Michael Ray has spent the last few months traveling between Nashville and his hometown of Eustis, Florida, where he grew up in a family of musicians, watching his grandfather’s band The Country Cousins, learning his first guitar chords at 8-years-old and eventually joining them on stage.
“If I start feeling real down, I just need to go down there for a few days to see everybody. I’ll get rejuvenated with my family. Something about being on that dirt just does a lot for me,” shares Ray. “This year helped me realize that going back home allows me to move forward, being around the people who would say, ‘We know you can do it’ when I would say, ‘I think I can do it’ as I was getting started.”
Now, with two hit albums, five RIAA Gold-certified songs, three No. 1’s and both feet firmly planted on the ground, Ray is readying his third project – a bridge between country’s past and present – with lead single “Whiskey And Rain” set for release Friday, Sept. 25. Pre-save “Whiskey And Rain” HERE.
“I miss story songs that you have to listen to all the way through to understand. This song is everything I love about country music – traditional Country music, like Tim McGraw and Earl Thomas Conley, and I want to bring that back,” shares Ray. “This is the music I originally came to Nashville to make, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity for fans to get to know me better as an artist.”
Written by Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure and produced by Ross Copperman, “Whiskey And Rain” echoes two of Ray’s heroes, Gary Stewart and Gary Allan, melding vintage sounds with modern Country in sad commiseration.
With touring currently on hold, Ray has established a weekly virtual series, Honkytonk Tuesday, where he is joined by surprise guests to perform their favorite ‘80s and ‘90s tunes.
“We started recording after we created Honkytonk Tuesday, but I knew I wanted to do this project before we put the series together,” Ray elaborates. “Creating Honkytonk Tuesday made me fully dive-in to that sound, and it was the perfect segue into ‘Whiskey And Rain.’”
To-date, Ray has been joined by Clint Black, Mark Wills, Marty Raybon, Aaron Tippin and Steve Wariner, among others. Honkytonk Tuesdays are streamed live on Ray’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter at 7 p.m. CT and shared on Instagram immediately following the stream.
“Whiskey And Rain” follows the release of “Her World Or Mine,” with the official music video starring Chad Michael Murray garnering over 19 million views on YouTube since its premiere with “Good Morning America” and ABC.com last October.