Ray Peters Started his singing career in the 90’s performing in venues around Kent and London then later on the Costa Del Sol Spain. He discovered his love of Country music while living and working in Spain and formed a Country band there. He returned to the UK 1999 and put together another country band, but it was only a weekend band and wanted more. So In 2000 he formed The Ray Peters Band and quickly gained a reputation for performing great country music old and new and established themselves on the UK club and Festival scene, with album releases Burn Em Up, Choices, Singin’ Pickin’ Fiddlin’ , Something Different, and Sour Mash. All the albums contained some of Rays own self penned songs as well as covers, he is a very talented song writer. During 2015 while continuing strongly as a trio Ray decided to form a 5 Piece Band and so The Smokey Turtle Band was born.
2017 Ray Peters. It has been a sad year for myself and the band due to the sudden and untimely death of Dean Barnes who we lost on 10th May. He was a fantastic guitarist and had a larger than life cheeky personality and was like a brother and a true friend to me. We will all miss so much. RIP DEAN BARNES 1971 to 2017
Dean Barnes came with a very good history. He’s was an excellent guitarist. He had been playing guitar since the age of 6 and started performing as a professional lead guitarist in 1982 aged 11 he started working with his father’s band and continued for 18 years. He had played lead guitar in differing genres Country, Blues, Rock, Jazz; pretty much any style that had been required. In the past, Dean had worked with such artists as George Hamiliton IV, Billy Jo Spears, Philomena Begley, Sandy Newman (Marmalade), Gary Brooker (Procal Harem), Richard Hudson (The Strawbs), Ali MacKenzie (The Birds) and also recorded with Danzy Jones on the album – The Lost Tapes of Danzy Jones. Dean had a vast experience working as a session player on numerous albums with various artists over the last 33 years. Dean had worked with Meal Ticket, Steve Simpson (Roger Chapman, Charlie Dore), The Hurters (as first dep guitarist for Micky Moody of Whitesnake), The Lee Ryder Band, Willy Finlayson and just finished recording an album with Luke Guy Reed in which one of the album tracks has been credited in the 2013 movie Bad Turn Worse.
We must continue and so we move on. I’m sure Dean would have wanted us to do that and not just give up, so now we introduce our latest member
I am so pleased to announce that our latest band member will be joining us for the Duo, Trio and The five piece Smokey Turtle Band whenever possible is Andy Kingston or better known on the UK Country scene as (Andy Twang)
ANDY Is no stranger to the British Country Scene. At the age of 12 he was given his first guitar and from then his Dad started to teach Andy how to play. Two years later at the age of 14 he made his first appearance on TV where he performed the instrumental Ghost Riders In The Sky. Not long after that he joined his first Country Band, whilst attending school in between. Andy travelled the uk playing his guitar and met many different artists and performers. Andy knew this was the career he wanted to pursue. Since then he has been in many UK based country bands including, CLOVIS, MEDICINE BOW, DIAMOND T BAND, DUSTY RHODES BAND, A BAND NAMED SIOUX, RIDGEWAY COUNTRY AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST THE HENRY SMITH BAND most recently.
Andy is involved in various different projects within the country music scene as he is in high demand as the very talented Guitarist he is. Because of this he has also backed American artists when they visit this country to perform including BILLY YATES, HEATHER MILES to name but a few.
Shortley before Dean Passed away Dave had decided to move on preferring to play with live bands all the time. Because we use bass and drum backing tracks for the trio which Dave was a member he wasn’t so keen on this prefering our five piece gigs with the Smokey Turtle Band. Unfortunatley for Dave I was becoming busier as a Solo act and with the Duo. The timing was unfortunate but we all have to move on. I’m sure from time to time we will share the same stage together again.
Dave Hayward played with several names on the UK Country scene, such as Al Barrett’s Linemen, Frank Jennings, Little Ginny, Marietta Station and Henry Smith. Such is his standing as a player, he has performed at Steel Guitar festivals in the USA, Holland and Ireland; and in the UK at every Newbury Steel festival. Dave runs his own recording studio(DH Studios) and produces for a variety of names in Country and other fields. He is also an experienced professional video producer, including scripting, shooting and editing.
