A Conversation with Singer-Songwriter Ashley Ray
Ashley Ray was featured as one of our top Females in Country Music to Watch in 2010. Blending the twang with the sweet soulful vocals, Ashley Ray has made quite a following. Her latest single, “Dirt Cheap,” is available on I-tunes and has been released to radio stations. She recently released a 5 song EP available in stores. The Kansas native is now making a scene down in Texas, following the leagues of the honky-tonk heroes, and taking lead in a scene mainly dominated by males.
I recently spoke to Ashley about her musical career and what fans can expect when they see her with Josh Thompson at the Frankfort Froggy 104.9 Field Party on July 9th, 2010.
Kentucky Country Music: Last year while going on tour with Eric Church & Jonathan Singleton and the Grove, you did a little bit of “couch surfing.” How did that idea come about? Where there any memorable experiences out of couch surfing?
Ashley Ray: I’m all about trying new things and living on the edge, as long a it doesn’t involve sky diving or craziness like that. I draw the line there. Couch surfing seemed like something not many country artists have done before. We’re on the road a lot and crash on friends couches/floors, but thought it would be cool and kinda crazy to stay with the fans! Doing that made some lifelong friendships!
Fast forward to now, your single, “Dirt Cheap,” has been gaining airplay on radio. What has been going inside your head seeing how things are flowing with the single and your career?
AR: It’s a lot of work to work a single but so much fun seeing it make some tracks! We released it down in Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of Arkansas and New Mexico. It hasn’t been released nationally yet, but I can only imagine how much more busier things will be when we do that. Either way I’m so thankful that I’m getting to live out this crazy dream!
With the Country Throwdown Tour coming soon, what can fans expect with your segment on the Bluebird Cafe stage? (Fans can check the tour out in Cincinnati on May 21st)
AR: Fans can expect to be really one on one with us songwriters. It’s gonna be an intimate setting, and for me that’s the coolest thing ever! As a music fan and songwriter myself, if and when I get up close and able to talk to my favorite songwriters, to me that’s the most special part. That’s where music begins, so fans will get to see where it all starts.
How come did you decide to try your hand in the Red Dirt scene in Texas rather than stay in Nashville?
AR: I thought why not; I’ve been in Nashville for 8 years. I have had a finished record for 2 years now. I just wanted to get something out for the fans. Nashville works a little slow sometimes, and I just want my music heard. I have toured in Texas before and have made a lot of lifelong friends, I’m so grateful for their support!! Guys like The Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, and Eli Young Band. I jumped at the chance to get out there and play some shows with my buddies!
What do you think separates you from other new artists in country music?
AR: I really take the title “artist” seriously!! I have started from the ground up, going from bar to bar, person to person, and sharing my music. Whether it be a crowd of 50 or 500, I believe in what I’m singing every night.
You are personally active on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. Do you feel that this is essential to a new artist’s career and has it helped with your relationships with fans?
AR: Absolutely! It’s so important to have a relationship with your fans. They are your backbone! No artist can make it without their fans. They are the reason why we get to continue to make music. I’m in touch with them because I wanna know what they like, what they don’t, I want their opinions, they matter the most!
You recently released your self-titled EP Album on May 4th. Will this be available in stores or online only? What songs can listeners look forward to hearing?
AR: It’ll be available at amazon.com, iTunes, and select Wal-Mart and Best Buy where music is sold. Its a 5 song EP which includes my current single “Dirt Cheap!” There’s some pretty rocking stuff on there, the rest I’m gonna leave as a surprise, go get it!
If you could co-write a song with anyone, who would it be?
AR: Buddy Miller, Bob Seger or The Dixie Chicks, sorry couldn’t pick just one!
While growing up on a farm, I realized that there is always life lessons learned that sometimes you don’t realize at the time. What is one thing you learned while being raised on the farm?
AR: HARD WORK and GRACE. Growing up on a farm you have more responsibilities, there was always something to work on, to be fed, or to be fixed. The grace part just comes naturally, the land and country teaches you to be thankful for the beauty the good Lord created for us! Wish I could go back there right now!
I can say that Kentucky is delighted to have you and Josh Thompson to perform at the Froggy Field Party in July. Do you have anything to say to those that plan on attending the show?
AR: Wear your party panties, it’s gonna be a BLAST! I’m gonna hang and watch Josh’s show, would love to meet each and every one of you!
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.