If you’re in Okarche, Oklahoma, there’s a good chance you got lost trying to get somewhere else. Forty miles outside of Oklahoma City, Okarche and its population of a little over a thousand residents are an oasis in the middle of a vast red-dirt desert. But being miles and miles off the beaten path didn’t prevent David Ray from drawing a crowd to Okarche’s Hide Away Bar.
“I didn’t expect to have a packed house the last time I played there because it is literally in the middle of nowhere, but it was huge,” says Ray. “It was a ton of fun.” The experience was so memorable that it inspired Ray to write his latest song, “Somewhere In The Middle Of Nowhere.”
Standing-room-only crowds in places expected and unexpected have been a regular occurrence for Ray this summer, playing honky tonks from Florida to Michigan, and stopping here in Music City for stints at Rippy’s and the world-famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. On September 30th, he opened up for Capitol Records recording artist The Beagles in Monticello, Indiana, along with American Idol finalist Lacey Brown and newcomer Greg Pope.
This month he’s headed back to Oklahoma. Ray’s first trip to the state included a performance at Willie’s Saloon in Stillwater where Garth Brooks made his first public performance in , and he’s returning thanks to the successful string of shows that included the full house at the Hide Away Bar in Okarche.
Included in the upcoming tour of Oklahoma is a performance by Ray at the Rodeo Opry in Oklahoma City on Saturday, October 8th. “Oklahoma’s Official Country Music Show” is in its 34th year, and the event will be televised on KSBI Channel 52, a local network owned by Vince Orza. Following the Opry, Ray will be performing at the after party hosted by Brewsky’s Bar from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
“The Rodeo Orpy will be amazing,” Ray says with excitement about the opportunity to perform at the event. “There’s a lot of great history there, and I look forward to playing my first televised show.”
Ray will also be returning to Okarche and the Hide Away Bar on October 7th.
This is turning out to be a seminal year for Ray who moved to Nashville a little over a year ago to pursue music full time. Performing as often as he could at historic locations like Pick’s Nashville and The Bluebird Café, and at honky tonks like Cadillac Ranch and Paradise Park on Lower Broadway, Ray was soon discovered by TCM Records Nashville and Nashville Music Guide owner Randy Matthews who signed Ray to the label.
Ray showcased and released his debut album on the label, The Man In Me, during CMA Fan Fair. The album was recorded at Nashville’s The Tracking Room with studio manager Dan Mitchell, and features the songs “She Makes Me,” “Back To You,” and the title track, “The Man In Me.”
In October, Ray’s first single will be released to radio, a remake of John Anderson’s early 1990s hit, “Seminole Wind.”
For music and information on upcoming performances, be sure to check out davidray.com and follow him at twitter.com/davidrayband
By Andrew Miller