The Austin Chronicle

Ray Prim Album Review

Unconditional (Ghetto Lounge Studios)

By Thomas Fawcett, July 19, 2019, Music

A regular on the local listening room circuit, singer-songwriter-guitarist Ray Prim helps make up the lifeblood of Austin's music scene. Unconditional bops from soul to folk to rock, but ultimately boils down to "black and blues." The sonically dense "Too Much to Lose" swells from acoustic fingerpicking to strings and organ as Prim meditates on blackness in America: "This is America, red white and blue/ But it ain't the same for me and you." He sings of love and loss with an aching vibrato on the piano-driven "When Hope Lets Go" and the sax- and synth-rock-centered "Master My Love," but he's at his best interrogating race and politics. That theme crescendos on "Gently Down the Stream," where he asks, "Have you ever been pulled over for the color of your skin?" Then he takes dead aim at the current White House occupant with the level of derision he deserves: "Make America great again?/ Bitch, you can't be serious now!"


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