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Ray Scott: Outlaw Isn't About Being A Bad Ass

Posted by: Petr Mecir

photo: CountryZone.net
Interviews 09/16/2012

Ray Scott is a hardcore honky tonker and multi-talented artist from North Carolina. Based in Nashville, he has scored several hits for Randy Travis and Trace Adkins as a songwriter. Eventually singed to Warner Brothers, Ray Scott released his debut album "My Kind Of Music" in 2005. Ray is currently on tour promoting him latest album "Rayality" and I got to meet him during his stop in Poland, where we made a cool interview.

Your debut album came out in 2005 but I know you were contributing to Chad Brock's debut album in 1998. When exactly did you move to Nashville?

"I was in Nashville at the end of '94, so it's been a long time. I got some success happening as a songwriter first before I got my record deal with Warner Brothers. I've been there now for about 18 years."

While in Nashville, were you working any jobs outside of the music business until you got signed?

"I did, I used to work on boats. It was for a marina, a lot of the music business, movers and shakers, used to come to the marina to keep their boats there. It was a place for me to work where I could meet people who were in the business and sort of get things going that way. I was able to meet a couple of guys that got me my first start in Nashville. So I worked on boats, I also delivered furniture for a short while and I also worked at a nutrition store. I've done all kinds of crazy stuff."

Ray ScottWell, you apparently wrote the song 'My Kind Of Music' about me, so I'd like to know where the hell you got so much private information about me.

"I got people who look around..." (laughs)

But seriously, do you get a lot of responses from people who relate to your songs?

"Yeah. It's funny. Sometimes you just seem to hit on something that people can relate to. I've been lucky enough to sort of learn how to do that every now and then. You can't do it every day but sometimes you get lucky and it works."

Tell me bout the Outlaw Trail project. How did you get to work with Buddy Jewell, Joe Ely, Rodney Crowell and the rest of the guys?

"That was something that came along as a result of a guy named Dave Goodwin. He lives up in Montana, but he was involved with the project and a couple of other guys that he knows suggested me for it. And I think after that point he wasn't aware of who I was, but once he heard my music, he thought I would be a really great fit for that show."

"So we went down to Austin, TX and we did a show at the Paramount Theater. It was just a really neat experience and I got to rub elbows with a lot of artists that I love and respect. It was a neat thing."

There's been some criticism about the newcoming outlaw wanna-be's, for example when Justin Moore named his last album 'Outlaws Like Me'. How would you define an outlaw artist?

"You know, for one thing, when the outlaws came out years ago, they didn't call themselves outlaws. That term was invented by Hazel Smith. She called them outlaws just because these guys, they were trying being told that they had to use studio bands and whatever else and they just recorded music the way they wanted, they way they heard it in their own minds and hearts. And that's why she called them outlaws. It wasn't really about being a bad ass. It was just about the way they chose to do things kind of outside of the box a little bit. They weren't trying to be anything negative, they were just trying to do things their way, which is what I do and what I like to do."

"Some of the newers, new people who come out that call themselves that I think they're mystifying the term. You know I really can't make any comment about any particular artist in general who does that, but I will say that the Justin Moore thing is a little bit far fetched if you ask me. I think it's a total put-on. But that's just my opinion."

Ray ScottAt the Outlaw Trail concert you played with the great Megan Mullins and John Bohlinger and if I'm right you also wrote 'Gone Either Way' with John. Are you still in touch with them?

"I see Megan probably more than I do John right now. Last I heard he was out in Seattle, WA doing some work for some people. He's still obviously playing music, I just don't think he's in Nashville that much. But I see Megan play every now and then. Definitely they're both good friends of mine and I hope to see them again soon.

Last time I was in Nashville Megan and John were playing a show at a place called Judge Beans down in Brentwood. There were like 6 people in the bar and they still played for 3 hours and Wade Hayes also showed up. It was a really special night. Have you seen Wade since he completed his last chemo?

"I have. Wade's doing pretty good. I actually did a show with him a couple of weeks ago at a songwriter show in Nashville. I talk to him from time to time. I went over to his place and helped him take the top off his blazer, his truck the other day."

"He's doing better. His chemo is now finished. He's still got little ways to go. He's lost a lot of weight, he needs obviously to bulk up a little bit, but he's been through a rough time and it's kind of a miraculous thing that he's doing as well as he's doing, because they weren't really giving him a very good prognosis first. I think he's doing a way better. God willing, he'll be just fine."

So you've heard his new song 'Is It Already Time'...

"I have, you know as a matter of fact he played it for me. I was in his house one day and he sat down and played it only acoustic for me and I gotta say it really moved me. I can tell obviously it's about as honest song as I've heard in a long time. It just reflected of what he's been through and some of those mortal thoughts that go through your mind when you get news like that, you face a health crisis. You can only know what that's like unless you've lived through it. So he's definitely got a lot to feed from."

