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‘Family of the Year’ now charm crowds everywhere they go, but it all started with a chance encounter outside an LA bar

l_67e134b9652c41548beae4df18be9a90It’s not often you come across a band that has, yes, six members. On top of that two are dating, two are brothers, and it still all manages to work out wonderfully. Sound impossible? Not for California’s Family of the Year who are one such band. The self-professed indie-rock-folk-Americana songsters have just released their debut album, Songbook, and seem to be charming their way onto everyone’s iPod. If you haven’t heard them yet, SPIN Magazine recommends that you do – and so does The Rock and Roll Report.

The band consists of: Vanessa Jeanne Long (vocals), Joe Beaulieu Keefe (Vocals & Guitar), Sebastian Keefe (Drums & Guitar), James Buckey (Keys), Christina Schroeter (Keys) and Brent Freaney (Bass). Vanessa recently phoned in for a chat about Rock Band’s (yes, the videogame) pivotal role in their formation, impossible to remember band names and actually living and feeling like a family.

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Brian Ray on Playing with Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Etta James and His Upcoming Album

redbone1Brian Ray calls himself a “Reluctant Rock God and Guitarist” on his MySpace, but what’s perhaps even more impressive is that he’s scored one of the best gigs around: since 2002 he has been Paul McCartney’s bass player and yes, that’s The Beatles‘ Sir Paul McCartney. However, Brian Ray’s extensive career is not to be undermined. He’s accomplished many great musical feats and in the past has played with greats such as Bobby Pickett, Etta James and Smokey Robinson and, more recently, played on Chris Cornell’s solo album. He’s even released his own solo record, Mondo Magneto, and has a second in the works. Brian recently agreed to honor The Rock and Roll Report with an exclusive interview.

Q:  You just finished a tour with Paul McCartney, how was it?

A: BR: Yes, we finished a recent big stadium tour in the US [11 dates] and it was a fabulous time, including the new Citifield Stadium [home of the NY Mets] and the outdoor concert on the rooftop marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theatre [home of David Letterman’s Show].