SOLD OUT: Ray Bonneville W/Special Guest Geoff Arsenault

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  • September 7, 2023
    7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Like a fine wine, some dudes just get better with age, and Ray Bonneville is one of those rare artists. We are pleased as punch to see Ray return to The Carleton on Thursday, Sept. 7th. Show time is 7:30 PM and tickets are $27.50 + HST. Late breaking news: Ray’s special guest will be one of the coolest cats I’ve ever met – Geoff Arsenault! Geoff will be opening the show and playing drums with with Ray. That’s a sweet, sweet combo, people!

Acclaimed raconteur Ray Bonneville strips his bluesy Americana down to its essentials and steeps it in the humid grooves of the South, creating a compelling poetry of hard living and deep feeling. His ninth release, At King Electric, delivers more than his trademark grit and groove. Songs such as “The Next Card to Fall” and “Codeine” gleam with intimate narratives of characters reaching for hope and wrestling with despair. Rich guitar and harmonica lines resonate over spare but spunky rhythms, while Bonneville’s deep, evocative voice confesses life’s harsh realities. 

Often called a “song and groove man,” Bonneville has lived the life of the itinerant artist. From his native Quebec, he moved to Boston at age twelve, where he learned English and picked up piano and guitar. Later, he served in Vietnam and earned a pilot’s license in Colorado before living in Alaska, Seattle, and Paris. Six years in New Orleans infused his musical sensibilities with the region’s culture and rhythms. And then, a close call while piloting a seaplane proved pivotal: After two decades working as a studio musician, playing rowdy rooms with blues bands, and living hard, Bonneville’s lifetime of hard-won experience coalesced into an urge to write his own music. 

Ray recorded his first album, On the Main, in 1992. He’s since released nine albums, earned wide critical and popular acclaim, and won an enthusiastic following in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His awards include a prestigious Juno for his 1999 album, Gust of Wind. In 2012, Ray won the solo/duet category in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. His post-Katrina ode, “I Am the Big Easy,” earned the International Folk Alliance’s 2009 Song of the Year Award, placed number one on Folk Radio’s list of most-played songs of 2008, and was recently covered by Jennifer Warnes for the BMG label. 

Ray has shared the bill with blues heavyweights Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Dr. John, J.J. Cale, and Robert Cray, and has guested on albums by Mary Gauthier, Gurf Morlix, Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and other prominent musicians. He has performed at renowned venues around the world, including South by Southwest, Folk Alliance, and Montreal International Jazz Festival, and plays over 100 shows per year across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. When not on the road, he resides in Austin, Texas.

Drummer, singer, songwriter, performer and illustrator Geoff Arsenault is a uniquely talented, multi-faceted artist with a funky, soulful sensibility. A long-time collaborator with musicians ranging from Matt Andersen, Ray Bonneville, Dutch Mason, Mary Jane Lamond to Thom Swift, Arsenault’s two solo albums, This Ain’t No Fiction and Voodoo Baby Rattle have been celebrated by fans and critics alike.

Multiple nominee and winner of the 2004 Best Drummer in the Maple Blues Awards, Arsenault is known for this generous and harmonious style and distinctive musician contributions to multiple genres. His own music is linked between Tony Joe White and J.J. Cale. Roots music. Swampy, funky, New Orleans, Tex-Mex. Tinged with blues.