One Track Mind: Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, “Our Story” (2014)

Share this:

Sugar Ray Norcia, over the years, has written about many things — most of them dark. His characters, in keeping with this band’s smartly modern blues edge, are helpless womanizers, thoughtless drunks, degenerate gamblers. Nothing like, well, Sugar Ray Norcia.

See, over that same period, as he’s led the Bluetones through collaborations with storied performers from Otis Rush and Big Walter Horton to Joe Turner and Big Mama Thornton, Norcia has been married to the same woman. In fact, his marriage has lasted longer than the Bluetones themselves, who are marking their 35th anniversary with the release of Living Tear to Tear, just out on Severn Records.

It’s probably past time, then, to tell “Our Story,” a heartfelt expression of lasting devotation and, if the fates line up the way they should, a new swamp-pop standard. Norcia, who had a 1990s-era association with Roomful of Blues, completes things with a richly emotive turn on the harmonica — reminding us once again that the instrument possesses no small amount of elegance in the right hands.

“Our Story” and Living Tear To Tear cap a huge year that’s seen Norcia earn a Grammy nomination and two Blues Music Awards for his contributions to Remembering Little Walter. Bluetones bandmates Monster Mike Welch, Mudcat Ward and Anthony Geraci are also featured composers on the new album.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this:
Close