Monday, 6 July 2015

Ray Of Light

Nope, not another Madonna posting. This one's about one of England's finest singer-songwriters Gemma Ray. An Essex girl, Gemma makes a marvellous melange of musical sounds, but mainly based around her twangy, swampy guitar (Lil One Arm, as she calls it). She blends retro soul, pop, rock and film scores and ends up with something that sounds like none of that and all of that at the same time.

To date, Gemma has released six studio albums, one of which was a collaboration with Thomas Wydler (of the Bad Seeds) comprising of instrumental music that formed an imaginary soundtrack for a film that hasn't been made. Her third record, 2010's 'It's A Shame About Gemma Ray' was a most intriguing covers album, mixing up songs by Buddy Holly, Shirley Bassey and George & Ira Gershwin, with Sonic Youth, Mudhoney and Gallon Drunk. In 2011 she recorded a single with Sparks and her 2012 album 'Island Fire' became the most highly acclaimed of her career. Her most recent effort, 'Milk For Your Motors' from last year, wowed the critics once more. She embarks on a short tour of France at the end of this month.

I know George over at the frankly brilliant Jim McLean's Rabbit is a bit of a fan as he posted an article featuring a Gemma Ray track not long back. 'Milk For Your Motors' was also on London Lee's Listening list for some time on Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop. So I'm in great company in my liking of her. I also recall the first time I heard Lana Del Ray and thinking "Gemma Ray's been doing this sort of thing for years!"

I've chosen four of my favourite Gemma tracks that I think best represent what she's all about. Alight! Alive! in particular is a mixtape regular.


And here's the marvellous cinematic video for 100MPH (In Second Gear), from her second album 'Lights Out Zoltar!':


  1. Thanks, Robster. Gemma Ray is, as you say, maybe a bit difficult to categorise musically, she seems quite versatile, there's a bit of many genres in there. Love the quite hautning twanginess of You Changed Me.