Tom V. Ray

Tom V. Ray is an American bassist living in Chicago. He was born in 1965, and grew up on a farm in Vincennes, Indiana.

Ray’s professional musical career began in 1983, when he began performing with local bluegrass, country and classic rock cover bands. In 1990 he moved to New Orleans to join French Quarter legends Augie Jr. and the Big Mess Blues Band. During this time he met the iconic bluesman Willie Dixon, who gave him a lesson in slap bass technique.

Subsequently Ray moved to Chicago and began collaborations with many of that city’s leading musical lights, including Uncle Tupelo’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, Jon Langford of the Mekons, the performance artist Brigid Murphy, and Poi Dog Pondering’s Frank Orrall. In 1991 he started the Chicago underground jug band Devil in a Woodpilewith Rick Sherry, and in 1993 co-founded the Bottle Rockets with Brian Henneman. Ray was also a founding member of the Langford-helmed combos the Waco Brothers and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts.

From 1997 to 2008 Ray was the first chair Chapman Stick player with the Blue Man Group of Chicago at the Briar Street Theater. Since 1999 he has been a member of Neko Case’s band, which he continues to tour and record with, contributing to such releases as Case’s 2009 Grammy-nominated album Middle Cyclone. Concurrent with his work with Case he also (in 2003) was a touring member of John Doe’s (of X) band and spent the entirety of 2010 touring in Jacob Dylan’s band.

Tom has been using Gallien-Krueger amps since he can remember starting with the 400RB, moving to the 800RB and at the moment is the proud owner of a fresh 1001RB.

“It’s really just THE perfect amp for both stand-up and electric bass. I don’t have to change a thing switching between the two during our live shows.”

Tom V. Ray
2013, on tour with Neko Case

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