January 7, 2018

Ray Stevens CabaRay...January 18th...

Hello once more! In some previous blog entries I've mentioned the much anticipated opening of Ray's venue, CabaRay. News broke earlier last week that the grand opening would be January 18th. Ray has uploaded several video clips on Facebook and YouTube promoting the grand opening...one of the first, if not the first, happened to be a brief clip in which he teased the viewer with an announcement about an upcoming announcement concerning the CabaRay grand opening...closing with saying "soon...very soon...". That video clip emerged in late December 2017 on his Facebook page. It was a follow up video clip promoting his TV streaming site. The actual video clip I'm referring to appeared on Ray's Facebook page on December 28th a little after 10am. Since then, of course, other video content promoting the venue has emerged as has several print advertisements/interviews. On January 3rd Ray posted this video clip...

When I seen the late December video clip I had originally thought that Ray may perhaps open the venue on his birthday (January 24th) but then the clip from January 3rd emerged and gave an official grand opening of January 18th. At the time no interior shots of the venue had been made public. The only thing we had seen up to that point are construction photo's of the interior. Several months ago photo's emerged showing that there was still some work needed to be done and so the tentative 2017 grand opening was obviously pushed back. The newspaper and it's on-line counterpart in Nashville published interior photo's of the CabaRay in their January 5th edition. You can read the story by clicking HERE. They feature several photos of Ray that in my opinion could make a nice publicity photos going forward. One features Ray standing in front of the dining area of the venue with the seats and the stage behind him. The other photo has Ray standing outside with the CabaRay in the background. You'll see those photos and several more once you click the link to the article.

Ray made a guest appearance on Mike Huckabee's talk show over the weekend. The show airs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network at several times during the weekend. The first-run episodes air at 8pm Eastern and then they repeat at 11pm Eastern and then on Sunday it repeats a couple more times and so you still have time to catch the show as it airs on TBN...but the episodes are then archived on the show's internet site. So far only the episodes from 2017 are uploaded. I don't know when Saturday night's episode, the first of 2018, is going to appear on Huckabee's site. Ray came out onto the stage and performed "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". Mike plays a video clip showing the CabaRay...he had actually appeared there in person for the taped video interview/promo and so it's not a slide show of photos flashing across the screen...it's Ray and Mike literally walking around inside the venue.

Ray talks about his career, briefly, and points out that sometimes he wonders if he'd operated his career based entirely on commercial feedback or trends and, ultimately, always trying to conform to the latest sound or concept...and that's when he said he preferred not conforming to anybody's style or preconceived notions. I believe that's his way of saying it's much more creative and you have more freedom if you're not pounding your head against the piano keys trying to figure out what radio will play or not play or what's the latest sound music consumers are buying. This segment leads into the career achievement portion...proving that Ray's instincts were correct all along...going about his career on his own terms.

Ray shows the area housing his awards, certifications, and sales plaques. He remarks that his plaque for sales of "The Streak" conspicuously stops at 4 million (the plaque boasts 4 gold plated single records) even though it sold more than 5 million...but a plaque honoring the additional million in sales never materialized. I have seen photos of the inside of his Music Row office, as I'm sure all of you have as well, and, for me, I had long been curious as to why "The Streak" only had 4 gold plated singles on the sales plaque and thanks to this video tour I know the reason why.

One of the last things they spoke about were the murals that decorate the venue. The likes of Shelby Singleton, Fred Foster, Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, and Billy Sherrill are saluted for their importance in the audio construction of Music Row. I can not wait to step foot inside the CabaRay at some point this year. Those photos decorating the venue are more or less exclusive to the venue and from his personal collection...much like the photos in his memoir, Ray Stevens' Nashville, from a few years ago. It should be an exciting year for Ray Stevens!!!

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