playing music at the early age of 5. This took place in Northern
Kentucky. His first instrument was a 12 bass accordion. By the
time he was in the fourth grade, he had studied piano and
accordion and had graduated to a 120 bass accordion. By the
fifth grade he started playing the trumpet. By the sixth grade
he was playing first chair trumpet in the elementary band. In
the seventh grade he was the only seventh grader playing in the
high school band. By this time he realized he wanted to become a
trumpet player like Al Hirt. He learned to play many of
Al Hirt's songs by ear and one of his favorites was "Walkin".
Ray noticed that this song was produced by Chet Atkins
and written by Jerry Reed but he was not familiar with
them at that time. By the tenth grade he was just starting to
study trumpet at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
from the first chair trumpet player of the Cincinnati
By the time he was 16, Ray became very ill and was bedridden.
Due to his illness he could no longer play the trumpet and his
father bought him a used guitar and a Chet Atkins record album.
The album was "The Pops Goes Country" featuring
the Boston Pops Orchestra. Hearing Chet play was one of
the greatest sounds he had ever heard and experienced. Ray
dreamed of playing "Alabama Jubilee" like Chet
with the symphony. Today he has 1O songs for symphony and plays
that same arrangement with symphonies, so dreams do come true.
By the time he was 21, Ray started playing with RCA recording
artist, Kenny Price. Kenny lived in Florence, KY which is
in Boone County. He had the big hit on RCA, "Sheriff of
Boone County". He toured with Kenny as a featured
guitarist with package tours, consisting of people such as Ernest
Tubb, the Osborne Brothers, Cal Smith, Leona Williams,
and many others. He did one tour when Billy Bryd came
back with Ernest Tubb. Kenny would feature Ray every night
soloing on the guitar. Ray would even entertain the Grand Old
Opry stars in the hotel room dazzling them with his guitar
Between the tours with Kenny during those 1O years, Ray played
hotels and clubs performing music from top 40 to country. He
also did over 500 albums as a studio musician including mostly
gospel and country.
He is currently playing churches, gospel concerts, and making
appearances with major symphonies as a guest artist.
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