By Kristi Kates
Socially-conscious, spiritually-minded, and firmly rooted in the American country music scene, Collin Raye has been crafting songs since early in his life and, as his latest album notes, Never Going Back.
Hell bring songs from his new CD to his show at the Boyne City Performing Arts Center this Saturday.
Rayes career began as a child, singing occasionally onstage with his mother Lois Wray, who worked as an opening act for a variety of Sun Records artists from Elvis Presley to Carl Perkins. Later, a country-rock band project with his brother, Scott - called simply The Wray Brothers Band - took off in the state of Texas and saw several indie singles released.
By the time the band - then shortened to The Wrays - had disbanded in 1986, Collin Raye was ready to make a go of it on his own, and signed with Epic Records in 1990. Since then, hes had four albums hit platinum status in the U.S. (selling one million copies each), and snagged several Top Ten country music hit records. Country ballads are Rayes main appeal to fans, as evidenced by several of his songs being popular among the country-western crowd for big events such as weddings.
His latest album, Never Going Back, was recorded in the southern U.S., and the recording locale hit a magical chord for the country performer.
NEVER GOING BACK
Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was the place where Never Going Back was recorded, Raye says. Thats where The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and many other great recording artists have recorded many famous albums in the day. Just being in that place was magical for me - so much rich history in those walls. Its overwhelming when you think about all the great records that came out of that place. Again, the word that comes to mind about that place is magical.
Recorded with Rayes longtime friend Michael Curtis on production duties, Raye says that he appreciates all kinds of musical expression, and explains that hes a fan of music, period - I can appreciate most kinds of musical expression if it comes from the heart when asked about his musical inspirations for the record.
Another new album is already being rumbled about, although nothings confirmed just yet. Im always working on new music, ideas and ways to do things, Raye says. some new music is in the works as we speak, but I simply cant say a whole lot about it at this time - but stay tuned. You can stay current with us at my website, www.collinraye.com, and we also have a free iPhone app now, where you can get the latest updates.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
One things for sure, though - Rayes fans can look forward to seeing him on stage and on the road often; the man rarely stops moving.
We always tour, Raye confirms, we go out and work a few days, then go home a few days. Once in a while we put together a run and stay on the road for a week or two at a time, but overall the job never ends.
Rayes shows are known for his attention to his fans, even down to allowing them to choose, to a degree, the set lists for the concerts he plays while on tour.
I always play the hits, and I try to fill as many requests as I can that are shouted out at my shows, Raye says. it has always been important to me to play the songs the fans want to hear.
For his Boyne City show this Saturday, Raye will be putting on an acoustic show, which he says he enjoys because of the less arena-like atmosphere.
The acoustic shows are always fun for me, because we can get up close and personal with the fans, Raye says. These shows are always fun.
There may be a few twists to the show, as well - but Rayes not spilling any of the details ahead of time.
Well, I do not foresee having special guests at this show - however we always pull something out of the hat, he smiles, but if I tell you, it would not be a surprise.
Collin Raye will be in concert at the Boyne City Performing Arts Center on Saturday, September 25 (two shows, at 4 pm and 7 pm), benefitting the Boyne City Firefighters. For tickets and more information, contact the Boyne City Chamber of Commerce at 231-582-6222.