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Louisville singer-songwriter and actor Warren Ray has just released the new acoustic EP, ALBERTA. We spoke with him about this tribute to Tegan and Sara, delivered with a unique take.

Congrats on the new EP! It’s been awhile since we’ve had new tunes from you. Where have you been?             

I have been doing independent film for the last several years. Working with Vernon Wells the famous mohawked road warrior from Mad Max II, Bruce Willis’s daughter Rumor Willis and a starring role in the best horror anthology of 2016 according to Fangoria magazine. Also starring roles in 2 feature films slated for release in 2021. That is why I have not been focused on releasing music.

When I first saw the artwork for Alberta, I did a double take. I thought it was Springsteen’s Nebraska album. What’s the story there and the concept behind the record?

It’s an acoustic tribute to Canadian sister-duo Tegan & Sara…done in the style of Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” record…it’s just that simple. While developing a feature project script with a respected film director, we were listening to Tegan and Sara for inspiration on film score ideas, I became a fan of their music. After listening to an interview the duo had done on YouTube, I discovered that oddly enough, Bruce Springsteen was a major influence on their song writing. So I wondered what it would sound like if the boss were to cover Tegan and Sara

I started playing around with that idea on my guitar. Consequently Earthtone Analog Studios reached out to me about doing some recording for their promotional compilation record. Earthtone is a converted horse ranch out in Southern Indiana. It is equipped with antiquated 2 inch tape gear used in the 80s, these big dinosaur analog tape machines.

True Springsteen fans know that Bruce recorded his “Nebraska” record as demos on tape in a remote location on an old farm property. Well one thing led to another and the decision was made to record the “ALBERTA” project named after Tegan and Sara’s Canadian birthplace.

I am known for being an original songwriter, After having produced around 10 records since 1992 ALBERTA is the first set of cover songs I have ever attempted release.

One song from the album, Dying to Know really spoke to me. What the backstory on picking this particular track?

After an 18 year relationship I became divorced from my wife, so the dance pop song “Dying to Know” spoke to me. All these songs, selected from the Tegan and Sara catalog, adapted in style and now covered on the ALBERTA record, seemed to fit my headspace at the time.

ALBERTA is available now on most digital platforms and YouTube.

 

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK.