Artist of the Month – Ray Davies
May 1, 2017
At first glance, it may seem a little odd – bizarre, even – that Ray Davies should be releasing an album called ‘Americana’. This, after all, is one of the finest songwriters to ever emerge from Britain, and one whose frequently wry and observational eye is rooted in a very deep sense of Englishness.
Yet to view the newly knighted Davies’ first solo album in almost 10 years as something out of character is to miss out on the influence the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave had on Ray and the rest of his generation.
America held post-war British kids in thrall thanks to a combination of cultural factors; Cowboys and Indians, TV, comic books and, of course, rock’n’roll. This perfect storm hit a generation that had just missed out on National Service, and the response from these shores was to refine those influences and send them reverberating back home where they came from.
And they’ve always been there, for anyone who cares to listen, in Davies’ music. Be it the fingerprints of Bob Dylan on ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone?’ or the dusting for them on 1971’s ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ album. But what Ray Davies has always done so well is to take those influences and hold a mirror up to them, becoming an influence himself.
Crucially, ‘Americana’ – the first part of two musical companions to his 2013 book of the same name – finds Ray Davies doing what he always does best. He observes, he notes and he reports back on a world that’s instantly recognisable to anyone who’s stepped out of their front door, wherever it may be. What’s also in evidence is a lack of nostalgia, no listening through rose-tinted headphones.
Indeed, to listen to a song like ‘Poetry’ is to realise that Ray Davies is as much a product of the present as you or I. This isn’t the lamentation of somebody yearning for a youth that headed west a long time ago but a shrewd and insightful reflection of where we’re all at. And so by staying rooted in the present, we find ourselves, somewhat ironically, with vintage Ray Davies.
There’s a canny blending of cultures at play here, too. Recorded at his own Konk Studios with Minnesota’s The Jayhawk’s providing the backing, Ray Davies mixes potent ingredients with all the skill and knowledge of a master chef at work.
The result is, unsurprisingly, a heady brew and one that satisfies on many different levels – the authenticity of the music, the sincerity of the lyrics, the joyous mixture of them all.
‘Americana’ is the sound of a master songwriter and craftsman doing what he does best. The franes of reference may come from where you least expect it but the honesty and universal truths that have always beat at the heart of Ray Davies’ songs are all present and correct.
This is the same Ray Davies that you’ve come to know and love over the years only more so. That second part can’t come round soon enough.
With the ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ 20 Year Collectors’ Edition released on December 7th, our final Artist of the Month of 2018 is Manic Street Preachers.Read more
With ‘In The Blue Light’ released this month, and with his final tour coming to a close, our Artist of the Month for September is perhaps the greatest contributor to the American Songbook, Paul Simon.Read more
Ten years since their rulebook-defying, multi-platinum eponymous debut, The Script are our Artists of the Month for August.Read more
With a new tour and a comprehensive set of vinyl reissues on the way, our Artist of the Month for July is cult alt. rock Glaswegian outfit Teenage Fanclub…Read more
Ray Davies’ journey through America continues in ‘Our Country: Americana Act II’, out nowRead more
As the former Kinks frontman turns his eyes back stateside on ‘Our Country: Americana Act II’, out June 29, we present Ray Davies, our Artist of the Month for June…Read more
As we revisit one of The Boss’ most urgent, powerful eras, our artist of the month for May is the one and only Bruce Springsteen.Read more
Far too prolific to have a single signature tune, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ is nonetheless the track our Artists of the Month, Eurythmics, are perhaps best known for. but it wasn’t the first or last song about the popular nocturnal hallucinations. Here’s our dreams top ten…Read more
There are few bands that have not only come to define a decade, but also to transcend it, with music that’s inarguably timeless. Ladies and gentlemen, our Artists of the Month for March: Annie Lenox and Dave Stewart. Eurythmics.Read more
Legendary authors of countless Rock Classics and with brand new music surfacing shortly, our Artist of the month for February is the one and only ToTo…Read more
40 years on from perhaps his greatest masterpiece – and in the year that will see War of The Worlds return to UK stages as well as turntables worldwide – we’re celebrating the orchestral genius of Jeff Wayne.Read more
For teaching a generation that ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Ladies & Gentlemen. Our December Artist of the Month. Adam Ant.Read more
Joining forces with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the late Roy Orbison releases ‘A Love So Beautiful’, a re-scored collection of classics from his inimitable songbook. We couldn’t be prouder to name America’s Maestro our Artist of the Month.Read more
One of the most groundbreaking, inventive and entertaining artists of the modern era, George Michael was also one of a handful of stars to successfully walk the line from Pop Sensation to Critically Acclaimed Artist.
