Get To Know Larry McCray

Larry McCray and his band have been an integral part of the Michigan blues scene for over 20 years. He has released six studio albums and has received the prestige title of Orville Gibson Male Blues Guitarist in 2000.

Larry talks here about musical creativity:

If you can't step outside the lines and put any of your own influence, then there's not really much of a future left for musicians.

 I love Lou Milton’s voice, and I loved Freddy King’s guitar.  I loved different things about all of my mentors.   My mentors were B.B. King, Albert King, Freddy King, Albert Collins.  From there to Guitar Slim, to Slim Harpo, many many many many artists. 

But you have to draw a little bit from each one, and make it your own.  So if you’re going to play some Albert King guitar, then why not mix it in with some B.B. vocals, or maybe some Freddy power, or some rhythm from Albert?  You have to look at it from all spectrums, from rhythm, to vocals, to what the groove is saying, to how you’re going to approach it. 

So when we write, I think the primary focus is the groove.  How the groove fits together, what his part is, what my part is, how they all come together.  Once we get a groove and a chord change, and we hear the structure going, then we fill in the blanks with the vocals. 

I know a lot of people that write totally the other way; they write lyrics and then put music to it.  But to me that’s totally opposite, because how can you write about something, or write on a theme, when you don’t know the parameters of where the music is going?  So you box it in, and then you fill in the blanks.