern rock setting, and one feels they are listening to a biography of someone who grew up in the rock era. The two ballads, "All I Know" and "If You're Leaving Me", reveal the inner life of a true artist.
On Mondo Magneto, Brian Ray offers up a contemporary rock album built around his years of experience playing and writing with some of the biggest names in music. He has taken the lessons of a career and put them into a debut album that only someone with Brian's knowledge and talent would be able to do their first time out.