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Robert Cray (born August 1, 1953) is an American blues musician, guitarist, and singer.
By the age of twenty, Cray had seen his heroes Albert Collins, Freddie King and Muddy Waters in concert and decided to form his own band; they began playing college towns on the West Coast. After several years of regional success, Cray was signed to Mercury Records in 1982. His third album release, Strong Persuader, produced by Dennis Walker, received a Grammy Award, while the crossover single "Smokin' Gun" gave him wider appeal and name recognition.
By now, Cray was an opening act for such major stars as Eric Clapton (who remains a friend to this day), and sold out larger venues as a solo artist. By the early 1990s, his name was immediately associated with his soothing, soulful voice, crisp, clean guitar work, and innovative modern blues sound. Cray has generally played Fender guitars (Telecasters and Stratocasters) and there are two signature Robert Cray Stratocasters models available from Fender. The Robert Cray Custom Shop Stratocaster is made in the U.S. in the Fender custom shop and is identical to the guitars that Cray currently plays, while the Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster is a less-expensive model made in Fender's Ensenada, Mexico plant.
Cray had the opportunity to play alongside John Lee Hooker on his album Boom Boom, playing the guitar solo in the song "Same Old Blues Again". He is also featured on the critically-acclaimed Hooker album, The Healer; he plays a guitar solo on the song "Baby Lee".
Cray was invited to play at the "Guitar Legends" concerts in Seville, Spain at the 1992 Expo, where he played a signature track, "Phone Booth", wowing the audience. Albert Collins was also on the bill on this blues night of the "Legends" gigs.
Cray continues to record and tour. He appeared at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, and supported 'Slowhand' on his 2006-2007 world tour. In Fargo, ND, he joined Clapton on backup guitar for the classic Cream song "Crossroads".
Also, in the film Animal House, Cray is the unaccredited bassist in the house party band Otis Day and the Knights.