When Marcy Rae went to a blues festival in Crosby, Texas, in 1992, she had no idea that she would return as Sweet Mama Cotton
. But there was little doubt that she would be playing and singing the blues. Marcy, born and raised in the chilly outpost of Fargo, North Dakota, has spent her musical career preparing to play the blues. Her many years of piano training and performing in bands from California to Israel brought her to Texas, home of some of the hottest blues in the world.
Marcy’s musical interests are diverse, but all these influences have combined to produce a musical approach that is inclusive of all forms of music. Her blues repertoire includes standards such as “Stormy Monday” and “Down Home Blues”, as well as classics from the jazz/blues era of Bessie Smith and Sippie Wallace. She also rocks out on Chuck Berry style tunes and some funky dance tunes like “Shaky Ground”. Her diverse background has expanded her repertoire to include classic standards, folk, rock, and country music as well as blues.
And mixed in with the wide variety of cover material is a healthy dose of original music. Marcy’s originals also cover a variety of styles, including “Cloudy Texas Skies”, a Stevie Ray Vaughn-type song; “Voodoo Daddy”, a rockin’ celebration of romance; and “Down to Memphis”, a rockabilly style ode to a blues mecca.
Ms. Rae has had the privilege of working with a number of well-known and interesting musical groups. She sang with the University of Michigan Choral Union, a 300-voice choir that performed with the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra. Since her professional debut as a musician, she has played on bills with Ray Campi and the Rebels, Jackson Browne, The Blasters, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Rose Maddox. She also spent some time as keyboard player for the Drifters on a tour through the South.
For years Dr Rick made rowdy rhythm ‘n blues with his band Dr Rick and the Burners as a means to bring passion and creativity to his other life as a Medical Doctor. What not everyone knows is that during this time, his music also served him as a tool, helping him focus on and maintain his recovery from the use of alcohol and drugs. Along the way, Dr. Rick’s guitar playing and singing evolved and as he began to find his own distinctive voice, he recognized the need for a band that would support these changes.
Fool’s Paradise was envisioned as a vehicle that would stress the song as trump and that by more artful use of space would demand a greater personal presence, ensuring a more profound connection among bandmates and thus with the audience. From the first, the act of engaging with the audience and creating a shared space of joy was fundamental to Dr. Rick’s Fool’s Paradise. Alongside this tenet was one for respecting volume based on the idea of music to complement rather than subjugate the experience.
Recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer the music has become an increasingly important means to express and share his aliveness. When we surrender to the creation of a shared musical moment, time stops and there is magic.