Country music legend Ray Price makes a rare New York City appearance at The Bottom Line on Wednesday, June 14th. No history of the Nashville music scene could possibly be written without finding Ray Price's name woven into the fabric of every decade since the 1950's. He is the bearer of a honky tonk tradition that starts with Hank Williams and continues through every contemporary "hat act" flooding the airwaves today. They all have to tip those hats to Ray Price.
Ray Price's performing and recording career began in 1949 in Texas where he frequently appeared on the radio show "The Big D Jamboree". He soon came to the attention of Columbia Records, and was signed by the label in 1951. In Nashville, he was befriended by Hank Williams. They often performed together, and Ray sometimes found himself covering for Hank when the doomed star was unable to play. For a time, they even shared a house. They also shared a common musical sensibility, and when Hank passed on, Ray was the undisputed heir to his legacy.
A "who's who" of Nashville's greatest musicians have served apprenticeships in Ray's touring band, "The Cherokee Cowboys", including Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck and pedal steel master Buddy Emmons. His list of hit songs reads like a "Best of Country" CD on a late night TV commercial, including classics like "Release Me"; "Crazy Arms"; "City Lights"; "Heartaches By The Number"; "Same Ole Me" and "Make The World Go Away". In 1970, his recording of Kris Kristofferson's song "For The Good Times" hit the top of the Country And Pop charts, long before the word "crossover" entered into popular usage.
In the 80's and 90's, Ray has continued to record and tour, and has had successful collaborations with artists like Willie Nelson on such albums as "San Antonio Rose", which stayed on the Billboard charts for a full year. In 1996, Ray Price's musical contributions were recognized with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Ray Price's appearance at The Bottom Line promises to be one of those nights you'll tell your friends about, and they'll be kicking themselves that they weren't there. The current lineup of the Cherokee Cowboys is a crack country outfit, and Ray usually augments the band with six or more local fiddlers, to achieve the lush string arrangements of his great ballads. And we all know there's no lack of fiddle talent in NYC. Ray has also expressed his preference for small venues where he can "feel the audience". The Bottom Line should provide the perfect ambience for Ray to deliver a fantastic performance. Hope to see you there.