February 8, 1936 --
Born in Haskell, Oklahoma, Ray D. Rowe moved to Tulsa at age nine. While in high school at Booker T. Washington, Ray began singing and wanted to be involved in the “Hi-Jenks” program. His group, The Robins, made their debut the following year singing popular songs; he learned to play the guitar during this time. His early influences were B. B. King, T-Bone Walker, Lou Rawls, Al Green, Wilson Picket, Bobby Womack, and Sam Cooke. He was a member of the Highlight Gospel Singers, and continues to sing with them today. He began singing with Creative Sounds, in 1970, which later became the GAP Band. He was booked by Oklahoma Jazz Hall inductee Ernie Fields. The GAP Band became Oklahoma celebrities and was discovered by Buddy Jones, Leon Russell’s business manager.
After the GAP Band, Rowe put his own band together called New Experience. He also worked with the Flash Terry Band, who helped to promote his record Ooh Baby, Baby. Rowe later got involved with the Sky High Band, which formed what was to become one of his favorite bands. He then collaborated with Rudy Scott, Odell Stokes, Boo Williams and Stewart Neimi. Rowe went onto create the Down Home Blues Band, which still performs around the state.
Rowe was one of the first performers on the newly formed SPOT-Awards in 2000 and was later nominated for Best Blues Act 2006. He has performed at the Million Dollar Elm Casino in Tulsa and Sand Springs. He has also been a musical fixture for the Juneteenth Music Festival and the Greenwood Jazz and Blues Festival.