OK, this is crazy to admit, but I was unfamiliar with Ray Scott until the past week or so. I had heard his name mentioned by my buddy Doug over at IOUMusic on facebook, but I guess I never looked him up for some reason. BIG mistake on my part.
Ironically, like yesterday’s article on James Carothers, the deep baritone vocals of Ray Scott are instantly recognizable. In a world of rap filled sound-a-likes, Ray Scott is that refreshing blast of AC on sweltering hot day. He’s fresh, and his fans can’t get enough of his music. After digging through his catalog, it’s pretty easy to see why. He comes across about as genuine and humorous as they come - all while producing some excellent sounding country music. It hasn’t all been sunshine and daisies however, as Ray Scott has had his own share of rejection to overcome before being the success he is today.
Like many well intentioned folks who move to Nashville, Scott hoped to leave his mark on the industry when he was signed to Warner Bros records in the early 2000’s. I’ve witnessed quite a few Texas artist share their desires to make a difference by bringing their brand of music to the country hub city. Unfortunately what happens in many cases, is the internal politics of the industry can leave a talented artist hung out to dry. That’s exactly what happened to Ray Scott and he was left to figure out where he would go with his music career. What makes it more difficult is when you sign to a label and the big wigs want to change who you are. What happened to bringing someone on-board to be themselves and working to promote their best self?
If you take a look at Scott’s social media, you’ll immediately realize that he took matters into his own hands to grow his brand. In the digital age we live in, many artists are understandably upset with the streaming and lack of album sales, but being creative is the way to separate yourself from the rest. While some artists just post show dates and boast large numbers of followers, do you ever look at their interaction level? I pay very close attention to this because the amount of followers doesn’t tell the whole story. Think of it like a store. Sure, foot traffic is great, but what’s the conversion to purchases? Same goes for social media, and Scott clearly has interactions with his fans at a much higher level than most I see. And that my friends, shows just how passionate his fans are.
And passionate they should be, because the music that Ray Scott releases can be counted on as being top-notch quality. On his 2017 release Guitar For Sale he will keep your feet stomping with tunes like Put Down the Bottle and yet, still tell a story. Realizing the boundaries between right and wrong and managing the ever popular vices in life is something many struggle with. Going through hell in life and leaning a bit too much on the bottle can wreak havoc on relationships and it’s important to find a balance. I think the old expression is “everything in moderation?”
Playing through the entire album has left me with an artist that has risen way up on my list of favorites. Being a sucker for the twangy upbeat styles of country music, Ray Scott satisfies this Massachusetts guy’s appetite and then some. From the soulful female back-up singers, to the catchy acoustic guitar riffs on the humorous Pray for the Fish, much care was taken to create an album that isn’t the Nashville status-quo. It’s different and feels fresh - something any artist wants to strive for.
Unlike most mainstream albums that are overwhelmingly filled with high octane guitar heavy songs, Scott counters his more upbeat songs with slower reflective ballads such as Growin’ Old. Afterall, a little sadness never hurt a soul when coming through their speaker mesh. Undoubtedly a song about loss in a listener interpreted capacity, it is a stark contrast to Sunny Sweeney’s Grow Old with Me. Unlike in the movies, there isn’t a couple sitting in two chairs, side by side, pointed in the direction of a picturesque sunset. One chair is empty and instead full of heartbreak. If that isn’t a true country tearjerker, then man, I don’t know what is.
Artists like Ray Scott are a constant reminder of the greatness that can come from channeling the disappointments that life deals in the cards. Often times people give up at the first sign of resistance and cave in, tossing away their dreams for good. It’s those that persevere and keep that fire alive in their heart, that go on to reach the level of success many aspire for. I think we should all be a bit more like Ray, and push forward - no matter who or what stands in our way.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!