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Having known Jeremy Ray for roughly half my life, I’m not going to bore you with all of the details. I’m just going to say, that there’s a reason why he’s one of my favorite performers in the SouthEast, and friendship has precious little to do with it. Being in a different state, I was under the mistaken impression he was taking it easy on the music side of things, and boy was I ever wrong! Mr. Ray is one of those guys that just doesn’t know how to not be busy, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him at Cabin Floor Records this Saturday at 8PM when he brings along Ryan Sheffield and The Long Canes.
Wes Gilliam: Over the past year you’ve slowed down on your solo output as a musician but been concentrating more on your design work. Is it just because you’re looking for more artistic expression in a different avenue or is it more a necessity so you don’t burn out too much on it (playing music)?
Jeremy Ray: I wouldn’t say anything has slowed down, I’m working now more than I ever have. I haven’t been playing shows with the Gonzo Orchestra this year, but I’ve been busy. that’ll change in August though, I plan on debuting a new lineup for the Stereofly Showcases then.
I got to open for Austin Lucas a couple times, played solo shows with Hymn for Her, Glossary, Blake Rainey, Joseph Lazzari, Maris Gill and a few others. I also put together a solo art show back in February called New Light. And on top of all of that I’ve been getting ready for my biggest fine art exhibit to-date, An event called SEVENS where I am debuting 49 brand new paintings! July 7th at the Melvin Gallery in ATL. I’ll also be playing songs that night with Ryan Sheffield & Greg Ellis.
WG: I always see you doing fun, random projects, like playing bass in I Want Whisky with your good friend Jason Waller. What’s it like switching to roles from being a frontman to a group ensemble for that ?
JR: As far as not being a front man goes, I love it. It’s great to just show up, play and not have the stress of being the guy holding it all together. It’s been a blast going back to my roots and playing bass again too.
WG: For this coming weekend you’re doing a much quieter approach than usual and playing solo at a Record Store with Ryan Sheffield and The Long Canes. How did this come about? I know you said you wanted to just do an early kick-off for the night instead of making a big deal of it.
JR: Well, for Christmas last year my dad got the fam tickets to see The Lion King at The Peace Center. So I figured I should book something while I was in town! I haven’t played live in Greenville all year and I wanted to do something different. I met Joe Shirley, the owner of Cabin Floor Records around Christmas and we talked about working together. I love his store and I wanted to do something intimate where old friends could hear all of the new songs I’ve been writing. I asked Sheffield to come down from Asheville to do the same thing and luckily The Long Canes were able to play as well.
WG: Being now that you are a permanent resident of the ATL, who should we be keeping an eye open for ? Who’s just doing big things down there?
JR: There is so much goodness happening around Atlanta all of the time. I never thought I would be here this long, a couple weeks ago marked 5 years for me. Wow. Oh yeah, Ben Trickey. He’s a good friend and a hell of a songwriter. He’s putting out four 7inches this year on Pygmy Records, one for each season. The first two are great! I just saw a band called Whores a couple weeks ago for the first time and they blew me away, almost literally. Insane noise rock. And of course my friends Waller just put out a new one called Stoke The Fire, and Grand Prize just dropped Rocket People on us. All good things.
WG: I always feel like you and I come from the same place musically, but as we all get inevitably older (and handsomer haha) our tastes diversify. So with that being said: what song is currently on your playlist that you think would surprise me but I’d still appreciate?
JR: Oh gosh, surprise you? I don’t know. I found my third grade copy of Totally Krossed Out last week and listened to I Missed The Bus. I don’t think I even appreciated it. For real though, my recent purchases/obsessions have been a big stack of blue singles from Third Man, the new mewithoutYou is kicking my ass, the new Cursive is intense, Craig Finn’s solo record, the new Mountain Goats, Motel Glory, The Shadowbox (Ryan Sheffield), AndytheDoorBum, Jeffrey Lewis, Jeffrey Butzer, old Weakerthans. I finally bought The Anthology of American Folk Music last time I was in Greenville from Cabin Floor and that has been quite a history lesson.
WG: So are there any future musical projects on your horizon at the time? Any albums/releases or is it just one day at a time for now?
JR: Absolutely. Once the SEVENS show is behind me I plan to focus on putting the new record together. It’s written, it just needs to be rehearsed & recorded. Wanna hear the song titles? Yeah? Awesome! In no order they are.. ‘Brother I Saw It Coming’, ‘Here In My Backyard’, ‘Full Time Wreck’, ‘Leave it in Love’, ‘I Used to Live Near Fountain Inn’, “This Goes Here That Goes There’, ‘Hell Everywhere I Look’, ‘When It Falls’, ‘Dig Me Up’ & ‘I Fell Out of a Tree in New Jersey’. I haven’t decided if I will go straight for the full length or do a 7inch first, we’ll see what happens. You’ll hear the songs this Saturday at Cabin Floor. Get there early and let’s kick this night off right! Thanks Wesley, I love you.
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