June 30, 2014

Ray Stevens Latest Happenings...

Hello all Ray Stevens fans!! I've come today with some audio links of some of Ray's recent appearances...in the link below Ray performs "Nashville", "The Streak:", and "If Jesus Is a Stranger". The audience cheers as the opening of "The Streak" starts to play. The performance of "The Streak" is missing the kazoo whistle until the very end. Once you click the audio link you can either listen to the entire Opry presentation or you can fast forward until you hear Bill Cody introduce Ray. The link doesn't have a timer on it but from my listening to it on my car radio the night it originally aired I already know that Ray appeared during the last half hour segment.

Tuesday Night Opry: June 24, 2014

Here's an interview I came across today. It's from an internet series called Get Off Of My Lawn hosted by Bryan Cox. You can listen to the audio link HERE. It's highly engaging and Ray talks about his book/memoir, Nashville, and about Elvis among some other things.

Tonight at 8pm Eastern and running until 10pm Eastern, there's suppose to be an internet series that will feature a lot of Ray's songs. The link to hear the station is HERE. The page lists the DJ/host as having a regular one hour program on Monday nights but according to a post on a social media site, tonight's episode is going be 2 hours instead of 1 and Ray is to be a featured artist. Beyond this I have no idea the structure of the program or if it'll be an exclusive 2 hour block of nothing but Ray Stevens or if his songs will be played more than others. The host is named Bruce Toews and the program's official title is Toews on the Waves.

June 30 marks an anniversary...it was on June 30, 1962 that "Ahab the Arab" hit the Hot 100. It reached the Top-40 a couple of weeks later and on it's 5th chart week it had jumped into the Top-10. It spent 2 weeks in the Top-5 and sold more than a million copies.

June 27, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 13...

Once more I bring the latest installment of Rayality TV from Ray Stevens! This time around it's ebisode 13 and it spotlights the hysterical music video of "The Blue Cyclone, Part 1". I imagine Part 2 is going to be on next week's installment of Rayality TV. You'll never want to cross paths with The Cyclone...especially not in a darkened parking lot...after he believes you've attacked him from your ringside seat.

Earlier this morning Ray Stevens gave an interview on KMOX radio on The Charlie Brennan Show. Ray had given an interview on this program several years earlier during the TSA body scan scandals. At the time of that interview Ray's current single/video happened to be "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore". In this latest interview Ray discusses his book and his upcoming gospel CD. The interview is broken into 2 parts and you can access both of them HERE. Ray also discusses "Ahab the Arab", "The Streak", "Gitarzan", "Misty", and the story behind "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". The thing that's consistently overlooked is the fact that Ray eventually recorded the song a year after it had become a big hit for B.J Thomas. Ray's recording of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" can be found on his Everything Is Beautiful album (1970).

Ray's upcoming gospel project, hich is going to be released in 2 separate Volumes, is going to be marketed by Bill Gaither and associates. Ray mentions in Part 2 of the audio clip that they'll be in complete charge of the project's distribution, marketing, publicity. Earlier I posted a link to the gospel project. Here's the link once more: Ray Stevens Gospel Collection, Volume One. The CD isn't to be released until August 19th. I have no idea if this product page is the only place a customer has to place an order or if it'll become available all over the internet in late August.

Ray Stevens: The Nashville Memoir, Part Three...

Hello one and all...it's a Friday and if you've read my previous couple of blogs you'll know that things have started to pick back up once again in the Ray Stevens universe after a very brief downtime. Ray made the announcement yesterday that his book, Nashville, is nearly sold out of it's initial printing. He also mentioned that the book will be available in brick and mortar book stores and his website later in the summer.  For now, Amazon is the best place to go for your purchase of Ray's Nashville book.

I came across information about a July appearance by Ray Stevens at the Ford Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame. The information came from a comment made on Ray's page at the Facebook site. The appearance is on July 19th at 11:30am Central time...it's a Songwriter Session. The venue can handle a little more than 200 and therefore the ticket availability has some specific rules in place for people to adhere to and so read the rules carefully. You can read all about the Ford Theater appearance HERE.

