Sweet Ray Laurel began its formation when bassist Kenny Potter confronted his friend and guitarist Eric "La Bohem" Boehmker at a Halloween party that Kenny's then band Jon E Law was playing that night. Knowing that his band would not continue much further, Kenny asked Eric if he would like to put together a new band. Within a week , they had started playing together and trying to find other musicians to complete the fold. After trying out a handful of singers and guitarists, they came across Jims, frontman of the plreviously disbanded local space-punk band Prick B. Mafia, in late 2003. They met for a few practices and found an immediate chemistry.
They started writing songs as a 3-piece acoustic act with Kenny on bass, Jims on vocals and electric guitar, and Eric on acoustic. They played one show at Cincy Punk Fest '03 with this line-up feeling incomplete without drums. After trying out a couple drummers, Jims suggested his childhood friend Dane Dickmann with whom he had played many shows with while Dane was in the late local pop-punk band Uncle Pervey. The moment that he walked into Sweet Ray's practice space, they started playing and the intensity that the band was looking for was no longer a search. That day, Eric put down his acoustic guitar and started his new venture into the quick moving and effect driven blues leads that he would from then on be known for while he was in the band.
After writing a few new songs and taking songs from the former set list, they then started playing everywhere around the Cincinnati area. Their sound was constantly evolving from the beginning. Songs like "A Nomad at Home" (featured on the Bluegrass Disaster compilation) and "Jimmy's Song" showed influences that ranged from Neil Young to Bob Marley. They then stepped it up a notch when they wrote "Look Alive", "The Halo Effect", and "Radio Down" (featured on Sexy Killer Records Compilation '06 & Split EP with Silver Bridge Disaster) which showcased the band's new found explosive and passionate post-punk sound that would heat you up and cool you down a dozen times within a sometimes 7-minute experience. This is the sound that would dominate their setlists while playing every place in Cincy they could find and traveling around the midwest from '04-'08. During this time SRL was compiling random recordings for their (still unreleased) EP "Distance The Light". With their sound still evolving with more eclectic tastes ranging from aggressive soul to reggae, ska , and world music progressions, while also experimenting with different kinds of flowing harmonies, they found their EP to be an inconsistent mix of songs that would not truly capture the essence of their live show.
Around Summer of 2008 SRL recruited longtime friend and gifted musician Matt "Mattchu" Grone to join them on keyboards and synth and take their sound into a more spacey direction and new level of intensity. The band then made a unanimous decision to record and produce a full album themselves that would project their new style in a more organized fashion than the previous effort. After completing the rest of their shows for the year, they got to work.
During the recording sessions in late 2009, Eric decided to leave the band due to creative differences. This made the band have to refocus their ambitions and start anew. They immediately decided Mattchu would take over lead guitar while still playing keyboards, sometimes literally at the same time. The band then set off to finish the album and embrace their new 4-piece lineup.
After taking a break from playing out to rejuvenate the band's new form, Sweet Ray Laurel has announced a date for their self-titled album in January, 2011 and is now setting up shows to promote the release. The album will feature old favorites in a different form like "Freight Train" and "Radio Down", plus new songs such as "Gone" and "More" that accentuate their love for progressive time signatures and multi-layered orchestrations. Their first show back was their annual Halloween party "Dress up and Dance" on Oct 31st.
Sweet Ray Laurel is an adventurous band with surprises around every corner and live shows that will unite any crowd of any background. Stay tuned to see what happens next...........