For these and countless other reasons, George Michael is our Artist of the Month.Read more
With the seminal ‘Through The Barricades’ celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, the peerless Spandau Ballet are our artists of the month for September. Plus you can win a a pair of tickets to Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades Remastered/Revisited documentary screening and live Q&A on 12th September at The Soho Hotel.Read more
This month, we join the world in celebrating the life and music of Elvis Presley. The King is our Artist of the Month.Read more
Join us as we look back on one of the most incredible careers in pop…Read more
As the former Kinks frontman and new international treasure celebrates his 73rd birthday this week, we’re proud to present ‘Ray Davies – A Love Story’, a collection of your recollections of how this legendary singer-songwriter has touched your lives, from his earliest days to this year’s ‘Americana’ album.Read more
As Foo Fighters prepare to headline one of the biggest stages of them all, we’re proud to crown Dave Grohl and co our Artist of the Month for June.Read more
Our Artist of the Month Ray Davies has recorded a new single for the BBC…Read more
Our Artist of the Month, Ray Davies, is one of our most beloved songwriters, whose music has touched so many lives. Now we want your stories.Read more
With his ‘Americana’ album out now, our Artist of the Month is Kinks frontman and international treasure, Ray Davies…Read more
Legendary Kinks frontman and new American treasure, Ray Davies, releases his first album of new material in over nine years – ‘Americana’.Read more
Is it really 10 years since the release of Manic Street Preachers’ eighth studio album and muscular return to form, ‘Send Away The Tigers’? The Manics are our Artist of the Month for April.Read more
As one of the most original, influential and culturally fascinating artists to have emerged in the 20th century, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941 has also proved to be one of its most divisive…Read More...
Dr John Cooper Clarke and The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell run down ‘This Time It’s Personal’ – out now – one track at a time…Read more
Affectionately known as ‘The Bard of Salford’, performance poet John Cooper Clarke’s career has spanned some 40 years…Read more
A Run Down Of Buckley’s CoversRead more
Jeff Buckley is our Artist of the Month throughout March. This week we uncover 6 great videos that shed a new light on our hero.Read more
Take a look at Jeff Buckley’s musical influences…Read more
Watch the video for ‘I Know It’s Over’…Read more
Here are 4 rare and amazing performances from our Artist of the MonthRead more
Discover more about the Original Soundtrack…Read more
An intro to Janis Joplin’s biggest track and an insight into the 60’s with these 2 ultimate playlistsRead more
To celebrate the release of the film ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue’, Janis Joplin is our Artist of the Month for February.Read more
Listen to 3 tracks from the forthcoming Bootleg series now!Read more
Bob Dylan’s 5th album “Bringing It All Back Home” was released in 1965 and was half acoustic half electric. What’s the story behind this artwork?Read more
‘Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol 12’ is a deluxe 6CD anthology that will be released on November 6th.Read more
Did you not get a chance to see him live in Cyprus Avenue earlier this month? Then we’ve got a surprise for you…Read more
Last week, we brought to you 4 ultimate playlists… This week we give you 3 new playlists to rediscover overarching themes from the Van Morrison catalogue.Read more
An intro to Van Morrison’s amazing catalogue with these 4 ultimate playlists.Read more
Stop everything you’re doing and join the club of very famous Van-atics!Read more
Discover Paul Young’s life in music, from his influences to favourite live shows…Read more
In the UK alone, Van Morrison has earned over 20 top 20 albums, including an astounding 13 which were top 10… Van Morrison is our artist of the month for September!Read more
Don’t miss out on Paul Young’s Top Tracks and Ultimate Setlist playlists…Read more
Paul Young is one of the 80s biggest stars. Let’s take a look back at his performances on Top of the Pops…Read more
Paul Young became one of the 80s biggest pop stars, but how many of these facts do you know?Read more
Federico tells us the story of Miles Davis, with 10 chosen tracks which form “the ultimate soundtrack to a large part of the 20th century”.Read more
There are many miles of love for Miles Davis’ recently released Bootleg 4 reissue…Read more
Sadly the Foos won’t be playing Glastonbury this year, but here are our top 5 favourite videos of the band, including funny Dave Grohl moments…Read more
Time to revise all your classics before Glastonbury with the ultimate playlistRead more
They’ve been going for 20 years and headlining Glastonbury this month… How many of these facts did you know?Read more
The Foo Fighters are our artist of the month. Gearing up to headline Glastonbury, the band are set to have a great summer and have lots more to come.Read more
Big news from the Miles Davis camp…Read more
We’ve selected 5 videos you have to watch!Read more
Every month at Legacy HQ, we will be picking essential tracks from our Artist of the Month in this brand new playlist.Read more
Did you know our Artist of the Month turned his life around aged 32? Have you ever heard ‘Hallelujah’ in hebrew?Read more
As his new album ‘Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour’ is released this month, we will be looking back at Leonard’s finest throughout the month of May.Read more