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Style Magazine

The Fortunate Few

Sep 24, 2009 04:48AM ● By Wendy Sipple

Photo by Dante Fontana

Perhaps The Fortunate Few’s MySpace page says it best: “This is no retro band copping a feel of yesterday; this is a full-on celebration of good old American music.”

A bit irreverent to be sure, but that’s perfectly in character for a band which celebrates the fusion of country and rockabilly sound.

Charlie Feathers was shouting into microphones long before some kid named Elvis came out of Tupelo, Mississippi. “Feathers was in so many ways an innovator; a lot of other bands through the years have copied subsets of what he created, but he’s the real original,” says The Fortunate Few’s lead singer Michael Ray. “We perform to let people know this vintage sound is still alive. Our mission is to bring true country and rockabilly traditions rocking into the present and have a good time doing it.”
As a general contractor by day, Ray joins up with Todd Hinton on stand-up bass, Bob Woods on guitar and Todd Lewis on drums, to perform in local clubs throughout Sacramento and California. Ray says the band is “like his bowling league; it gets me out of the house,” but he’s underselling himself. These guys are all professional musicians who made their name big even before Ray’s ad in the Sacramento News and Review brought them all together eight years ago.

If you come to see a show, you’ll be among plenty of tattoos, pompadours and cowboy hats – unquestionably an eclectic blend. It’s the kind of crowd you’d expect to see at a show where the playlist includes hits from Feathers, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams (the first one), Webb Pierce and Lefty Frizell.
The Fortunate Few also have a healthy repertoire of their own original songs (the band is releasing a CD featuring some of their best original tunes, later this year), but it’s fair to say that no matter whose music they play, they make it their own. “The aspects of this kind of music that I really love are its flexibility, its looseness and its energy,” Ray says. “That’s not to say we don’t have a great deal of reverence for a song that conveys some real emotion, but if we can really rock it, we will.”

As for upcoming shows, they’ll be performing at the fifth annual “Rockabilly Roundup” in Calistoga on October 10, and at Coaster’s Lounge in Santa Cruz on October 31. They’ll also be rolling through southern California on tour later this year with stops in Santa Barbara, Malibu and Hollywood, among others. If you’d prefer something a little more local, the best bet is to visit the group’s MySpace page, just log on to and search for “The Fortunate Few” to get show times, dates and details.

“My personal goal in all of this is to convert people who didn’t think they liked country music, because this is not the typical radio pop version of country,” Ray says. “This is original, classic, old-school sound.”

For more information about The Fortunate Few, email Mike Ray at [email protected].