Michael Ray loves a good story. So, it’s only natural that when it came time to tell his own, he gravitated to country music.“I feel like in music in general, but especially in country music, the story lines have always been the foundation,”he says. “No matter what changes may happen with the sound, I feel like when you listen to a song, no matter what walk of life you come from, you can really lose yourself in that song and put your own story to it.”
The small-town Florida native began to tell his tale on his 2015 self-titled debut album and scored two number one hits with “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Think a Little Less.” His dynamic sophomore album, “Amos,” named for his grandfather and produced by the legendary Scott Hendricks (Alan Jackson, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton) picks up where that record left off, combining the vintage sounds he absorbed growing up with a contemporary polish that puts him at the forefront of a class of fresh young voices. Ray runs the emotional gamuton “Amos,” from vulnerable ballads to boot-stomping rockers, showcasing a musical and vocal dexterity he has long admired in heroes like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.
First single “Get to You” is a heartfelt plea for making a relationship work that utilizes Ray’s impressive vocal range, moving from a ruminative baritone to a tender falsetto croon. “Her World or Mine,” the album’s emotional centerpiece, breaks down the universal emotions of a break-up in heartbreaking and incisive detail. He turns up the tempo and the temperature with the pithy rocker “You’re On” and offers a slinky slice of wordplay with the whimsical “Fan Girl,” giving “Amos” a diverse feel that retains a cohesive whole.Her World or MineRay can’t remember a time without music.Growing up in Eustis, he was surrounded by several generations of his extended family singing and playing songs.“
My grandfather would sit around and teach me and my cousins how to play and sing harmony,” Ray recalls with a smile.“He wanted to put a guitar in everybody’s hand.”Amos eventually formed a family band with Ray’s dad called the Country Cousins who played festivals and parties all through central Florida.Which is how Ray found himself steeped in the likes of Ray Price, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Jeanie Seely and onstage “when I was literally old enough to just be able to stand.”
At age 10, after beginning to learn guitar, Ray says, “I started playing every Thursday through Sunday with my grandfather in groups he was in.I learned a lot that I didn't know would help me where I'm at now.”