Also...I came across...are you ready?? I came across THIS!!!!

Isn't that the greatest thing you've ever seen??? The release date is August 19, 2014!! Check out the track list!! A lot of medley's but there's plenty of stand alone songs, too.

June 24, 2014

Ray Stevens: The Nashville Memoir, Part 2...

Hello once more!! I came across a new piece about the Ray Stevens book and decided to write a blog post and share it with everyone. This time around the article comes from Roughstock and it's written by Alanna Conaway.

In my previous blog I forgot to mention that Rolling Stone magazine did an article on Ray's Nashville book. You can read the article HERE. The page that comes up is the printable page. I decided to share that one instead of the graphic-heavy page it originates from. The main page may load too slow for some and so I'm sharing the less cluttered page.

Also, in my previous blog post, I mentioned that once you click the Amazon link to Ray's Nashville book that the only review you'd see is mine. As it turns out, as I was writing my earlier blog and posting it, Amazon had uploaded a second review of Ray's book. This second review comes from a customer that purchased the Kindle version. I prefer paperback and that's the format I have. The second review is much more shorter than the one I did but at least the reviewer gave the book 5 stars.

Interestingly, if you visit Ray's webpage, you aren't going to find any big announcement about the book's release. If you visit his store you aren't going to see it for sale. I don't know if he's going to let on-line stores and Independent book stores have exclusive sales rights for a certain period of time before he adds it to his web-store but it's very unusual to not see any advertising on Ray's own website for the book. When I came home from work on Sunday evening I got on the computer and went to Ray's site. You know, since Sunday was the day of the book's 'official' street date release, I thought that when I'd click his site in my Favorites folder this past Sunday that I'd have a big display hitting me in the face announcing the book's availability but there is no such display (as of this writing). In the meantime, enjoy the hype and media reports about Ray's book...and here's the Amazon link to Ray's Nashville book.

Ray Stevens: The Nashville Memoir...

Oh yes it's me...I've been busy on a certain social media site during the latest happenings involving Ray Stevens. This past Sunday (June 22) Ray appeared at the Nashville Public Library for an interview with Ralph Emery and a book signing. I've come across one blog detailing the event and the blogger included an image of Ray and Ralph. In addition, the blogger posted an image of himself and Ray at the autograph table. So far, that's the only re-cap I've come across.

I had contacted the library several days before the event and asked if the program would be streamed/podcast, etc. etc. for those that couldn't be there in person. The reply I got is that it'll be available on the internet at a later date.

The library has a YouTube channel and they've uploaded several videos that have been taped at the facility...and so my guess is a video of Ray and Ralph should surface on the library's YouTube channel at some point in the future. Once I see a video posted at the library's YouTube channel or perhaps elsewhere, I'll share it in a future blog post.

Today is another eventful day in the career of Ray Stevens. Actually, though, it's tonight. Ray is going to make an appearance at the Tuesday Night Opry during the program's final segment. The last half hour of the Opry begins at 8:45pm Central and runs until 9:15pm. Those in the Eastern time zone that's 9:45pm-10:15pm. He'll be sharing the half hour segment with Charlie Daniels. I assume Ray, being the guest artist, will go first. I also assume this because right after Ray's performance he'll be whisked away to The Opry Shop to sign copies of his Nashville memoir. The shop is separate from the Opry and is open to the public...but the book signing's are exclusive to those that attended that evening's Opry performance...

In order to have your book signed by Ray, you'll have to show the store's staff your Opry ticket stub. The book signing is exclusive to those that attended the Tuesday Night Opry.

That disclaimer's been part of the Opry's event site for awhile and so if you've read their page in the days leading up to tonight's appearance you should be well aware of the book signing's exclusiveness. If you attend the Opry tonight and purchase Ray's book simply show the ticket stub to the Opry shop employee's and be in line for an autograph.

To listen to the Tuesday Night Opry, click their listen live button on 650 WSM's webpage.

