September 6, 2016
RAYBURN CONTINUES TO SHINE THE LIGHT
WITH RELEASE OF NEW ALBUM TITLED “THE LIVING END”
FEATURING A DOZEN SONGS REFLECTING THEIR 70’S ROOTS
“THE LIVING END” — PRODUCED BY GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING
PRODUCER BEN FOWLER — SPANS THE GAMUT BETWEEN
PROG ROCK AND CLASSIC ROCK WITH MULTI-GENERATION APPEAL
Here’s the story.
In 1964, Rayburn’s Steve Stephens and his friend Jimmy Roberts went to see the Yardbirds in their hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas and the concert changed their lives forever. In the midst of the memorable performance, Stephens said to Roberts, “Let’s do that!” And they did… for two twelve-year-old boys, the dream began and RAYBURN was born. Stephens had his electric piano and Roberts had his guitar. It wouldn’t be long before they were playing everywhere in town, eventually performing between the set breaks of jazz great Ramsey Lewis, who encouraged them by once saying that they might want to think about giving music a “serious spin.”
But a career in music was about the last thing that Steve’s parents wanted to hear and they soon shipped him off to prep school…
Little did they know that the school had a piano and by the time he returned to Little Rock, the dream was very much alive and well and he soon resurrected the band with Roberts.
They quickly found themselves opening up for the likes of Three Dog Night and acting as Chuck Berry’s backing band when he came to town.
They cut some demos of their own at Nashville’s Monument Studios and, while recording, were spotted by a label executive from an RCA subsidiary called Mega Records. “They’d had some big hits and they were looking for a rock act,” recalls Stephens. “Right there, he offered us a contract.”
Excited that their dream was coming true, they signed it… and then they heard nothing more. It was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Jimmy Roberts would pass away from spinal cancer in 1974 and the band lost its soul to carry on… Stephens would go to work for the family business and all music aspirations seemed done as the years passed.
The year 1980 proved to be another difficult one as Stephens’ father fell ill, but decided it was time to tell Steve that the reason their music “died” years earlier was because he bought the band’s contract from the label.
Steve was devastated but determined, deciding that “never say never” was the attitude to uphold. Steve and his father were estranged but reconciled before his father’s passing.
Fast forward to almost three decades later.
At the urging of Jimmy Roberts’ brother (who had taken Steve and Jimmy to that original Yardbirds concert in ’64), Stephens reunited the remaining band members in 2009 for a one-off Rayburn performance that would last into the early morning hours.
The music came alive and so did the original spark that Stephens possessed so many years ago.
Shortly after the release of their debut, Your Mind, in 2011, Stephens became re-invigorated and began to write songs for The Living End. As the principal songwriter, he wrote or co-wrote the majority of the tracks in addition to arranging the music.
Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Ben Fowler (Eric Clapton/Rush/Lynyrd Skynyrd/Bad Company/Others) hopped on board and the recording process began…
From the lead-off track, “At the Gate” (a prog rocker reminiscent of early Kansas), to the last selection, “Not Going Back,” what lies between are songs about a variety of topics including overcoming challenges (“Morning Train”), exorcism (“Malachi”), social interaction (“Deep in Blue”), abused children (“Madness”), spiritual development (“Almost Home”) and the Big Easy (via the hook-laden song, “Fat Tuesday”). It’s definitely a “Journey,” which is also the title of one of the songs.
Rayburn is comprised of Danny Archer (Lead Vocals), Steve Stephens (Hammond B-3 organ and piano/keyboards), Mack Price (Bass/Acoustic Guitar), NIR-Z (Drums), Tom Bukovac (Electric and Acoustic Guitar), Eldon Huff (Electric Guitar) and Mack Price V (Electric Guitar).
“I feel we captured some great performances,” states Stephens. “In addition to the usual Rayburn ‘suspects’ who played lights out on this album, we were joined by a great selection of guest players and vocalists that included steel guitarist Paul Franklin, bassist Michael Rhodes, percussionist Eric Darkin and synth programmer Charles Judge along with our background singers Russell Terrell, Vicky Hampton and Kim Keys.” Mack and Steve arranged all parts played by the highly regarded string section known as the Nashville String Machine.
Rayburn’s newest CD, The Living End, will bring you back to the days where you would head down to your local record store, go through the albums from A to Z, buy a favorite or two, take the shrink-wrap off, then read the liner notes while listening to both sides of the disc all the way through.
While those days may have passed, the spirit continues… Rayburn’s aim with The Living End is to take the listener on a journey where the entire album is heard in one sitting from beginning to end.
In a world where songs are often seen or heard one at a time on a variety of computer outlets, Rayburn hopes that you take 47 minutes to take a listen to their newest offering in its entirety.
Fully realizing the importance and impact of a visual affiliation, the band is currently working on videos for many, if not all, of the songs featured on the album.
Steve Stephens remains true to the history of music that got him this far and Rayburn will be putting out a special vinyl pressing of The Living End to honor that history.
Rayburn only proves that it’s never too late to be what you could’ve been as their music has the power to excite, inspire and unite.
While the music is still proud progressive rock — with the emphasis on rock — The Living End isn’t about the distant glory days. It’s about a push into the future.
Like the very best stories, Rayburn’s tale doesn’t end. The Road goes ever on…
Enjoy the music.
If you’d like to receive a review copy of The Living End and/or do an interview with Rayburn founder Steve Stephens, please contact Jeff Albright / The Albright Entertainment Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Song inspiration/description available upon request.
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