Ray - Universe Records

Ray will be making blog entries here for Fly To The Sun questions sent in on our Contact page. Feel free to send in your remarks or questions…

Q – I am anxious to hear this music. When did you realize that you would pursue this project? – John, N.Y.

Ray – I’ve been wanting to do a new music project for some time, but wanted it to be unique and exciting, and have meaning to the listeners.  In early 2021, I put together the title track with the band and sent it over to my highly respected music friend, Andrew Giddings, long time Jethro Tull member.  He wrote back telling me that he ended up humming it for most of the day, and that he would be listening for it on the radio!  That was another indication that we may be onto something because Andrew tells it like it is.  The project grew from there.

Q – I heard a pre-release of the song Learn To Love Again.  Truly outstanding!  Can’t wait for the release.  Very exciting!  Who played guitar and keys on that song?  Magical…love your voice.  – Karen, FL.

Ray – Thank you Karen.  Jennifer Batten played the majority of the guitar parts on that song, including that wonderful solo.  Andrew Giddings played the very complex keyboard sections, including the solo that takes me back to those great keyboard bands like ELP, Yes, Genesis, etc.  Alex Grata also plays some keys on that song, as he did on all songs of the EP.  Very talented musician and producer.

Q – Can you tell me a bit more about Jennifer’s guitar background etc.?  Super talented player! – Eric, Toronto, CA.

Ray – Jennifer Batten is a world class guitarist, a true pioneer in guitar mastery.  She is highly respected and known to be one of the top female guitarists in the world.  Her amazing tapping techniques, electronic wizardry, and multi-pedal use are second to none.  She toured with the wonderful Jeff Beck and also developed songs for him.  She was also Michael Jackson’s guitarist for many years, chosen by him to be in his band out of many auditions from world class guitarists.  I first saw her play live in 1993 at the Rose Bowl when Michael was the half time show.  She blew my mind then and still does.  Happy to have her in the band!

Q – When you write the lyrics to a song, how and when does it work into the music when that is written, and what inspires you when writing lyrics. – Anonymous

Ray – Thanks for the questions.  Many people do the writing process in different ways.  Sometimes I will write the lyrics, and then put music to the format and structure of the lyrics.  Other times I will get a rhythm track put together and make lyrics work for that structure.  There’s no right or wrong way to put a song together.  As for lyric inspiration, some find they are most creative when first awaking, and they keep a recorder or phone app  bedside so if something pops into the head they can record the thought or riff before they lose the idea.  I write when the mood and ideas hit me, and that varies greatly.  One song on the new record was a lot of fun to write.  It was after midnight and I was sitting on the edge of bed, dog tired,  ready to call it a day, when suddenly an entire song came to me, and I recorded it on my phone so I could work on it the next morning.  It’s one of my favorite all time lyrical works, and I think folks will like it when the EP is released later this year.  No hints on that one because we may also license it commercially…

Q – I heard a sample of one of your songs through a radio friend.  Really amazed and the guitarist is brilliant.  I see you have 3 guitars in the band.  Will the CD note who played on each song?   Barry - Toronto

Ray – Thank you Barry.  Well on vinyl albums there’s a lot of room for info.  But there are obvious space constraints on CD jackets, and we’ve found many do not have time to read through tiny CD booklet inserts.  We will put the players and their instruments on the back cover of the jacket, but maybe we can list out each song here on the website someday with more specific information on each individual song and who played what on each song.  We are also considering vinyl, so if we make those too then we’d have tons of room.  Great point you brought up.  Thanks.