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The ex-Monkee and overall fine solo artist returns with a bunch of keyboard-drenched songs with Latin percussion. The overall tone is cool and groovy, led by a wall of synthesized string-sounding chords topped with the jazzy tones of a B3 organ. Occasionally, Mike will pick up his guitar but the piano and keyboards definitely rule here. Synth strings, synth horns, synth bass, even synth drums in some of the songs! The Latin percussion is analog though. Seven of these tracks are instrumentals; five feature Nesmith's loving vocals (occasionally buried or plugged through crazy effects).
"span"His latest release, the largely instrumental Rays, doesn’t merely shake off but utterly transcends the dust of his past. --Joseph McCombs, Beyond Race Quarterly, April 10, 2006
"Rays" is the work of an existential genius. [Has] an overall effect of creating a sonic landscape in the mind. --Listener, iTunes, February 2006
Papa Nez Shines New "Rays" Rays is a good pick-up --Scott E. Shepherd, The Partial Observer, April 2006
"span"Â"For a time I thought Rays had come together differently than any other project I had worked on, until it dawned on me the various works I had been involved in had happened the same way and Rays was simply the first time I had seen it. Rays was my own personal Copernican Shift. For years it laid around in bits and pieces; there were long periods when I would put them all away, like disparate parts of building blocks. As if one was a recipe, another was a blueprint, another was a map. I couldnÂt see how they fit together. I kept going, as much for not having anything else to do as for the curiosity of how it would all turn out, but I did keep going, and IÂm glad I did. It was when I was putting on the horn parts, dreaming of Memphis and Stax Volt that it all came together. It was as if I had come into the garage one evening, and was looking at the detritus of a failed effort laying all over the floor, when suddenly there was this array, a kind of order to it that I had never imagined. That was exciting. It felt new, and gave me the inspiration I needed to finish. This after four years of wandering in darkness --- which actually happened to be one of the lines from Rays. I had always imagined Â"emergenceÂ" as the gradual appearing of something that already exists but was just unseen. Rays was the first time I ever actually saw that happen. Now that IÂve seen it I am aware that all the past works have happened the same way.Â"
"span"Grammy Award-winning artist Michael Nesmith has had a successful, multifaceted career as a songwriter, musician, actor, filmmaker, novelist, businessman and philanthropist. Born in Texas, he moved to Los Angeles in the early ‘60s where he began writing and performing songs in local clubs. In 1966 he landed a lead roll in the The Monkees, now a pop legend. In the early ‘70s he signed a solo record deal with RCA Records, and recorded six landmark country-rock albums. In the mid-‘70s he started his own record company, Pacific Arts, that released numerous albums through the ‘80s. In 1981 he won the first Grammy Award for Best Video of the Year for Elephant Parts, a ground-breaking long-form video. That same year he created the concept of MTV which he sold to Warner-Amex. He produced four films in the early ‘80s, including the punk classic Repo Man. In the early ‘90s he released “…tropical campfire’s…” and toured the US. In 1994 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for ! Best New Age Album of the Year, for The Garden. His critically acclaimed first novel, The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora, was published by St. Martins Press in 1998. Over the years Nesmith has built a large catalog of songs that have appeared in movies and commercials, and been recorded by many artists including Linda Ronstadt, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Butterfield Blues Band, and Run DMC. He’s based in Northern California where he continues to write and record music.