September 19, 2016

Ray Stevens talks of "Dear America"...

Hello once again! In my usual effort to try and track down any goings-on in the career of Ray Stevens and place it here on my fan-created blog for you all to see I come across a link that happened to have been posted several days ago containing a call-in interview from Ray. The actual interview took place on September 9th (the Friday before 9/11) and so it's an in-the-moment reflection of the "Dear America" music video which had debuted on-line on September 6th. So, this interview takes place right in the middle of the video's impact (it had obtained more than 100,000 unique views in little time).

The program featuring Ray as one of the guests happened to be The Rusty Humphries Rebellion on the USA Radio Network.

I came across a link to the program on social media several days ago (via a site called Western Journalism) but I didn't click the link because the description happened to be vague. Thinking it to be a link to a story about the creation of "Dear America" highlighting the brief YouTube video clip of Ray in the studio singing and talking about the song's creation I thought that the article wouldn't be covering anything that I hadn't already shared with you and so I never bothered clicking the link. However...just out of curiosity I clicked the link about an hour ago and was surprised to learn that the link features something of a transcript of an interview Ray gave back on September 9th...not only a transcript, of sorts, but there also happens to be an audio clip available. The clip provided is a little more than 21 minutes in length and Ray's interview leads off the clip. The segment lasts a little more than 9 minutes followed by the playing of "Dear America". The playback volume featured in that particular audio clip on the Western Journalism site is kind of lo. Fortunately I did some searching and ventured to the official USA Network site and they have an audio clip of the entire program and it's volume is much better by comparison.

You can listen to the program by clicking HERE. Since it's the full program (49 minutes) it'll feature the other guests, too. Ray's portion of the program begins at the 22 minute, 31 second mark. Earlier I mentioned that the interview took place on September 9th. That's the date provided on the Western Journalism site...but yet the date provided on the USA Network site states it's from September 14th. This could be an example of date of interview verses the date it was posted on-line. The reason I say that is because at the start of the program the host makes mention of first guest, Ann Coulter, and remarks about the controversy from "a couple days ago". He's referring to a celebrity roast of Rob Lowe from September 5th...and so from that bit of information it's safe to assume that September 9th is the day of the broadcast featuring Ray Stevens.

The "Dear America" music video picked up 32,332 additional unique views during the last 8 days. On 9/11 the video had 155,248 unique views and at the moment the total is 187,580.

September 11, 2016

Ray Stevens featured on Rare Country...

Hello once more...it's nearing the 12pm hour on this 15th anniversary of 9/11. A time line of events on that day is broken into specific detail on a variety of websites all over the internet. The first hijacked plane hit the North Toer of the World Trade Center at 8:46am Eastern; the second hijacked plane hit the South Toer of the World Trade Center at 9:03am Eastern; the third hijacked plane hit the Pentagon at 9:37am Eastern; and the fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania at 10:03am Eastern. As I touched on in my previous blog entry the fourth plane crashed during a struggle that took place as several passengers attempted to subdue the hijackers.

A couple days ago, back on September 9th, a website called Rare Country published an article promoting Ray's current 9/11 remembrance, "Dear America". You can read that article by clicking HERE. It's a nice overview of the song and it's creation. The article includes an embed of the music video. As you read their article it includes some commentary from Ray about the video and the choice of delivering the song in an intimate setting rather than using a full-scale, grandiose presentation. This is the only article, so far, to include more of a detailed look at the song and offers additional commentary from Ray on the immediate success of the video.

There have been all sorts of on-line publicity for "Dear America"...several radio station websites have shared the video, too. It seems like most on-line sites, with the exception of The Boot, picked up on the video on September 9th. The Boot had the exclusive debut of the video on September 6th followed by it's debut on Ray's YouTube channel not long afterward. One of the recurring themes in most, if not all, of the articles being published about Ray concerning "Dear America" is the writer's surprise of him 'being serious'. A couple of the articles I came across lead off with their opinion that Ray's supposed to be a funny man and their hearing him being serious is "unusual".

Naturally this sort of astonished response comes from casual music listeners that maybe only know of Ray Stevens for comical, non-serious material or just know of his image and his name but don't really know much about his music or career but yet associate his name with comedy nevertheless. All of this reminds of late 2009, early 2010...as so many people back then were startled to hear Ray singing a song called "We The People" via a YouTube music video. It startled many people because of their inability to come to the realization that 'funny man' Ray Stevens does have a serious, thought-provoking side which had been displayed on numerous recordings dating back to the '60s. It's funny, though, that 6 years later people are still baffled over the idea that Ray Stevens can be serious when he chooses to.

