Now five albums into his career, Ray Scott has certainly proved that there is life after the major labels. His debut album My Kind Of Music was released 12 years ago to critical and commercial acclaim but despite sales and radio chart success today that would score him another album or two on a major label, Ray found himself without a label home by the time 2006 came to an end. Where other artists might wallow in self-pity and blame labels for the move, Ray Scott moved on and released his first indie album Crazy Like Me and then scored a big hit with “Those Jeans” a couple years later when SiriusXM’s “The Highway” turned the song into a sales and satellite chart hit.
“‘Those Jeans’ really changed everything for me,” said Ray. “It proved to me, even more than other records, that this path can and does work.”
His self-titled album from 2014 moved the needle even more, giving Ray a few more Satellite radio hits and some success in other markets, including around the world and now, with Guitar For Sale, Ray’s ready to break out even more as he’s aligned himself with a new team for release and major distribution (via The Holland Group and Sony’s RED Distribution).
As always, Ray brings humor to the albums he releases. “I can’t help myself,” he says. “I think Comic Relief is one of the best terms ever created.” Humor threads its way even in some of the serious moments like “Put Down That Gun,” and “Doin’ Me Wrong.” And, one of these songs, “Pray For The Fish” even was recorded and released as a single by Randy Travis on his Rise and Shine album. (Note, watch the video below to see Ray discuss that song).
That song serves as a good reminder that songs don’t have to necessarily be ‘fresh’ to be considered good or record worthy. Ray explains, “Some of the songs on here are older and a handful are some I’ve had in my back pocket a while.” He continues, “Nothing’s really brand new on here as the newest song is probably two or three years old and the oldest ones are 14 or 15 years old.”
Knowing that some are older, his independence allows him to record songs he wrote and not rely on the talents of Nashville for all that’s new. His approach is refreshing in that he liked the songs he had but let them find their own time, or, in the case of some of them, the chance to be recorded by a mainstream radio artist, such as Jake Owen, who had held onto one of the tracks for a little while.
And it also allows him the ability to work with a nice mix of players and singers, one of which is noted journalist Wendy Newcomer. New for this project is producer Michael Hughes, a man who “Brought something different and new to recording this project” (when compared to Dave Brainard, his collaborator for the previous three albums). The new team brought a fresh approach to sequencing too, though Ray Scott knew that he wanted the first 3 or 4 songs to be the way they were placed on Guitar For Sale. “Sequencing the songs, there’s an art to it,” he says. “I just wanted to feel the album out and did about the best I could with it and tried to make it a trip for listeners to listen to.”
And that he did as it genuinely is a trip to listen to and it has Ray Scott’s unique brand of country music where his personality shines through and leads the way, whether the song is a serious, humorous, or a mixture of both. In the end The songs on Guitar For Sale are unique as the independent-minded artist singing them.