DESCRIPTION: Ralph Carney (born January 23, 1956, Akron, Ohio) is an American musician. While his primary instruments are various saxophones and clarinets, Carney collects and plays many instruments, often unusual or obscure ones. He was a founding member of Tin Huey, and is perhaps best known for his long association with singer Tom Waits. He 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 and Bill Laswell, 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. 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.
Ralph is the uncle of The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney and collaborated with them on their album Attack & Release. He occasionally joined them on stage when they toured that record. 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—it has yet to be released. 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.
He composed music for two poetry records on Paris Records (both yet to be released). One is Robert Creeley called Really! and he did music for an Ira Cohen record called the Stauffenberg Cycle. In 1994 Ralph performed on the Kathy Acker record Redoing Childhood (Paris Records). 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. Since 2009 he has been recording and playing gigs with his Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project. A new record "Seriously" will be coming out 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.
He also did some songs for some flash Web Premiere Toons cartoons on CartoonNetwork.com in 2001.