September 25, 2016

Ray Stevens Charity Golf Classic...

Hello once again...thanks goes out to all of you Ray Stevens fans for helping make "Dear America" a viral video hit. The video's gotten more than 192,000 unique views. Specifically it's at 192,961. I've been keeping track of the video's numbers even though I hadn't posted a blog entry in several days but that bit of information goes without saying...but I decided to say it nonetheless.

On 9/11 the video had 155,332 unique views. It's obtained 37,629 over the last two weeks.

The focal point of this blog entry happens to be an upcoming event...the Ray Stevens Charity Golf Classic. The event is scheduled to take place over a two day period, October 7th and October 8th, at The Temple Hills Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee. Ray and special guests are going to put on a concert on October 7th and then, the following day, the 18-hole golf event is to take place. Ray's been a golf enthusiast for decades but I don't post much, if any, about his golf hobby because it's something he does in his personal/private life and obviously it has no relevance to his music career...until now, that is!

You'll have to register for the event. Given this is September 25th and the event takes place on the 7th and 8th of October I'd call the country club for specific details as far as tickets are concerned. There's a page providing a registration form and a list of donation options to choose from. The Silent Auction, Gala, and Entertainment hosted by Ray Stevens on October 7th is available for a $50.00 option (it's listed fourth from the bottom in the registration options list).

Again, I don't know anything about ticket situation and if the country club mails tickets or if registration to the event and paying on-line is enough to get you inside the country club next month. You can see the registration form by clicking this LINK. As mentioned, if you look through the registration options, you'll come across the section featuring Ray Stevens. I assume if you select that option you'll only be able to gain access to the country club for that particular event and once it's over you'll have to leave.

Anybody wanting to know much more in-detail information should call 1-615-646-4785. Once you call ask about the Ray Stevens concert that's to take place and how you'll be able to see the event. They're open today (Sunday) and so if you're seriously thinking of attending the event next month I'd call today and get ticket information as soon as possible.

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'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 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 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...

September 9, 2016

Ray Stevens: Dear America...A Viral Video Sensation...

Hello one and all!! Hopefully those of you that call yourselves fans of Ray Stevens have taken a moment to either purchase the Mp3 of "Dear America" or have visited YouTube and watched the music video. Posted onto YouTube just 2 days ago it's already generated 103,932 unique views. That number is bound to rise as the days go by. The Boot, Country Rebel, and Wide Open Country have shared the video...helping it reach outside the Ray Stevens fan-base. In so doing the video's also attracted, believe it or not, vicious contempt and anger from those not too happy about America's ideals and it's role in the world, in general, and they apparently are appalled at pro-America sentiment and reflections of 9/11. Such hostility is bad enough but some go even farther by injecting racism into the equation. You can read the vile commentary in the comments section of those sites I made mention of.

If you visit any or all of those sites be sure to search for Ray Stevens, of course. "Dear America" should be the top search result. I'm not reprinting the vile comments here...but they're available for all to see at those sites or you can stop by Ray's Facebook page. The comments made at a couple of those sites are automatically copied to Ray's main Facebook page. It's a shame and a disgrace that there are people out there in this country that hate it so much but, of course, they're reaping the benefits and the freedoms our country provides. Those people that do not like this song are a bunch of bitter, cynical, ungrateful, "woe is me" losers. For those that love the song and it's it is once more...

September 6, 2016

Ray Stevens: Dear America music video....

Hello one and all!!! Today's the day that the brand new song from Ray Stevens becomes available for purchase!!! Like a kid on Christmas morning is the description of my excitement over finally being able to purchase the Mp3 of "Dear America" over on AMAZON this morning!!

Mp3 on Sale Now!!
The music video has just been released, too. It hit the internet literally minutes before I began putting together this blog entry. A country music site called The Boot had the exclusive premiere of the music video and here's a link to their REPORT. The website is one of the few mainstream country music sites that embrace established, legendary performers along side the contemporary country artists of today and The Boot, more than any other, offers articles about Ray Stevens.

A couple minutes after the video made it's exclusive premiere on The Boot, it went live on YouTube! I'm embedding the video here...

I usually don't embed the video's that big but I tried to embed it at a smaller size but it looked too much like a CinemaScope presentation. The appearance above is the best looking embed I could come up with and so that's the one I'm sticking with. I trimmed the video screen measurements found in the embed code from YouTube's default 560 width x 315 height to 455 x 265. I hope you all love the music video as much as I do...and love the song as much as I do!! 

September 5, 2016

Dear America by Ray Stevens...

A quick question to all of you devout fans of Ray Stevens (of which I include myself, too)...can you contain the excitement?? I can't! One more day to go and the upcoming single from Ray Stevens, "Dear America", hits the on-line music stores!! Up until now there's only been the YouTube teaser featuring a snippet of the song and some details about it's creation...but all of this changes tomorrow, September 6th, for it is on this day that the Mp3 download of "Dear America" becomes available for purchase!! Here's that image of Ray once more...
Available September 6, 2016
I'm the one that added that caption underneath the aren't going to see that personal touch anywhere else...and so if you come across this image and see the availability date posted underneath then you'll know that other people on the internet found the image right here on this fan-created blog page. As soon as I purchase "Dear America" tomorrow from Amazon's Mp3 Store I'll, of course, be listening to it several times and then make my official commentary/review of the song on this blog page and then I'll copy/paste my review over onto Amazon's page.

