Ray's Vast Basement

Ray's Vast Basement is a folk-rock-country band led by singer/songwriter Jon Bernson and based in San Francisco, CA. Bernson's writing for the group has been ambitious and highly conceptual. His idea for the band was drawn from his conception of a fictional town in northern California called Drakesville and a character named Ray McKelvey who runs a speakeasy in a cave called Ray's Vast Basement. Bernson wrote songs describing other characters and events in the town for the group's debut album, On the Banks of the Time, self-released on RVB Records. A second album, By a River Burning Blue, continued the stories. Bernson was hired by the Actors Theatre in San Francisco to write and perform music for a production of Of Mice and Men, which stimulated his interest in the writings of John Steinbeck. He expanded his music for the play into an entire album inspired by Steinbeck's novels, Starvation Under Orange Trees, which was released as the third Ray's Vast Basement album by the Howells Transmitter label on July 3, 2007. Joining Bernson on the disc were guests including Nate Query of the Decemberists and Michael Zapruder of Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs. ~ William Ruhlmann

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