Carl Ray - Play That Country
Music Black Boy
Review By: George
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
between his opening track, “Play That Country Music Black Boy”
and his closing homage to color, “Was A Black Man”, Carl Ray
delivers a keen blend of modern country. His opening and closing
tunes, in particular the title cut, rather than a stir to the race
pot, is a well-aimed backslap for African-American artists in
country music. But, then, on listening to this album and reading
this father of two’s bio, there’s one thing noticeable –
passion, so, given that, the track offers an understood
Mined from actual concert
experiences, where fans encouraged the racial awareness, Carl
tells the story behind his opening tune. Speaking from his website
he tells: “As a teenager, play that Funky Music White Boy
was one of my favorite songs. If you are old enough to remember
that song, you will also remember that the whole world couldn't
resist singing and dancing along. I'm hoping my song has that same
For the good-looking hatted
Texan with the pearly whites and the Vince Gill vocal similarity,
the whole album, not just a song or two, is sure to create and
grab interest. Rather than cobble together covers, fillers and
waffle, Ray has roped in a hot band, gifted writers (he’s
included, with 5 tune credits) and delivered an easy-on-the
ear-affair. And, just to be sure it’s all working right Ray has
thrown out a challenge to listeners. He wants feedback. “I'm
fearless, so go ahead and post your comments … so everyone can
read them.” (Check out his Myspace link below for details).
These are early days for Ray.
But he’s making the right moves. He’s building his fan base.
He’s connecting with good management. The rest now falls to
radio; those who (hopefully) can hear beyond the monotonous
familiarity of the same 20 tracks. Radio programmers need to
inject diversity to their selective mixes. How’s it done?
Slotting tomorrow’s stars, today, into the rotation. Carl Ray,
given the early feedback, the international play on choice radio
stations and the general industry buzz, is an artist for
adventurous programmers to hear and play.
If radio needs a hit waiting to
happen, listen for the fiddle-laced heartache, “Then Again”.
Smooth, touching, memorable and tender – the Wood Newton and
Deidre Wilson co-write is a perfect carriage for Ray’s clear and
emotive voice. The cowboy’s dream, “Corene”, drives home in
toe-tapping style the rumors of a Vince Gill clone being true.
“Text Book Case”, a David Ball and Tommy Polk tune featuring
Ball, is an easy rug-movin’ shuffle, while “She Makes The Bad
Times Roll Away” is a nod to love and devotion. “Haggard And
Jones” shows just where the black boy who plays country music
gets his inspiration. Other choice cuts include the energetic
“Nothin’ But” and the ballad provided by Nashville Star
winner, Buddy Jewell, “Toss And Turn”; both are showcase
Carl Ray has asked for feedback. Here it is. 3/5