The publicity for the book's arrival began late last week on June 18th. The Tennessean paper published a story about the book's upcoming release and you can see it HERE.

The Vintage Vinyl News site published this ARTICLE. A site called Broadway World posted this 2-page ARTICLE on June 18th. Country Weekly has an article on their SITE dated June 18th. Their article is going to be part of an upcoming issue of the magazine. The cover date for that issue is July 14, 2014. I'll be on the lookout for that issue of course!!

From June 19th here's a promo piece for the book from a site called The Boot.

The book's official release date happened to be this past Sunday June 22, 2014. It had been available for purchase since March. I purchased my copy on Amazon in April (as soon as I learned of the book's existence) and after reading it I posted a review of it here on my blog and then I posted a review over on Amazon. Feel free to comment or rate my review. If you hadn't purchased Ray's Nashville book, click HERE to do so. So far I'm the only one to have reviewed it...hopefully others will add their thoughts now that the book's officially been released and the publicity campaign is underway (this also means that a whole lot more people now know it's available for purchase!!).

June 14, 2014

Ray Stevens: Rayality TV webisode 12...

Hello all...it's been several days since I posted a blog entry but it isn't because I've been away from the internet. There happened to be a break in the action, as they say during a sportscast, with Ray winding down from his recent activities at the CMA Music Fest and so I took a brief hiatus, too. A couple of videos from Ray appeared on YouTube during this brief hiatus. The first video centered around a contest that those who stopped by Ray's booth at the CMA Music Fest had the chance to enter. The video clip shows Ray selecting a name from a box of entries and then it shows him calling the fan and alerting the person that their name was selected. The prize? A free copy of every CD and DVD currently being sold at Ray's web-store...including the 9-CD Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music and Ray's Nashville memoir! The audio isn't all that good in that particular clip...it may have to do with Ray not wearing a microphone. Some of the audio is loud but with him being soft-spoken it will have you reaching for the volume control on your computer and turning it up. You can see that contest clip HERE.

Now we're up to the most recent installment of Rayality TV! In this clip you'll see Ray's 1995 music video of "Can He Love You Half as Much as I?" from the Get Serious! movie. This is followed by a sketch at The Encore Retirement Home...and an appearance from George Jones! George performs "White Lightning"...well, kind of...the original 1959 recording from George is played but it's the much older George appearing on camera. It's my belief that George, strictly for laughs, lip-synched the performance...if you pay close attention he moves his mouth precisely the way the audio dictates...it's highly comical seeing him match the original recording's vocalization and I suppose that's the intent.

This installment of Rayality TV, by the way, is dedicated to the late, super-great, country music legend George Jones...  

June 9, 2014

Ray Stevens: CMA Music Fest 2014...

Hello one and all...the fans of Ray Stevens and those that stop by here to perhaps learn some things about him that you perhaps aren't going to find elsewhere.

There's over 100 photo's in this particular Facebook album. The pictures are a combination of Ray Stevens signing autographs and performing at the Durango sponsored event at the CMA Music Fest this past Saturday. You can see the pictures HERE.

Now then...for those that missed the music performance Saturday afternoon here's a brief re-cap. He performed five songs during his set. The first performance, "Nashville", coincides now with the book/memoir of the same name that's due to have it's 'official release date' later this month. The song itself goes back to the early '70s. Ray, in several interviews through the years, mentioned that he originally wrote "Nashville" due to his being homesick during an international tour in Europe.

As an additional note: a great music video of that song came along recently...a visual tour of Music City. Some of the lyrics in recent performances of the song have been changed from the original due to the topicality found in the original lyrics. In the original Ray mentions Johnny Cash, Boots Randolph, and Mayor Briley. The verse containing those lyrics/references have long since been replaced by references to the Ryman, the Tennessee Titans, and the Opry. The reference to Chet Atkins is still in place and in the music video it has Ray appearing next to Chet's statue.

