Longtime Etta James band guitarist Bobby Murray spent many years carefully honing his guitar-playing skills around the blues clubs of San Francisco and Oakland. In the 1970s and '80s, he played backup for musicians like Sonny Rhodes and Frankie Lee before getting a big break in 1988 and joining up with James' Roots Band. Murray was born in 1953 in Nagoya, Japan, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and cites Albert Collins as one of his most important guitar influences. Murray and Robert Cray went to high school together, and upon their graduation, they booked Collins for the school's graduation party; the three became friends and later went on to appear in concert together often. Murray, who spent many years in apprenticeship, learned from some of the best the Bay Area had to offer, sharing stages with Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Rush, Jimmy Witherspoon, Taj Mahal and John Lee Hooker, among others. He can be heard on B.B. King's Grammy Award-winning album, Blues Summit, and he duets with former classmate Cray on King's "Playing With My Friends." Murray's style is fluid and rhythmic, and, freely admitting he's not one of the world's greatest singers, often has a singing guitarist with him. There's plenty of guitar wizardry from Murray on his debut album, The Blues Is Now, released in 1996 on the New York-based Viceroy label, with guests including vocalist Frankie Lee and organist Jimmy Pugh.