Sweet Rain: new and eclectic | TheUnion.com

Sweet Rain: new and eclectic

Eileen JoyceRay Laflin (back, right) is surrounded by Sweet Rain members who will perform at the WallStreet Cafe on Friday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

In essence, Ray Laflin has spent a decade preparing for the past few weeks.

His recently-formed Sweet Rain band, which plays Laflin’s originals, will have its third performance in that many weeks Friday at WallStreet Cafe in Grass Valley. Sweet Rain is an Afro-Cuban funk rock high- energy dance band.

Laflin, 44, has only seriously written songs for the last 10 years.

Before that, he played drums for 20 years in the Bay Area and then took a five-year hiatus from music. He was more focused on drumming than composing in the past.

Now Laflin, who is lead vocalist and also plays guitar, keyboards and percussion for Sweet Rain, can’t stop penning songs.

“I’m not a guitarist, I’m a writer, I know three chords. My lead guitarist Jim Thornton tells me the chords,” Laflin said.

Laflin seems to have found his muse; he writes songs at least weekly, the majority about spiritual matters.

“A lot of it is real positive awareness to the way we have been and the way we can be, not in the political sense but in the spiritual sense,” said Laflin who sometimes borrows ancient Nigerian lyrics from songs praising different gods and goddesses. He also writes songs in other languages, including Spanish and Swahili.

Plans for the 6-month-old band include having a debut full-length CD released by next year and performing up to four times a month in Northern California.

“I’d like to be working on the next CD, I have a lot of stuff going through me,” said Laflin, who can only work part-time for now on music. “I wish I could drop everything else so people could hear and enjoy it, too.”

That’s because music has become his passion.”I love what I’m doing, managing WallStreet Cafe and helping others record their music and dreams,” Laflin said. “But when I’m writing, if I let go, it just comes out, and I’m at a point I’m willing to let it just flow through.”

Sweet Rain will play 45-minute sets at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday. There’s no cover.

WallStreet Cafe is at 114 W. Main St., Grass Valley. Call 274-2411 for more information.

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