Never forget 9/11!

Ray Stevens and Patriotism...

Hello to all the fans of Ray Stevens! Today marks the 15th Anniversary of 9/11...the day in American history on September 11, 2001 in which terrorists, under the guidance and influence of Osama bin Laden, attacked our nation. Reportedly 19 hijackers took over a total of 4 airplanes...2 of those planes crashed into the World Trade Center...1 plane crashed into a section of the Pentagon...and a third, reportedly headed toward Washington, D.C. and presumably the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in a field in a rural area of Pennsylvania. That particular crash happened as a result of several passengers and flight crew planning to overtake the hijackers. Phone messages from passengers to friends and family and the flight voice recorders indicate such a plan taking shape. In the struggle with the 4 armed terrorists on-board the plane crashed into the field. Recordings indicate that the passengers had hoped, should the plane crash, that it would do so prior to it's intended target.

A couple months ago I posted a blog entry about the various military songs from Ray Stevens as a celebration of Independence Day. Those that have been long time visitors of this fan-created blog should be very familiar with the music of Ray Stevens and his career. If you've never seen this blog before you can search the Archive section over on the right hand side of the page and browse through my various blog entries about Ray Stevens. This blog dates back to 2008!

Ray's initial music contribution to 9/11 happened back in 2001. Late in 2001 Ray emerged with the single, "Osama Yo' Mama". The song, released originally as a single-only backed with "Hello Mama", became a popular hit. In country music it managed to rise into the airplay-driven Top-50 but country radio station programmers, at some point, must have had a change of heart concerning the song and it all but vanished from playlists. Ironically the single remained a top seller for half a year (into the summer of 2002). In the early part of 2002 a music video of the song emerged as did a full length CD from Curb Records (his first project released through Curb Records since 1996). The album featured the same cover art as the CD single and to distinguish the single release from the full length CD of music the phrase The Album was superimposed behind the illustration of Ray as Uncle Sam...as seen below...

 
Later, in 2004, Ray released the all-serious CD, Thank You. The song has an emotional music video. It's on Ray's YouTube channel. Thank You came along, if my memory serves me correctly, as a result of the emergence of anti-America sentiment and anti-Military protests from American citizens. In the 3 years since 9/11 there had been this simmering anger by a loud, vocal minority of American citizens over America's military presence all over the Middle East and in their minds the War on Terror had shifted from going after Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban (those responsible and those that harbored the 9/11 hijackers) and had spread into Iraq, Iran, and other places. In essence the conflict, as critics seen it, expanded to include ANY country that supported terrorism and anti-American culture.

However, instead of going over material I covered a couple of months ago in the Independence Day edition of my blog, this particular blog entry, for the most part, is my attempt to set the record straight about a certain accusation that comes up every time there's a remembrance of 9/11. The accusation is profiting. There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of people that see any kind of remembrance/memorial of 9/11 as a potential to "profit off tragedy". Such claims are usually unfounded but emotionally charged nevertheless. There have been several on-line accusations made, ever since the Ray Stevens "Dear America" music video made it's debut on September 6th, that the song is an "awful display of profiting off a tragedy" or "just in time for 9/11, it's time to cash-in on a tragedy". I'm not making those remarks up. You can find such ignorant comments and more like those if you visit YouTube or other on-line pages that have embedded the video.  As I've remarked for years that's the reason I don't provide links to YouTube music videos and I prefer to embed them on my blog page instead. I don't want to provide a link to any video that features or has the potential to feature combative, vile comments.

Now, of course, those kinds of comments from faceless critics on the internet I referenced are laced with ignorance but they're also designed to vilify an innocent figure (Ray Stevens) and use the emotions tied to 9/11 to support their argument. I briefly touched on this in my previous blog entry. I think I referred to those that do not like "Dear America" as bitter, cynical, ungrateful "woe is me" losers.

Hundreds of thousands of people have clicked the video, though. In my previous blog entry I posted that "Dear America" had gotten 103,932 unique views. I checked the totals a couple of minutes ago and the video's at 155,248. That's a pickup of 51,316 additional unique views. It's sure to hit the 200,000 mark and rise even higher as the days go by. The more exposure the song gets the more people are reminded to never forget 9/11. 

Click this Dear America link to purchase the Mp3 from Amazon. It's been released on Ray's own label, CabaRay Entertainment. There has not been any information released as to when a full length CD of songs is to be released. I'm guessing that the CD is going to be named after the "Dear America" single and have this be the cover art. At the moment this is, of course, the photo publicizing the single...