By B. Simm
“My great-grandfather played banjo, ukulele. My grandfather played honk-tonk piano and accordion, and my uncle had a big band. They were all super musical,” recalls Lagace. “I remember, sitting around the pub, the house, backyard and hearing it all at basement parties. I was surrounded by that circle, which was kind of ragtimey and what I listened to before recorded music. That’s where a lot of Son of Ray came from.”
A product of the ‘80s Lagace fell in with reggae and then the grunge explosion playing in local bands before moving to Calgary ten years ago. He started out in folky bars, including the infamous Bar Named Sue then hosting the jam at the Unicorn Pub for five years. Along the way he bartended, became a school teacher, a songsmith and roamed around Australia with his wife before landing back in Calgary.
Keeping It Real, recently recorded by Lorrie Matheson, captures a full spectrum of lively roots grit that includes the front porch stomp, train track shuffles, East Coast shanties and some ragged blues. Essentially a one-man band (although he’s now assembled a back-up group), Lagace has an impressive sandpaper tenor and Son of Ray’s delivery reminiscent of the Waterboy’s glory days with Fisherman’s Blues.
The lead track off the album, “No Regrets,” sums up Lagace’s commitment to make sacrifices and play music more than anything else. “I would get up to teach, and it was such a battle sometimes. The song is about living in the moment, moving on from the past with no regrets. “
Son of Ray’s CD release is Fri., Dec. 12 at the Palomino.AB, Alberta, Palomino, Rob Lagace, Son of Ray