If you don’t know alt-country troubadour, Boo Ray, you should. He’s talented, intelligent and a pleasure to interview. We recently got to know the man behind the music where we discussed his current partnership with Kindercore Vinyl, projects with celebrity friends and more.
First, let’s start with a little background on Ray. He describes himself as an Americana country artist meets outlaw country singer-songwriter. He’s been inspired by artists like Jerry Reed, Kris Kristofferson and Jim Lauderdale.
Ray came to Nashville back in 2012, originally hailing from the mountains of western North Carolina. It didn’t take him long to want to travel outside of his small hometown.
“When I got to be old enough to get a driver’s license my response was, ‘There’s got to be more to life than the parking lot at Hardees.’ It was kind of a coin toss, there were two places, it was either Asheville, North Carolina two hours to the east or Athens, Georgia two hours to the southwest. As the coin turned, I went to Athens,” he said.
He lived there long enough to become what they call a “townie.” That’s one of several places that influenced his music and writing, including here in Nashville and even Los Angeles.
Fast forward to now, where Ray has a 7inch duet series titled “Boocoo Amigos.” The series is a partnership with Kindercore Vinyl that has him teaming up with some of his favorite artists for several releases. He’s worked with Elizabeth Cook, Lilly Winwood and now with celebrity chef, Sean Brock.
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#wbw Way down some ol rabbit hole with my great buddy Sean Brock while shooting album art w/ photographer @priceharrison . . . #albumart #PhotoShoot #NewSingle #7InchVinyl #7Inch45 #boocooamigos #collaborationseries #guitarpicking #GreerAmps #NovoGuitars #stmisbehaving #soulfoodcookin #ChefSeanBrock #SeanBrock #BooRay #Photographer #PriceHarrison
Ray told us his collaborations tend to be a “mesh” of both people’s talents and they actually make him a better artist.
“I think it brings out some of my best in me,” Ray explained. “I like to serve the thing up, then the writing for me is largely about the other person. Like the Sean Brock singles, I was writing [in the] first person as if I was Sean Brock.”
Brock and Ray met through a mutual tattoo artist friend, thanks to social media. They quickly became buds and “Saint Misbehavin'” is an ode to their mutual friend, Michell Atkinson. The song blends three elements. The first is Atkinson himself, the second is a coal mining mountain area of Appalachia and the last is a patron saint of tattoos — a woman that’s sainted for smuggling food carried on her untold piercings into a starving monastery.
“Mitchell was a wonderful wild rebel soul that every time you saw this guy, he’d be pulling up in some kind of hot rod, jalopy dune buggy, hot rod-rat rod.”
Atkinson died in a tragic car crash back in 2011 but Ray’s memories of him carry on. He reminisces over his artwork and his fun, life-loving attitude.
The other song with Sean Brock is “Soul Food Cookin'” which is a seamless blend of their talents. It’s got a great, bluesy vibe that’s infectious. It left us wanting more and luckily they’re working on more music together.
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Great big thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate our new single with @hseanbrock and to @martinsbbq for taking such great care of us. Photo by @priceharrison . . . . . . . #martinsbbq #newsingle #7inch45 #singlereleaseparty #boocooamigos #collaborationseries #seanbrock #saintmisbehavin #soulfoodcooking #singersongwriter #altcountry #southernrock #troubadour #guitarpicking #twinsolo #rabbithole #carolinagoldrice #collardgreens #catheadbiscuits #tattoos #mitchellatkinson #athensgeorgia #nashville #eastnashville #booray #preciateya
Ray has several Nashville shows coming up and his live shows are unpredictable. He creates set lists from his four albums but also likes to add some unrehearsed elements. Although they can sometimes be a little risky, it keeps it entertaining for the band — and the crowd.