RW (Ray William) Roldan
Sometimes true love or, in RW Roldan’s case, reconnecting with a beloved childhood sweetheart, is all it takes to bring out the best in an artist. It's never too late to find your true love or your "boldest and most honest" musical expression.
More energized and creative than ever, RW Roldan is on fire with his new album, Can You Feel This? The ore of the album is heard in “Lauryn’s Song,” a reflection on his reunion with the woman who is now his wife. He sings, “I’ve known you since I was a young man/But hell! We never really had ourselves a good plan/Then the winds of change blew us away/But brought us back another day.” In the romantic chorus, he declares, “Lauren, you’re the best of me. . .To love you is my destiny.”
RW recorded the album In California Country in 2006 and was previously working with various bands. After years of leading popular ensembles, Swing Samurai and Broke Fence, (and recording under those names), Roldan, flush with a fresh burst of intense inspiration,released Can You Feel This? Teaming with engineer/producer Max Allyn of The Outpost, the13 soulful tracks invite longtime fans and welcome newcomers into the deeply emotional experience.
Throughout his career, Roldan has written about what he knows and what he has lived. It all started with a rough childhood, growing up (sometimes on the streets) in North Hollywood after his mom moved him and his siblings out west from New Jersey, where the singer’s father was killed when he was only five. Roldan grew up listening to Elvis, Hank Williams, Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and George Jones. He has fond memories of his grandfather, a drummer, telling him stories and playing Jim Croce and James Taylor for him. Reflecting on his old school way of composing and recording, and the joys he felt growing up in a time when record stores were the norm, the singer is also releasing Can You Feel This on vinyl. “There are a couple of reasons vinyl exists in this universe,” he says. “You can hold, touch and smell it, and it’s packaged with incredible cover art, which was one of the ways I was introduced to new artists coming up. It’s hard to feel that kind of connection with a CD, downloading or streaming.”
Determined to overcome his hardscrabble roots and provide for his own family, Roldan set music aside for years as he successfully pursued other more mainstream careers. When he finally set his mind to making music, Roldan quickly made up for lost time, recording with famed musicians like Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams), John J.T. Thomas (Bruce Hornsby), Rick Shea (Dave Alvin, Rosie Perez), Bruce Watson (Rod Stewart), Chuck Kavoorus, and Brad Cobb (Tori Amos), David Chamberlain (Roy Buchanan, Manhattan Transfer). Ray's band also includes Mark Hayes (lead guitar) and Luke Hayes (drums). His two Swing Samurai albums received extensive airplay throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, and songs from those were featured on compilations with greats like Tim McGraw, Billy Yates and The Bellamy Brothers.
Roldan’s tunes have been top finalists in numerous Song of the Year competitions and in 2007, he won “Top 25 songs CD” for IndieMusiccom. The following year, he scored eleven finalist nominations for “Man of Steel” through the FameGame Effigy Awards.