O'Connell musician Kris Schubert is set to bring the hits of American soul legend Ray Charles to life at The Victoria next Thursday as part of the venue's monthly Classic Album series.
Schubert, who is a member of blues/soul outfit The Safety of Life at Sea, will take audiences on a journey through Charles' iconic hits, including 'Hit the Road Jack,' 'Georgia on My Mind' and 'Unchain My Heart.'
"I'm a big fan of 1960s blues, rock and soul music and Ray Charles was a major influence on many iconic acts of the era," he said.
"Prior to Charles, the blues and gospel genres were two entirely different entities, and he brought both together to invent soul music."
Schubert will assume piano and vocal duties for the performance, accompanied by Glen Wholohan [Pengopuss] on saxophone and Bill Browne on drums.
The performance will also feature Abby Smith and Sophie Jones [Smith & Jones] on backing vocals, reflecting Charles' all-girl singing group, 'The Raelettes.'
"We've arranged the sound to emulate Charles' humble beginnings performing in clubs with a small blues ensemble throughout the 1950s," Schubert said.
"There's a song in the set-list called 'Mess Around' which will showcase Charles' impact on the development of rock 'n' roll music."
"I don't think of Charles as a rock 'n' roll guy, but his music paved the way for the use of piano in the genre."
Schubert said the technical proficiency of Charles' music has proven an enjoyable challenge.
"It has pushed my playing in ways I hadn't anticipated, as Charles implemented the entire length of the keyboard," he said.
"Charles' music has enhanced my understanding of what a piano is capable of."
The event will be the first public performance of Schubert's Ray Charles act in Bathurst, after well-received shows in Orange and Cowra.
"Charles' early gigs encouraged audiences to dance and have a good time, and we're hoping this performance achieves the same result," he said.
The performance will take place at The Victoria's Little Alberts music venue on Thursday, August 22 from 6pm. Tickets cost $25 and are available from Eventbrite.