By JUSTIN RAINS
While many in and around the Palestine area know of the music of Eddie Ray, the local country gospel singer will get some nationwide exposure on Monday, when he will be featured on the national television show, “In Your Corner.”
“In Your Corner,” which is broadcast on the National Religious Broadcasters network, will air at 5:30 p.m. Monday on DIRECTV Channel 378 or online at www.nrbnetwork.tv.
Show host Kerry Pharr said he first heard of Ray while visiting family in Palestine. His mother-in-law, Doris Platt, turned him on to Ray’s music, he said.
“She is a big fan of his and often raved about his music,” Pharr said. “It was an honor to have him on the show and to hear him share his testimony of faith in Christ.”
Ray, known locally as the other half of the musical group the Ray Brothers, set off to pursue a solo career in 2005.
From there, things have really taken off.
Ray has performed during the lead-up to the Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards, a three-day event held in Nashville before the airing of the awards show.
According to Ray, performers like Ricky Skaggs and Jeff Bates routinely perform at that event and artists can mingle with other artists, radio station representatives and fans.
“It’s a time when you get to get in front of people and let them hear your music and try and promote what you’re doing,” Ray said. “It’s an exciting time and you meet a lot of good people. Every state it seems, was being represented by somebody.”
Ray has been playing music since his youth, when he used to perform with his parents at family gatherings and other events
“I learned from here and took it from there,” he said. “My mom, dad and myself used to go around playing different churches and things. I’ve always enjoyed playing music.”
Ray’s latest solo release, called “Faith & Memories,” was released in 2010. Featuring 10 songs, the album was produced by Gene Higgins of the Higgins Music Group — a record label that helps put on the ICM awards.
Now, Ray and Higgins are back in the studio, working on his newest project.
While it doesn’t yet have a name, Ray said he has about seven new songs ready for it and expects it to be released in two or three months.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty good CD,” Ray said. “It’s a project that’s not finished yet.”
When the album is finished and released, it will be just another extension of what Ray, who still lives in Palestine, calls his ministry.
“It’s amazing to me what God has allowed me to be part of, in the gospel music side of it,” he said. “The places I’ve gotten to go...I never dreamed I’d be on national television, but I feel like it’s something that God sent my way.
“God has put me there, (and) I hope it touches people’s lives and hope my music gets played across the country. You never know what God has in mind.”
Check out Ray on his Web Site at www.eddieray.me
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org