Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 051Last night the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., hit the half-way mark. Three days done, three to go.  And just like night one, and night two – they just kept the entertainment coming!  What great acts we have at our fair this year.  And what a treat for all of us to get the artist with the current No. 1 record up on that stage.  We had Michael Ray!  A lot of the fans in last night’s audience only knew Michael from his hit single, “Kiss You in the Morning.” By the time the show was over, they all knew a whole lot more.

Those of you who have been reading Country’s Chatter over the past eight years may remember we had an article about Michael posted nearly five years ago.  The article was titled “There’s more to Michael Ray than just good country music”. After seeing his show last night, we could probably use that same title for this article. If you happened to miss that one, you can go back and read it by clicking here.

We have already over-used the phrase ‘high-energy’ in telling you about the shows we saw at the fair so far this week. And, we’re going to use it again.  These young artists don’t stay in one place very long when they are singing.  Michael Ray is definitely an artist with a high-energy show, and is really fun to watch.

Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 065The audience enjoyed hearing Michael sing songs that were recorded by other artists. He gave us music from Gary Allen (Right Where I Need to Be); Keith Whitley (Don’t Close Your Eyes); Toby Keith (Should’ve Been a Cowboy); George Strait (Check Yes or No); got the crowd singing along to David Lee Murphy’s “Dust on the Bottle”, and I personally was so glad he did the one he wrote that was recorded by Big & Rich, “Run Away With You”. I think Michael could put out an album called “You Sang It, Now I’ll Sing It”, and it wouldn’t matter what songs he decided to include on that album – every one of them would be done well. He pretty much showed us that last night.

His self-titled debut album is one of the best albums in my very large collection. It was great to hear him do some of the music from that new record live last night.  My favorite song on that album is “Real Men Love Jesus,” so I was ready to jump up and down in my chair when he announced that this would be his next single. I’m excited for all of you to hear this one.  It not only sounds like the real country music we’ve been missing, but the lyrics are wonderful.  “Real men love Jesus, They don’t believe in leavin’, When the goin’ gets tough, They just keep on keepin’. “  I’m excited to see what this song does on radio, and I’m excited to hear what all you think of it. I hope you love it as much as we do. Now that you’ve heard about it, why not run over to YouTube and hear it!

Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 101He also sang “Somewhere South,” “Wish I Was Here” and “Everything In Between”.  If I had to pick five or six favorites from this album, I think it would be pretty safe to say he sang every one of my favorites. But the hard part for me would be to pick just five or six favorites form this 12-track record. Because every one of them is really good!  The record is available on iTunes, or Amazon, or Walmart. Check your other local retail stores, too.

Before the show, I spent a little time with Chris Horne, Michaels ‘Merch Guy’. We talked a while about Michael’s web site, his music, and of course his band.  I am never good at writing names quickly when the artist introduces his band from stage, so I have to give a big thank you to Chris for giving me the names of the very talented, fun to watch band members!  These are also the musicians who played on the album. We had Andrew Beselica on drums; Matthew Gatch, keys; Lucas Chamberlain, lead guitar; Austin Moorhead, banjo/rhythm guitar; and Jon Sepulveda on bass.

I am out of adjectives. I would need a Thesaurus to help me find more words to describe the absolutely awesome, entertaining, fun show that Michael Ray put on for his audience last night. He’s great on stage, he is wonderful with his fans, he took time for an on-air radio interview right before his Meet & Greet, and he stayed after the show to sign autographs for fans waiting in line to meet him; and, there just aren’t enough words to tell you all how much everyone enjoyed Michael’s show. I hope all of you who have not yet seen this guy on stage will make it a point to do so.  You aren’t going to be disappointed.  And buy that record!  And, when he releases “Real Men Love Jesus” to radio, get on the phone and call your favorite radio station to make sure they put it on their playlist. It is that good.

I’m gong to close here with a few more pictures from last night.  We’ve got all kinds of pictures, the band, the interview with WXBQ’s Marc Tragler, Michael on stage…my only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of Chris (the merchandise man). Should have included him, too. Next time, Chris.

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In addition to Michael’s web site, visit his Facebook page, and remember to “Like” it while you are there. You can follow him on Twitter @Michaelraymusic. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.

We will be back with more soon.

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Last night the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., hit the half-way mark. Three days done, three to go.  And just like night one, and night two – they just kept the entertainment coming!  What great acts we have at our fair this year.  And what a treat for all...