Collin Raye’s path from country to Christian musicWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two years ago, Collin Raye’s granddaughter, Haley, died from a rare neurological disease. She was 10. While coping with the loss, he and his daughter, Brittany, Haley’s mom, wrote a song, “Undefeated.”
“[‘Undefeated’] is sort of an anthem for those of us who have gone through really hard stuff, some of the ultimate things people deal with, and come out on the other side more full of faith than ever,” Raye said. “And I believe the only way you can achieve that is God; I don’t think there’s any other man-made way you can overcome massive loss in your life and still come out strong and functioning at a high level on the other end without the love of God.
“That’s what that song is a testimony to, and I really believe God gave my daughter and I the song — and he wants it to be heard.”
Millions are hearing it on Raye’s first Christian disc, “His Love Remains,” which was released last year.
“To see the success the album has had and the reviews that we get online … that means so much to me because when you do change directions, you never know. It’s always a bit of a gamble,” he said during a call from a tour stop in Milwaukee.
Fans of the country star will hear some spiritual songs when Raye plays a 7:30 p.m. show Feb. 18 at Monroe County Community College’s La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theater. Tickets are $37 and $27.
“People still want to hear all the hits. I had 24 top 10 records and 15 of them went No. 1, so you can’t really play them all in one show, but I play the ones that people remember the most,” Raye said. “I’ve worn my faith on my sleeve really my entire career, so it’s really not a shock to anybody that I play [Christian songs] — I’m wise about which to choose, some of the ones that are more generally accepted, so that I definitely get the message across, everyone knows what the record is, and hopefully will enjoy the spirit that comes along with it without making it preachy.”
He was quick to point out that he recognizes his role as an entertainer.
“Nothing in my ‘secular, normal show’ is the slightest bit offensive to anybody who’s a believer. The two things kind of go hand in hand; that’s what I’ve worked very hard on the past 20 years to build.
“I never wanted to do just basic country, beer-drinking, we’re-here-to-sell-beers type of shows. Nothing wrong with that at all, but there’s so many people doing that. That was never my intention.
“I always wanted my music — with the exception of songs ‘That’s My Story,’ ‘Little Red Rodeo’ and ‘My Kind of Girl,’ those are just good, fun hits, you know, they’re lively. For the most part, my shows are full of songs that have a message and many of them were hits — ‘I Think About You’ and ‘Little Rock’ and ‘Not That Different,’ ‘Love, Me’ — all those songs had a message to them and were inspirational. So my shows have always kind of been inspirational.”