The 4th Annual Hop Harvest Smoke Out at Ray Brothers BBQ

The 4th Annual Hop Harvest Smoke Out at Ray Brothers BBQ

A beautiful drive from every direction. An oasis on Rt. 20. A secret hip and rollicking venue less than 40 minutes from Syracuse…..These are all accurate assessments of Ray Brothers BBQ, located at 6474 Rt. 20 in Bouckville NY.

According to the website, “Ray Brothers BBQ opened in 2014 and is located on Route 20 in Bouckville, just a few miles north of Hamilton. Brothers Tucker and Colin opened the restaurant after many years of experience working in the food industry. They have found a new flame for their passion in the form of slow-cooked meats.” I also asked the brothers a few additional questions:

Q: How long have you featured music?
A: …since we opened, 4 years. Can’t live without it.

Q: What is the Ray Brothers BBQ atmosphere?
A: A relaxed atmosphere. Where people feel comfortable and happy.

Q: What are a few things people can expect when visiting Ray Brothers BBQ?
A:  They can expect good food,  good service,  good atmosphere, and good music. Thats kind of the mantra.  Good family, good friends, good food.

It was the September 2nd Hop Harvest “music fest,” featuring national recording artist Keller Williams as well as the local “new grass” act “Floodwood” that drew this reviewer and several friends to brave the heat on a recent summer night. Other performers included Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Nina’s Brew, and Wes Williams.

The restaurant closed its kitchen during the event to allow staff to help in other ways. A Ray Bros BBQ food truck nourished the crowd until 7 pm, then C.D. Concessions took over for the rest of the evening. This reviewer had their chili, ratatouille, and then the chili again. It was that good! A spicy margarita (featuring the flavors of pineapple and jalapeños!) helped fuel a night of dancing and bopping to the eclectic variety of live music.


Floodwood, hailing from the Utica area, features Jason Barady on mandolin, Vinnie Amico (from moe.) on drums, Tony Markellis (from the Trey Anastasio Band) on bass, and Nick Piccininni on banjo, guitar, and fiddle. Their deft picking and incredible dynamics surpass that of any national act.  Nick and Jay took advantage of their wireless systems to join the crowd at times. Towards the end of their show,  Keller Williams joined them in stage as well!


Headliner Williams used his prowess on the looper, electronic drum pads and a small synthesizer, as well as several different acoustic guitars and a bass to showcase his jamming and endearing sense of humor. A “triangle” even made itself part of a song. Members of Floodwood joined him onstage towards the end of the evening.


Keller Williams has proven himself to be quite a talented solo performer on the jam band circuit as a “One-Man-Jam-Band!” This is no small feat. Speaking of “feet,” the audience was on theirs the whole night, wooping and singing along to every song.

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