Ray Price Interview

Ray Price Interview January 2010;

 

Every now and then we are fortunate enough to witness an artist that has made a huge impact on the world of music with an astounding career that has spanned more than sixty years in the making and boundless vocals that age like fine wine; the artist we proudly speak of is the incomparable Ray Price!

 

This past year we had the great privilege of sitting down with Mr. Price for an interview on his tour bus just outside of downtown Nashville during CRS week. We invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy an exciting journey into the world of Ray Price. Youíll get an inside scoop about his many years in the music business, recollections of his dear friend the late great Hank Williams, whether or not he listens to the current trends of country music on the radio and his plans for 2010.

 

We hope you enjoy this interview just as much as we did taking part in it. Thank you for your loyalty and support. We are very thankful for each and every one of our readers!! God Bless.

 

(CSC) 1. It is great to chat with you again. Whatís the latest with you?

 

(Ray Price)

Not a whole lot. Just working on the ranch and doing some show dates. Iíve done some tour dates recently with my pal Willie Nelson and Billy Bob Thornton the movie star.

 

 

(CSC) 2. Iíd like to talk to you about one of your good friends, Hank Williams. Can you recall how you two first met and became acquainted?

 

(Ray Price)

He was doing a show that was held on Friday nights called ďFriday Night Frolics.Ē When the stars were in town (Nashville) they would all gather around to perform together. A friend of mine who was in the publishing business at that time named Troy Martin managed to get me as a guest on the show and then we met and became real fast friends. I stuck there with him right until he died.

 

(Country Stars Central)

Did you have the opportunity to perform with him on the road at all?

 

(Ray Price)

Somewhat; we did a tour together in January of 1952.

   

 

(CSC) 3. What did you admire most about Hank Williams as an artist in his time?

 

(Ray Price)

Just that he was a good person; a great blues singer. I lived with him for about six months before he died. Then he got married and shortly after he died on New Years Eve. I had seen him at Christmas in Dallas and he and I were supposed to have lunch on New Years Day. He was in Canton, Ohio and I was in Akron which is just about 35 miles apart. We were going to have lunch together but he didnít make it.

 

 

(CSC) 4. Your style of music is timeless. Why do you think after all these years people still gravitate towards your style of country music?

 

(Ray Price)

I donít know. I hope itís because they like it. (Laughs) Itís really great I think. Iíve been here in the business sixty years and weíre still playing to full houses, still have great crowds, and have a great band. Some of our shows donít sell out, but most of them do! (Laughs)  

 

 

(CSC) 5. Growing up as a young man, what and when was your first attraction to music?

 

(Ray Price)

Iím not sure what really did it but I used to sing all the time as a kid, I donít know why. I never did have an idea of being a singer at that time in my life. I say that with some reservation because the way I got into the business was while studying veterinary medicine in college and staying in the naval barracks that the government let a bunch of us veterans have out of World War II.

 

They had a band and a guitar cat asked me if I would go with him to a music publisher and sing a couple of his songs so he could get them published. I agreed to it and we sang the songs. I was doing some radio work and they would listen to me on the break, they asked me if I could come back the next morning so I went back to help the guy out and there was a man there from Nashville that signed me to a record contract and thatís how I got into it.

 

 

(CSC) 6. What do you enjoy most about coming to Nashville and taking part in the events around town?

 

(Ray Price)

I like to come here and visit because I lived here for sixteen years. I have been invited to play at a tribute on Sunday to the late Don Helms and he was a real good close friend of mine. He was Hank Williams steel player too. He was a great cat and that is the reason why Iím doing it. I enjoy those kinds of things and I enjoy doing the Opry. Itís not like it was though, all my old friends are dead and gone; all except Jimmy Dickens and heís a lovable little guy!

 

 

(CSC) 7. You were inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1996. What does it mean to you to be a part of it?

 

(Ray Price)

Well it means Iíve done something right. I didnít think they were going to let me in. I was nominated about eight or nine times and then they let me in. Of course it makes me feel good and makes me feel like I was one of them.  I was on the front end of it and now Iím on the tail end of it.

 

 

(CSC) 8. Youíve played the Grand Ole Opry many times before in your career. What does the show mean to you personally?

 

(Ray Price)

Well when I started it was a great showcase. If you went on the Grand Ole Opry youíd get booked out and get dates. That was how it operated at the time. If you had a slot on the Grand Ole Opry show, the crowds would come. It was a great deal, I was part of a family but the familyís gone. It means a whole lot to me and it helped me do it; I couldnít have done it without it.

 

 

(CSC) 9. Are there any newer artists (male/female) in the business that youíre impressed with or that happen to play on the Opry?

 

(Ray Price)

No I donít hear them and theyíre not singing the country music that I play. So for that reason I really donít like to listen to it. Too many of them sound exactly alike, itís like a clone. I donít know if theyíre doing that because itís done digitally because it wouldnít sound that way normally, but electronically itís not going to sound right.  

 

 

(CSC) 10. You embarked on a tour recently with music legends Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard titled, ďLast Of The Breed.Ē Where did the idea for that tour come together?

 

(Ray Price)

I was thinking about it one night and I mentioned it to Willie. I told him that the three of us ought to get together to do a tour and then Willie took it and ran with it. It worked out great, we did a recording and we were out on the road about thirty dates or so. The crowds were fantastic to us. We were going to do it again this year but Merle had cancer in his lung so we had to pass on that unfortunately. We added Billy Bob Thornton to the tour for some of the dates instead. Willie and I are supposed to record with Bob Dylan and Leon Russell; shortly after weíd like to take that combination of talent out on tour. Billy Bob Thornton may be on that record but Iím not sure yet. They say heís a pretty good singer. 

 

 

(CSC) 11. Do you have plans to release a new album anytime soon?

 

(Ray Price)

Iíve got a new one that is currently in the works. I hope to have it out real soon. It will be on my own record company. These are all not new songs that are on it, itís actually a tribute record. I do twelve songs of all the big ones that have all passed like Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Conway Twitty, and Marty Robbins. Iím not trying to out sing emí or anything like that, Itís just a tribute album. That will be the first one out and Willie will be with me on a few of the songs.

 

 

(CSC) 12. Whatís ONE thing in your career youíre most proud of, and why?

 

(Ray Price)  

To get to be eighty-three, (Laughs) nah Iím just being facetious.  (Ray recently celebrated his  eighty-fourth birthday on January 12th!!) My career has been great, Iíd like to see a whole lot better part of it but itís getting late in the years so Iím not sure that will happen or not.

 

(Country Stars Central)

So fans can look forward to catching you out on the road playing dates?

 

(Ray Price)

Yeah I do. Everythingís fine but of course the economyís got everybody pretty messed up now. Weíre doing fine though, I canít complain. 

 

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