For those of you that hadn't seen the Behind the Scenes teaser video clip currently posted on YouTube here it is...

The single is being released through a brand new imprint, CabaRay Entertainment. This imprint/label is named after Ray's upcoming CabaRay complex...set to open in 2017...a massive entertainment complex which is going to consist of recording studios for audio, television, and video productions and a performance venue for live concerts. So it's almost like a Ray Stevens Universe all under one roof.

I'm sure there's also going to be space reserved for a gift shop, too. I live multiple states away from Tennessee so it's unlikely I'd ever be able to visit the place in person but I'd love to go there...and should the place also contain a gift shop I'd no doubt spend some time in there searching for souvenirs exclusive to the venue.

In the time machine we visit 1976...a sort of hectic year for Ray Stevens. This is the year that seen several changes...the first happened to be the change in record labels. After a lengthy and highly successful run on the Barnaby Records label (1970-1976; a label owned by Andy Williams), Ray moved to the much more mainstream Warner Brothers label following the release of the non-charting single, "Mockingbird Hill", officially the fourth single release from his 1975 Misty album (following "Misty", "Indian Love Call", and "Young Love"). Ray's interpretation of "Mockingbird Hill" is very good and the performance is catchy and memorable once you hear it. My guess is the publicity department at Barnaby Records didn't care to promote the single (given it being Ray's last for the company) and obviously the personnel at Ray's new home, Warner Brothers, weren't about to promote a song on a competing record it more or less didn't have a chance. So why release it in the first place if Barnaby knew going in that Ray was headed for a different label!? Maybe Ray as under contract for one final single release? That's a pretty common occurrence in the music business.

Unfortunately Warner Brothers, at that time, had very little impact or interest in seriously publicizing the artists on their country music roster. Country music legend Buck Owens found this out, too, once he joined the label right around the same time after a lengthy and iconic run with Capitol Records. Having said that, in Ray's case, he did enjoy some success in 1976 after moving to Warner Brothers...largely because the label's publicity department did their job promoting his music. The same couldn't be said for the next couple of years, though, as his single releases hardly gained any notice at radio. It's a shame, too, because if you have the music Ray issued during that time period on Warner Brothers (as I do) you'll be dumbfounded as to how this great music failed to click with listeners and why it's become so overlooked and under-appreciated in the decades that have passed. After the single release on Barnaby of "Mockingbird Hill", Ray issued two singles from his Just for the Record Warner Brothers debut album: "You Are So Beautiful" and "Honky Tonk Waltz". Neither single hit the Hot 100 Pop chart but they both hit the Top-40 of the Country chart...but then, during December 1976, Warner Brothers issued "In the Mood"...a single from Ray in which he chicken clucks the entire performance of the Glen Miller instrumental classic.

Issued as a single-only and released under the pseudonym The Henhouse Five Plus Too the novelty single became a hit recording in the blink of an eye. The single spent several weeks on the Hot 100 and the Country music chart early in 1977 (entering the Top-40 of both charts). In the United Kingdom the single was issued under Ray's name instead of it being issued under the chicken group pseudonym. It became a novelty hit in the United Kingdom, too, as well as in Canada. Even though the various chart placements for this hit didn't rate as high as the chart peaks of "You Are So Beautiful" and "Honky Tonk Waltz", this chicken clucking novelty became one of his best-remembered songs recorded during his Warner Brothers stay. A lot of that, obviously, has to do with the sheer bizarre nature of the recording and the fact that it had international impact, as unbelievable as that seems to those that "take their music seriously". In Ray's memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville, he remarked that the recording has long since become rise and shine music for many low watt, rural AM radio stations.

September 2, 2016

Ray Stevens...Dear America...

Hello once more!! As the calendar hits September the one and only Ray Stevens has offered a look into his next music project. No doubt a lot of you may have already seen the advertisements on his Facebook page and on other social media sites but, of course, I want to hype and promote the upcoming single release, too. This blog entry centers around a song entitled "Dear America". Ray uploaded a brief clip of himself performing a part of the song and that clip is located below...

Although we're hearing only a brief clip it's a safe bet to predict that the entire song is just as compelling. As soon as I heard of this release and seen that publicity photo of Ray highlighting "Dear America" I wanted to start doing cartwheels and black-flips but I realized that would look rather silly and physically impossible and so I'll contain my excitement to the written word. There hasn't been any information beyond the single's release date. The song is only going to be available as a digital download. I imagine a physical CD of songs is going to hit the market and I'm assuming that photo of Ray featured in the video clip is going to be used as the CD's cover...but for now it's being used as a promo picture for "Dear America".

As seen in the video clip you'll be able to purchase the song this coming Tuesday September 6th. I prefer Amazon and so I'm posting this LINK to the product page. At the moment you can pre-order the single. It sells for 99 cents. I'm going to wait until Tuesday to make my purchase but you all can pre-order if you choose to. Ray posted a larger image of the publicity photo for the "Dear America" song and I know the fans of Ray Stevens are going to love seeing here it is in all of it's glory...

Available September 6, 2016