Ralph Carney

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Ralph Carney
Ralph white suit 2010.jpg
Carney in 2010
Background information
Born (1956-01-23) January 23, 1956 (age 60)
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
  • Singer
  • composer
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • Vocals
  • saxophone
  • clarinet
  • flute
  • harmonica
  • Jew's harp
Associated acts
Website akroncracker.com
Notable instruments
Slide Clarinet

Ralph Carney (born January 23, 1956) is an American singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. While his primary instruments are various saxophones and clarinets, Carney also collects and plays many instruments, often unusual or obscure ones.

Early years[edit]

Carney grew up in Akron, Ohio, and listened to music on a windup record player. His father and an older brother and sister worked in polyester research. Carey showed an early interest in art, but turned to music in the eighth grade. He started learning five string banjo, violin and harmonica and played bluegrass and country blues. At age 15 he started to play saxophone. He also worked in the mall record store.[1]


Carney got his start as a professional musician as a founding member of the band Tin Huey. He is perhaps best known for his long association with singer Tom Waits, and has also recorded or performed with Dieselhed, Marc Ribot, The B-52's, Elvis Costello, Jonathan Richman, Les Claypool, Stan Ridgway, Medeski Martin & Wood, Jed Davis, Bill Laswell, and HowellDevine, among others. Carney has released several solo albums and was a member of the Oranj Symphonette with fellow Waits alumni Joe Gore and Matt Brubeck.[2] He also heads up San Francisco's Carneyball Johnson, playing on saxophones, Turkish clarinet, piccolo, trumpet, percussion and vocals. The band also features Channel 23 alumnus Kimo Ball on guitar and vocals; Scott Johnson on drums and vocals; and Allen Whitman on bass and vocals.

Carney collaborated with the Black Keys on their album Attack & Release. He occasionally joined them on stage when they toured that record. In 2014, he collaborated with his nephew Patrick for the BoJack Horseman theme song.[3] He toured with They Might Be Giants in the fall of 2009. He recorded and performed with Black Francis in 2008 a score for the Silent film Der Golem, he guested with Yo La Tengo and Medeski Martin & Wood for live shows in 2010 and 2011. He recorded on a T Bone Burnett-produced project the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County with Marc Ribot and Elvis Costello, as yet unreleased. He performed on many Hal Willner-produced shows at UCLA's Royce Hall including a Tribute to Harry Smith in 2001, with a huge number of performers including Todd Rundgren, Phillip Glass, and David Johanson.

Carney composed music for two poetry records on Paris Records (both yet to be released). One was with poet Robert Creeley called Really!. He also did music for an Ira Cohen record called the Stauffenberg Cycle. In 1994 Ralph performed on the Kathy Acker record Redoing Childhood (Paris Records). He did some songs for some flash Web Premiere Toons cartoons on CartoonNetwork.com in 2001. His old band Tin Huey put out a compilation CD of unreleased material in 2009 on Smog Veil Records. He did a collaboration with David Greenberger who puts out the Duplex Planet called Oh Pa that came out in late 2011.[4] Since 2009 he has been recording and playing gigs with his Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project. A new record Seriously was issued in July 2011 on Smog Veil Records.

A documentary film has been in the works for the past few years about him called This Is! Ralph Carney, which is named after his 2003 album.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Carney's nephew Patrick Carney is the drummer for the Black Keys. The two collaborated on the theme music to the Netflix original series BoJack Horseman.[3]


Solo albums[edit]


  1. ^ Akron Cracker, retrieved 12 February 2016 
  2. ^ "Ralph Carney Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Sandy, Eric (25 Aug 2014). "The Black Keys' Pat Carney Wrote the Theme to Netflix's 'BoJack Horseman' With His Uncle". Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  4. ^ 22-January-2012 interview on Outsight Radio Hours
  5. ^ "Currently in production: This is Ralph Carney". Retrieved 12 February 2016. 

External links[edit]