According to the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, MN), "The clarity and precision of Ray’s bottleneck playing, as it swoops and dives through his vocal lines, is so well-honed and has such an alluringly liquid quality that it puts him in a league with the best on the planet." Ray was raised in the hill country of Southeast Minnesota and took up the guitar at a young age. When he was just 17, he hit the road for the first time and relocated to Memphis TN where he discovered the soul of American roots music. It was in those early years that Jeff took up the slide-guitar and began the long journey of crafting his unique style of songwriting and resonator slide-guitar that he affectionately calls 'Zen Blues'.
Ray's four studio releases showcase his interests in the traditional forms of Folk, Bluegrass, Blues and East-Indian music, but his recordings also illustrate a progression from shy songwriter to road-worn performer. It was in 2005 that Ray had an eye-opening experience when he landed an opening slot for the infamous Blues/Folk songster Chris Smither. From that performance, Ray was inspired to adapt his music into a one-man-band sound that, while still rooted in the Blues, incorporated the Folk, Bluegrass and World music styles that his listeners have grown accustomed to.
Ray’s most recent release, BLUE MARA, has received critical acclaim. Some critics have even compared his playing to greats like Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Derek Trucks and Duane Allman, to name a few. Jeff’s ‘Zen Blues’ style continues to draw worldwide attention as he continues to tour and promote BLUE MARA – a Delta Blues and Appalachian-inspired album of homegrown slide-stomp-blues.