Hannah Cope Bass Guitar is passionate about Country Music, Blues and Jazz. For almost 20 years she has performed all over the UK, Ireland and the US, acquiring a rich and diverse musical background. She performed with the house band at The Golf Links, Isle of Man, backing entertainers like Bill Tarmey and Norman Wisdom; and followed her love of Country Music with a duo touring the Republic Of Irleland. Hannah has toured with Girl Band ‘Girlz World’ and has made her mark on the UK Blues scene with outfits including The Sam Kelly Band and Rik Martin.
Pete Hedley has been drumming for over 25 years, after starting at the age of 3. He maintains a busy session and frelance career throughout the UK and Europe. Recently back from a European tour with Guy Tortora he also has a busy private teaching schedule and is a faculty member at Herts College of Music. Pete has over 15 years of professional playing and gigging experience in genres including Country, Blues, Pop, and Funk
Ray Peters And The Smokey Turtle Band
The band has a strong internet presence; http://theraypetersband.com/ will point you towards their gig guide, YouTube channel, facebook, Google, Twitter pages, photos and information. They hope too that you will take time to come and see the band live, giving it their all, keeping it Country.
So what does an audience get when they spend an evening with the Ray Peters Band? Well, they’ll get Country music and nothing but. They’ll get old and new Country and the listeners as well as the dancers will be catered for. The ones who like familiar songs will go home happy and so will the ones who like the not-so-often heard numbers, people seem to like them for that. They’ll even hear some self-penned songs from Ray. They’ll see and hear fine musicianship from Dean, Dave, Hannah, and Pete, with Ray holding it all together with fine lead vocals and rhythm guitar. They’ll see a band giving it their all and loving what they’re doing. Come to one of their gigs and you will see what I mean. They also have a new album out called Ray Peters & The Smokey Turtle Band which is a live studio recording of the rehearsal for their appearance at the C2C festival at the 02 Arena London in March 2016. It contains 14 tracks six self penned and 8 covers. The album can be purchased on line or at one of the bands performances.
SOLO In addition to working with the Trio and the Smokey Turtle Band, Ray also works for the majority of the time as a SOLO act and is prepared to travel all over the country and abroad if required. He provides a full line dance set or traditional set or a mixture of both.
The Duo Ray Peters & Andy Twang Also provides a full line dance set or traditional set or a mixture of both to suit your venue
Dean Barnes Dave Hayward Ray Peters
Some Old Band History
It doesn’t seem possible but The Ray Peters Band story goes back to the year 2000. Ray had returned from a spell living and singing on the Costa Del Sol and – with Country Music his first love – set about forming a band for the UK circuit. He was swiftly joined by guitarist Shaun Murray and Pedal Steel player Tony Ryan.
The trio hit the ground running, quickly gaining a reputation for performing good Country Music, old and new. Tony Ryan would retire in 2004 to focus on the Bluegrass scene, being replaced by Dave Hayward whose style slotted in perfectly. This period produced two albums: Burn ‘Em Up and Choices.
For various reasons the trio came off the road in 2006 but re-formed three years later, Shaun and Ray being joined by virtuoso fiddler Phil Bennett. Livewire Phil proved a massive hit on the circuit – hardly any British bands boasted a designated fiddler any more, and this one was something else!
Shaun Ray Phil
Fairly soon the band re-established themselves in the UK’s clubs and festivals with the new member, a bunch of new songs and a new fan base. The CD has 16 songs Singin’, Pickin’, Fiddlin’ came about in 2011, by which time Ray was developing his own reputation as a Songwriter – the album boasting four of his original compositions, The Goodbye Song in particular enjoying much success in the British Country Music charts.
Although Phil Bennett retired from the circuit in April 2014 the band continues to go from strength to strength. Considered to be one of the finest Steelies in Britain, Dave Hayward returned to the fold. Sour Mash features Dave, Phil, Shaun and Ray and it’s an album they are very proud of, they think it’s their best yet. Listen out for three more Ray Peters originals on it.
Shaun Murray retired from the band in April 2015 and was an emotional departure after so many years in the band. He was replaced by Dean Barnes an Excellent guitarist and he has fitted in really well. His style of playing has enhanced the sound of the band and they are all very excited about the new line up. Look out for them at a club or festival near you.