The second performance of Ray's segment was "It's Me Again, Margaret". It delighted the audience...Ray remarked that during his autograph sessions that he had met hundreds of women either named Margaret or had mothers, cousins, or aunts named Margaret. After the performance Ray started talking about squirrels. All he had to do was say the word 'squirrel' and the audience erupted in cheers. Yes, as you can guess, he performed "Mississippi Squirrel Revival".

After the performance of this song Ray mentioned that August 19th is to be the release date of his gospel project. I looked on the calendar and the 19th of August is on a Tuesday...most new music projects see a Tuesday release. He never said if the CD is going to be available exclusively at his web-store on that date or if it'll be available everywhere on that date. The pattern lately is for him to release something through his website and then several months later have it available on Amazon, Itunes, and other music stores.

After mentioning the CD's upcoming release he performed "If Jesus Is a Stranger".

You may remember that song from a blog I posted several months ago. Ray appeared on one of the last episodes of Mike Huckabee's radio program and I (big surprise!) posted a blog about it. I searched the archives and found that it took place on December 4, 2013. Ray spoke of this future gospel CD then and Mike played the recording of "If Jesus Is a Stranger". At the time Ray had mentioned that the CD's release would happen in January 2014. Something must have come up in the post-production phase or perhaps the January 2014 release originally mentioned on Huckabee's radio program was later considered a bad time of the year to release a project and get the kind of attention it deserves. From what I understand (based on some of Ray's interviews) this upcoming gospel CD is going to be a multiple CD release...meaning it'll include much more than the standard 10-12 songs. So, look for the CD to be available this August. Ray mentioned that there would be 2 volumes to the collection.

Ray closed out his half hour segment with "Everything Is Beautiful". Prior to his performance he asked the sound guy if the audio could be turned up. Listening to his performance over the internet I assumed that the music track's low volume was simply a glitch in the connection...but once Ray asked the sound guy to 'turn up the volume' I could hear the music louder than before. Ray remarked that the people in the audience might be able to hear the music but he couldn't hear it.

All in all it happened to be a good performance. If you're familiar at all with Ray Stevens in a concert setting and you listened to the performance this past Saturday you'll immediately notice that the short time slot did have some impact on his performance. He didn't have the time to elaborate, exaggerate, and or ad-lib as much as he does in a usual performance. I felt like he was just getting warmed up right as his portion was coming to a close. "It's Me Again, Margaret", for example, was funny as usual but it didn't have the timing of the performances he gives in a usual concert setting. It's hard to explain without getting overly analytical. It's Ray Stevens, though...time restricted or given all the time he needs...you're going to be entertained in some fashion and that's the bottom line.

June 5, 2014

Ray Stevens: CMA Music Fest, Day One...

Hello all the fans of Ray Stevens!! Today is the first day of the CMA Music Fest...Ray has a booth set up and is to be there signing autographs and posing for pictures everyday of the event. The event lasts through June 8th and he'll be there in person 2 hours each day from 11am-1pm Central time (12pm-2pm Eastern). The booth, I assume, will continue to be "open" for people to stop by and purchase items during business hours but as far as Ray being at the booth it'll only be during the 2 hour time frame each day as mentioned above. A series of pictures from the first day appears on Ray's Facebook page. So far there are only three images posted on his Facebook page. You can see the images below...

Image One

Image Two

Image Three

Keep checking his Facebook page for additional pictures (should there be any forthcoming).

On Saturday, June 7th, Ray is to perform at the CMA Music Fest...so don't forget!

You can listen to the performance on the internet audio stream on 650 WSM radio's webpage if you're unable, like me, to attend the event in person. You can read all about the June 7th performance HERE. The 2pm time slot is Central...meaning that it'll be 3pm Eastern.

Speaking of his performance...I don't know if he'll perform classic songs or if he'll perform something brand new and exclusive considering there are to be some new CD's from him being released at some point this year. Of course, I'll be making commentary on whatever I hear this Saturday in a future blog post. If you hadn't done so already, save Ray's Facebook page to your favorites...

Ray Stevens Facebook Page