January 11, 2008 Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price will celebrate his 82nd birthday this weekend in Tyler, Texas, doing what he does best: performing. Ray tells the Tyler Morning Telegraph that he's performed in there three or four times before, "but that's in about 63 years," Ray says with a laugh. "I'm about as excited (to come back) as I can be at my age."
Ray is still one of the most active touring artists in all of country music, taking his music to the White House, symphonies, performing arts centers, fairs, casinos, nightclubs and arenas. He plays to sold-out audiences all around the world, performing more than 100 concerts each year.
With the release of his newest solo album, Time, Ray has recently received critical acclaim, as did another double-volume CD project recorded with friends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard titled Last of The Breed, which is also available as a live concert DVD. Ray, Willie and Merle played a 40-city sold-out tour last year.
While he's glad to have been so successful, like all driven artists, Ray is still reaching. "I feel like I haven't quite gotten to the point I would like to have in life," says Ray, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. "I just want to be everybody's favorite singer. It's one of those goals that may not be attainable. But, I can always hope."
Ray moved to Nashville in 1951 and became close friends with Hank Williams. Together they co-wrote the hit song "Weary Blues from Waitin'." Ray performed on many shows with Hank, and filled in for him many times when Hank was unable to perform.
Ray's band "The Cherokee Cowboys" has been a training ground for legendary artists and musicians. Former band members include Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, Darrel McCall, Johnny Bush, Frenchie Burke, Buddy Emmons and Jimmy Day.