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Happy Birthday Ray Price!

01/12/2007 4:22 PM - Grammy award winner Ray Price will perform in concert at 7pm Saturday, February 17, 2007, at the American Bank Center Selena Auditorium.

Born Noble Ray Price in Perryville, Texas on January 12, 1926, he worked on his family farm in East Texas during his early years. The family later moved to Dallas when Ray was a teenage. He attended North Texas Agricultural College in Arlington, Texas, where he studied veterinary medicine, but left college to join the Marines in World War II.

In 1946, Ray resumed his college studies, but his love of music could not keep him away from playing as much as he could. He left his veterinary studies to pursue his dream of music. After leaving college, Ray landed a spot on the prestigious “Big D Jamboree,” where he gained national exposure when parts of the show were broadcast over the CBS Radio Network. Ray’s continued success on the program gave him his first major break and he was signed by Columbia Records in 1951.

He then moved to Nashville and became close friends with Hank Williams. Together they co-wrote the hit song “Weary Blues from Waitin.” Ray performed on many shows with Williams and filled in for him many times when he was unable to perform. At one time Ray and Hank shared a house in Nashville. Hank Williams is credited for helping Price to gain a spot on the Grand Ole Opry and paving the way for him to become one of the most significant artists in the history of Country Music.

Ray’s band, “The Cherokee Cowboys” has been a training ground for legendary artists and musicians. Some of the artists who have worked in Price’s band include Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, Darrel McCall, Johnny Bush, Frenchie Burke, Buddy Emmons, and Jimmy Day.

From 1952 to the present, Ray has compiled one of the most distinguished lists of hit records in Country Music. He is credited with producing the most emotional “honky tonk” music ever recorded. His lushly-arranged Country-Pop ballads have now become standards in Country Music. His hits include, “For The Good Times,” “Release Me,” “Night Life,” “Crazy Arms,” “Heartaches By The Numbers,” “City Lights,” “Danny Boy,” and hundreds more.

He continues to play to sold-out audiences throughout the world, performing more than 100 concerts each year. He is still one of the most active touring artists in all of Country Music, taking his music to The White House, Symphonys, Performing Arts Centers, Fairs, Casinos, Nighclubs, and Arenas.

In 1996, Ray Price received the highest honor in Country Music, when he was inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. He was presented the award by his long-time friend Kris Kristofferson, who termed Ray “A living link between Hank Williams and the country singers of today.” He was placed in The Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2000, and was honored with the 2004 “Pioneer Award” from the Academy of Country Music. Governor Rick Perry declared November 4, 2006, “Ray Price Day” in Texas and Price performed a sold-out concert that evening at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.

Ray continues to record, and with the release of his newest album, “Time,” he continues to receive critical acclaim by the major music trade papers, live audiences, and his peers. His new album is pure, traditional country. “You don’t hear a lot of that on the radio these days,” he says.

He recently recorded an album with Willie Nelson and it is scheduled for September, 2006 release.

To say that Ray Price helped make revolutionary changes, sometimes controversial changes, in Country Music would be an understatement.

At 81 years of age, he still has the velvety voice and it has remained remarkable unchanged. He has stayed with his sound throughout the years and commands the respect of the young artists of today’s Country Music. Also appearing will be Comedian Willie P. Richardson and singer Kasey Lansdale.

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