Award winning songwriter celebrates 50 year career with new album
Ray Edwards is celebrating 50 years in the music industry with A Golden Anniversary Celebration on Pinecastle Records. The album features his award winning songwriting and big name guests such as Danny Paisley, Bradley Walker, Jeanette Williams, Junior Sisk, and a whose who of pickers including Alan Bibey, Adam Haynes, Terry Smith, and more.
Edwards gained the confidence he needed to start his storied sideman career after being named “World Championship Five-String Banjo Player” at Carlton Haney’s “String Music Championship” in 1973 and at Union Grove, North Carolina in 1974. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, he found himself backing up artists such as Jeanie C. Riley, Tom T. Hall, Randy Travis, Lynn Anderson, and a long list of others. Some career highlights include recording on “Tom T. Hall – Live at the Opry House” and playing as a staff musician on Tom T. Hall’s “Pop Goes The Country Club” which remains in syndication to this day. His touring work with Tom T. Hall took him to some of the most iconic American venues including the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, The Smithsonian Institute and The White House.
“Having been nominated for IBMA and SPBGMA Song of the Year awards, I came to know Ray Edwards as a songwriter. Many Pinecastle artists have cut his great songs over the years. After I heard this new project, I knew we had to do something to highlight his talents as a musician and producer as well.” – Ethan Burkhardt, Pinecastle Records
“In the list of firsts, this is the first project I’ve ever released that I sang lead on,” says Edwards. “I hope you enjoy my vocal approach to bluegrass music and my country interpretation of a couple of traditional country songs I brought to the project from the 90’s with the Nashville A-Team. The songs are all first-class and there’s something here for everybody. I hope all of my fans enjoy listening to this CD as much as I enjoyed making it.”
Along with singing lead, he is featured on five and six-string banjo. The project features comprehensive liner notes giving the back story behind each song. It adds more meaning to hear the behind the scenes story from the masterful writer himself.
Highlight songs include his favorite bluegrass song, “Tennessee” by the late King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin. Danny Paisley sings lead and captures the drive and phrasing of Martin while adding his own trademark licks to make his vocal nothing short of a classic. Frequent writing partner, Terry Foust lends his help on “Wanda Lou” which is dedicated to Edwards’ wife. Junior Sisk joins Ray on lead vocals. “If you’re going to beat Junior on singing a traditional bluegrass song, you’ll need to get up mighty early,” says Edwards.
“I’m very proud of the originals I wrote or co-wrote for the project. I feel they equal or surpass anything I’ve written in the past. I have no doubt bluegrass fans will really sink their teeth into some of the songs contributed by a few guest artists.” – Ray Edwards