Ray ScottA few years ago I noticed your active promotion on MySpace, but I don't suppose you use MySpace anymore, do you?

"You know I don't, I haven't used it in quite a while. Sometimes I forget I even have a MySpace account." (laughs)

Do you think it's essential for artists today to be personally involved in interacting with fans on Facebook, Twitter and such?

"You know I'm off and on about that. I think it's very helpful. It just depends. They used to be a little more mystique with artists. I don't know. Some people argue that people shouldn't offer so much access to themselves, because it takes away from the mystique and takes away from the aura or whatever else. Honestly I think that's bullshit."

"I think one of the things that makes me relatable to people was the fact that can relate. I enjoy getting on Facebook and Twitter and saying goofy things and just kinda let my sense of humor sort of rule the day a little bit and interacting with people. I've met a lot of friends through that and that's why I call my fanclub 'The Friends of Ray Scott', because that's the way I see it. I think these people are people enable you to do what you love to do for a living. I do think that the new media thing works a lot."

"It also makes it more challenging sometimes to really stand out among the rest of them, because everybody and their brother these days can claim to be a singer and start a Facebook page and get fans. It's all in your follow though and it's all backing it up and kind of being accountable. If you're gonna get on there and become this guy, then you got to continue to be that guy."

"I find it fairy enjoyable to do that stuff. Some days are busier that others, so it's hard to sit down every day and interact and do that kind of thing, but I try to when I can."

I like yRay Scottour rebellious attitude towards CMT, because I feel the same way and miss the old times when it used to be a country music station.

"You know I don't dislike CMT, I just feel like they just don't care about the music. You know CMT is owned by MTV and the people at MTV probably have no clue what real country music is and what it's about. The more pop it is and the more contemporary leaning it is, probably the more acceptable it is for the people who run the show there. And honestly CMT is not playing videos for the most part much anymore anyway right now."

"CMT plays me on their CMT Pure channel, which to me is a pretty good representation of country music across the board. So for that I'm definitely appreciative, it's just that particular channel is not seen by everybody. You have to have a special cable package just to get that channel. But it's all good."

"GAC has been supportive of me as well. I just made a new video for 'Those Jeans' and we hope to get some support on that."

Yeah, I'm totally digging this song. Is that any story behind the song?

"Honestly no, I just thought it up." (laughs) "I obviously hadn't had that happened to me. It's just like with 'My Kind Of Music', I just sat down and just thought up a goofy story. 'My Kind Of Music' was actually based on a real date I had, but I just sort of embellished it quite a bit."

How do you feel about the mainstream country music today? Do you have a favorite artist who's currently on the spotlight?

"I like some of it. You know it's always been a case when you like some of it and not all of it. I'm not really a fan of the stuff that sounds like it's taylor-made for radio and that kind of thing. I love great songs. I love individual artists, unique artists. I don't care much for the stuff that sounds like it was just made to sound safe, so the radio station could feel like people wouldn't turn the channel while that song was on."

"You know with that in mind I dig people like Miranda Lambert. She's always done her thing and she's made it work. That's a really good spot to be in. Not all of us can do that. A lot of things you have to line up for for that to happen on mainstream radio. She's definitely made her thing work. She hasn't compromised. That's not really a case for a lot of the guys and girls out there."

Ray Scott"But I don't degrade anybody or their success. I'm glad that somebody can make something work, because at the end of the day no matter what the artist is it takes the work of the whole team of people to make that happen. A lot of different people are at work doing these things."

From what I can hear this is not the first time you're in Europe.

"I've been in Europe before. I haven't been to Poland, but I've been to Europe."

Where have you been?

"I have been to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy. I got more trips planned in the future."

Have you noticed any troubles with the language barrier, for example that not all the jokes are always understood?

"Honestly, I can't tell. There have been issues where I needed a translator. It's hard to sometimes with my lyrics and the stories of my songs that people don't understand English. Then it's gonna get right over their head. So sometimes with that in mind you kinda gear your set towards more to a groove or anything that maybe people can dance or whatever. It just depends on where you go. I like to kinda being myself wherever I go and hope that people will understand."

"Even here I think in the promo brochure for Pure Country, they included some lyrics of a couple of my songs, so people can read the lyrics and see what it's all about. I thought that was a good idea. I mean I had noticed sometimes the language barrier can be challenging with not everywhere you go."

Thank you very much.


Ray Scott & Petr Mecir

(Ray Scott & Petr Mecir - Wolsztyn, Poland 08/12/2012)



 

Ray Scott - "Those Jeans"




Ray Scott - "My Kind Of Music"



Check out more about Ray at www.RayScott.com






(C) Petr Mecir 2012. All rights reserved.