Abby Ray releases ‘Blue Ray’ on Jan. 19Written by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The seeds of several of Abby Ray’s songs were planted long ago. After an approximately seven-year hiatus from performing, the Bowling Green native realized how much she missed music when she turned years of journal entries into lyrics for live tunes.
“When I was able to do it for that first time, I was like, ‘Ah, this feels good,’” Ray said of that first time back onstage. “It was more relaxing than just writing in a journal. It’s like how some people like to smoke cigarettes or have a beer; when I express my music to someone, that’s how I vent.
“It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders to do that.”
That re-entry to live performing was nearly four years ago. Now Ray is getting ready to release her second CD in less than two-years with “Blue Ray.” Together with Jason Parrit (drums), Doug Summers (bass) and Cory Blue (lead guitar), Ray will host a CD release show for “Blue Ray” on Jan. 19 at Cla-zel Theater in Bowling Green.
Like many Ray concerts, the CD release show for “Blue Ray” will have a charity tie-in; 15 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the record will be donated to the local Red Cross.
“When you do a charity [show] you don’t get anything for it, but you get the pleasure out of it,” Ray said. “That’s all I want out of this.”
Having been exposed to The Beatles and The Judds by her mother and church music by her babysitter as a child, music was something Ray was attracted to early on. She performed in musicals for the Black Swamp Players and wrote her first song at the age of 12, one she later put on her album “The Naked Truth,” which came out in 2010.
That song — “Darling I Need You” — was the last track on the record and was written in memory of her brother’s daughter, who passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“When I look at the words now and I read the words, I’m like, ‘Wow, this could be taken in so many different ways,’” Ray said. “It sounds like someone is crying about their lover and they want them back, but really in that song I was crying that I wanted this baby back.”
Heartfelt tracks like “Darling I Need You” drew a positive response from crowds when Ray started performing again at open mic shows, which in turn influenced her to start recording her music. After first meeting Firefly Studios’ owner Brett Dennison in 2004, Ray recorded “The Naked Truth” at Firefly Studios in 2010 in what she credits as her first completed recording project.
“When I go into the studio, I go in with my guitar and my vocals, and I strum poorly and I sing my lyrics,” Ray said. “To have Brett turn my music into the way it should sound, it’s a great experience to be in there.”
During the past two years Ray has performed a number of shows, including charitable projects like the Gloria McElroy Memorial Benefit, the Women’s Caucus fundraiser for the Cocoon Women’s Shelter and the 2010 Toledo Toy-A-Thon.
“It’s awesome [doing a charity show] because we would do it whether the crowd was there or not because we’re doing it to help these organizations,” Ray said. “But you gain a following and you know they’re good people. The following that you’re gaining, you know they’re good people because they’re there for a good cause, too.”
Ray had an eventful 2011. After playing two main stages at the Ninth Annual Nashville SongWriters Festival, she recorded “Blue Ray.”
A mother of two who comes from an artistic family, Ray said she is happy to have both her fans and her kids embrace her music.
“Everybody’s really busy with life [in my band],” Ray said. “So this is more so something that we do as a hobby, something that we enjoy. But we put our full heart into it.”
On Jan. 19, Abby Ray, Bruce Lillie and WorHead will perform for the “Blue Ray” CD release show to benefit the Red Cross Greater Toledo Area Chapter at Clazel Theater, 127 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. The event will be hosted by Tim Concannon from Grumpy Dave’s Pub’s “Hump Day Revue.” Doors are at 9 p.m. and cover is $4. For more information, call (419) 353-5000.