October 29, 2015

Ray Stevens Nashville on RFD-TV...

Hello all!! It's getting closer to the debut of Ray Stevens Nashville. The upcoming talk/variety program is set to debut next Saturday night, November 7th, on RFD-TV. Based on the information the first guest is Steve Wariner. The series is a long time coming and if you've been a fan of Ray's for any length of time, like say, more than 10 years or at least 20 years then you're well aware of how long Ray has sought a television series of some kind. You can research many print interviews or recall any number of television interviews and more than likely at some point Ray's made mention of his hope of having a series on television...at one point in time in his interviews he often mentioned his work on an adaptation of Johnny Appleseed that he hoped to get into production. In the early '90s (1992) he issued a VHS called Amazing Rolling Revue that contained what he described as an unsold pilot for a television series. A couple of years later (1995) he emerged with a direct-to-video movie titled Get Serious! (just recently issued on DVD for the first time). The long held tradition of releasing a movie to theaters and then having it issued on VHS was being challenged given Ray's idea of doing the reverse. He had the idea of issuing a movie on video, first, and then attempting to get theatrical distribution but it didn't come to fruition.

Sometime around 2008/2009 Ray participated in a duet recording of a song called "Retired". The song is about the effects of retirement. Not long after the retirement theme was explored in that duet recording along came Ray and a series called We Ain't Dead Yet!. An unsold pilot, at first, it expanded into an on-line, subscription-based series that ran for about half a year. The series took place inside a retirement home called The Encore. Ray recorded a solo version of "Retired" for his 2009 CD, One For the Road.

A couple of years ago The Nashville Network re-launched as a regional sub-channel and in 2013 the channel brought Ray-ality TV to it's schedule. That half hour series consisted of edited footage of Ray's many video appearances and television performances sandwiched between newly recorded footage.

To re-cap: 1992's Amazing Rolling Revue didn't make it to a series and is only available in it's entirety on VHS and 1995's Get Serious! didn't branch out into a theatrical release; the efforts of We Ain't Dead Yet! and Ray-ality TV certainly come close to Ray's wish of having a continuing television series (at last!) but in each case there wasn't nationally televised airplay and so, as a result, the exposure on a national scale was more or less non-existent. 

Last year Ray began issuing YouTube-only clips, also titled Ray-ality TV...referring to them as webisodes. Ray's YouTube series, more or less, featured re-released/edited/re-mixed offerings of just about everything from his video career to that point (footage going back to the early 1990s in some cases!). Performances from his Branson, Missouri concerts (1991, 1992, 1993, and 2010) made their way into those clip-filled installments, too.

All of those prior efforts, including some I didn't get around to mentioning, leads up to this brand new television venture on an even bigger stage than before...it's Ray Stevens' Nashville...and as you can see from the promo/banner the series debuts on November 7th at 7:30pm Central, 8:30pm Eastern...

RFD-TV is available nationally in millions of homes and in terms of potential audience it could bring his series tens of thousands of viewers weekly. If you don't get the channel as part of your regular cluster of programming then call your cable provider and ask for it. I am hoping that the series becomes available at some point on DVD for posterity's sake.

October 3, 2015

Ray Stevens: Pigeon Forge concert...

Hello all...and for me this has certainly been a memorable October introduction as far as the change in weather is concerned. Normally there isn't such a drastic change in temperatures but the last couple of days it's not gotten above 55 degrees. A return to normalcy is on the way, though, as today's high is going to be the upper 60s.

Speaking of numbers...the current unique views for "You Didn't Build That" are 54,927. This is a pick-up of 4,175 since my previous blog post.

This past Saturday Ray made a guest appearance on the Opry. He appeared during the final half hour segment of the night. Mel Tillis hosted the segment. Ray performed "Misty" and "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". Ray told a story about monkey's in outer space and he spoke of his upcoming television series...the program is called Ray Stevens' Nashville (the same name of his memoir). If you visit Ray's Facebook page you'll see that the banner's changed to reflect the upcoming series (it changed on September 29th). Mel, in his introduction, remarked that the program is to debut on November 7th on RFD-TV. Also mentioned in the introduction was the availability of Ray's current CD, Here We Go Again!. Mel referenced his famous stutter during the promo for Ray's CD.

Ray's completed several of his concerts since my previous blog post (the SKyPAC concert happened yesterday, October 2nd) and today he'll be doing 2 concerts at the Country Tonight venue in Pigeon Forge, TN. You can read about those concerts in this promo...


After tonight's pair of concerts in Pigeon Forge Ray's next appearance is up north in Canada at the Casino Rama venue on October 9th. Since it's a Casino there's an age restriction: 19 years and up. It's my assumption that he'll sing "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" either as part of a medley or perhaps in full performance...it's an obvious choice and it's too irresistible to omit from the set-list. You can hear that 1960 recording and other early recording on this CD. It covers a lot of ground as far as the earliest of Ray's commercial recordings (dating back to 1957). The inclusion of those rare single releases Ray's first 2 studio albums for Mercury Records in their entirety make this one of the better compilation releases...one of the best of the last 5 to 10 years.

"Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" is a pivotal song in his career...if it weren't for his writing and recording the song in 1960 and it becoming a near-hit (before being pulled off the air for copyright reasons) he probably never would've thought of issuing comedy/novelty music at all. The fact of the 1960 novelty song getting a lot of attention and airplay (more than anything he previously had out on the market) gave Ray the idea that comedy songs could get him attention...and the rest is history as they say.