The rambunctious Grand Rapids rock, blues and rockabilly duo celebrates release of an ’emotional’ new recording with a robust, three-band show Saturday at The Pyramid Scheme.
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In its heyday a handful of years ago, the Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish duo was tabbed as one of those “most likely to succeed” bands from West Michigan.
The raw and hyper-energetic blues, rock and rockabilly outfit founded in 2013 by guitarist and singer Jesse Ray Cahue has wowed West Michigan fans, toured the country and released chart-topping albums.
But with the onset of the COVID pandemic and the quarantines that followed, the duo featuring Jesse Ray and drummer Brandon Hopp stayed hunkered down and mostly unheard from.
Fans will be pleased to know they weren’t idle: The duo releases its first new album since 2019’s “Love & Luck” as part of a three-band show Saturday at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.
“Over the last few years, we have been practicing, writing and scheming to record and release this record. We spent some time apart while we were in quarantine, but stayed connected through long phone calls reminiscing about our time shared on the road, and a primal need to play again,” Jesse Ray told Local Spins.
“I’d have to say that the shutdown had a large role to play in our delay to get back to the stage. I wouldn’t consider ourselves perfectionists per se, but we wanted to give ourselves enough time for practice to get our chops back to, and hopefully beyond, where we left them.”
The new, self-titled album “is quite different from other releases as it has more instruments and attitude,” Jesse Ray insisted. “Where (2016’s) ‘Angry’ was just angry for the sake of a young man’s anger, the new record is more complicated and emotional with the occasional outburst.”
He added that he views the new collection as “self-reflective and tends to look inward rather than outward.”
But it’s still brimming with that signature, in-your-face Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish: “It’s heavy in rock ‘n’ roll with some roots-style ballads and nods to early country and blues.”
After playing two straight days – covering nine hours on stage – at the Detroit Bourbon Fest earlier this month, the duo is primed for a Saturday night rock romp at The Pyramid Scheme. The duo has a reputation for rambunctious, high-spirited performances.
“What I think fans can expect from the upcoming release show is a great night for local rock and roots,” Jesse Ray said of the event that will also feature sets from Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps and The Local Commuters.
“We’re overjoyed to have this bill. Patty Pershayla & The Mayhaps and The Local Commuters are two acts we wouldn’t want to miss under the same roof. Any lover of the local scene shouldn’t miss it either.”
Advance tickets for the show are $15 and available online here. Doors open at 7 p.m.
LISTEN: “Good Pickin’,” Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish
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