Ray Legere is a world-renowned fiddle and mandolin player, a household name for music lovers across the Maritimes, and a resident of New Brunswick for over 35 years. His astonishing technique and boundless musical energy enthrall and excite musicians and audiences alike, and continue to garner what is already a lifetime of justly deserved accolades. From Sackville, NB, Ray tours the world and records with the top musicians in many musical genres. He has played with most of the great North American bluegrass players, including legends like Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, David Grisman, and Doc Watson. In 1982, he even filled in for Bill Monroe— the father of bluegrass—when Monroe took ill before a concert. Ray has toured internationally with artists such as Rita McNeil, John McDermott, Bowfire, and Michelle Shocked. In 2017-present he has been seen touring with hit NB acts Tomato/Tomato, Laurie LeBlanc, Christian 'Kit' Goguen, and classical woodwind quintet Ventus Machina. Highly versatile and deeply knowledgeable, Ray is the session player that everyone wants to work with.
Ray has seven solo CDs to his credit, some featuring his own compositions, and is heard on upwards of 500 recordings as a session player. He runs his own recording studio and label in his home in Sackville, New Brunswick, and has enhanced the recordings of a countless number of
artists by adding mandolin, fiddle, upright bass and guitar tracks of his own making. He is a regular guest on concert stages throughout the Maritimes, often performing with his band Acoustic Horizon. Because of his musical versatility and Acadian background, Ray is in the unusual position of regularly being invited to perform with both anglophone and francophone artists in the region, and is a regular member of the band for the Quebec hit television shows Pour L’amour du Country and Tout Simpliment Country.
In 2017, Ray worked on a genre-crossing project involving classical, pop and bluegrass tunes that celebrated the musical cultures of New Brunswick. The mix of musicians and instruments was very unusual, and the music came from several very different genres and sources. "Ray’s skills as a collaborative musician were truly astonishing. For his part of the program he thoughtfully selected fiddle tunes from New Brunswick, including some of his originals, to match our theme. But then he watched as those tunes took on a very different and unfamiliar life. And he had to learn many new pieces as well. He not only learned the material, but immediately began to improvise around that material —both to create truly remarkable solos night after night and to enhance every song as an ensemble member. For the classical musicians in this project, his skill set was awe-inspiring. Ray is understated, slightly self-deprecating, and has a stage persona that audiences love".
Ray is the 2019 recipient of the Lieutenant Governors Award for High Achievement in the Arts and is a multiple ECMA award winner. He has won numerous awards for his fiddling and mandolin playing, including 2 National Mandolin Championships (1983 and 1986) and was recently inducted into both, the NB and the NS Country Music Hall of Fame. His portrait is on the Sackville Arts Wall as one of our great local artists. Despite this and his dedicated fans, for many in the province it would still come as a surprise to know that one of the real greats of the bluegrass tradition is living right here. It is difficult to overstate the high regard with which Ray is held by top musicians of all stripes. At a recent trip to the ECMAs, his name came up a number of times, and everyone from roots players to hard rockers both know and respect him. Ray has been a touring musician for his entire life. He learned the craft from the masters in Nashville and other places in the southern US for a number of years, and then returned home and has made his living touring and recording ever since. Ray began major touring with Terry Kelley and then the aggressive tour scheduling of John McDermott and the virtuoso violin group, Bowfire. At age 21 the young Ray was visiting a friend in Nashville when artist Rhonda Vincent asked him on the spot to step in and perform with her on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He didn't even have a fiddle with him, so borrowed one from her. Another favourite moment in Ray's career was performing at Carnegie Hall with banjo whiz Alison Brown while on tour with Michelle Shocked. This show took the band all across North America and to Australia. Ray has also played arenas with audiences numbering up to 10,000, opening for the likes of Bob Dylan and Joe Crocker.