The singer/songwriter who pretty much co-wrote half of Luke Combs‘ What You See Is What You Get album, and nearly all of This One’s For You, also boasts some incredible songs of his own such as “Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs,” “Anything Like You Dance,” and “Life After Your Leavin’.”
And this past weekend, he got his chance to step into that iconic Opry circle for the very first time. It’s easy to see just how much the opportunity meant to him. He had this to say after performing his first song:
“Lord have mercy. I’m in the Grand Ole Opry circle. I can’t believe it y’all.”
He also went in and talked about his personal life, and his hometown roots, while also discussing the lyrics behind his unreleased new song, “Selling Cars:”
“I’m from a little town called Harlem, Georgia. I went to the University of Georgia, ‘Go Dawgs.’ While I was there, I went and saw an Eric Church concert for the first time. I knew right then and there what I had to do with my life. It took me 14 years from then ’til now to get on this stage.
I got a Master’s degree, and I moved back home to Harlem, and for a year, I sold cars, and I turned down a teaching job because I wanted to be able to play music still… I remember standing out there on that Saturday asphalt when it was about 97 in the shade, and I said, ‘If I ever get a chance, I’m gonna write a song about this.’
Thanks to the Opry for having me tonight. There’s not a more special place, in all of music, in all of country music, and I’m a very blessed man to be standing in this circle tonight.”
It truly hit him in that moment the weight of the situation, and all of the work it took to get to this moment, as he had to step away from the mic for a moment and fight back the tears.
It’s hard not to get choked up yourself watching Ray step into that circle… and it’s damn near impossible not to root for this guy.
He also released three new songs this past Friday, with “Girl in It,” “Way Out,” and “Bucket List Beers.”