Getting the proverbial “nod” about your original songs from peers and mentors like Kevin Fowler and country music industry veteran Tim Dubois makes going full throttle towards a music career seem less like a childhood pipedream and more like an obvious choice.
Ray Johnston’s latest musical creation, “No Bad Days” comes alive on September 30th anchored by the lead single and video “More Crown Than Coke.” Producer Erik Herbst (Josh Abbott Band. Casey Donahew, Eli Young Band, Sam Riggs, Bowling For Soup) proved to be the perfect coach in studio, providing the kind of challenges and virtuous demands that helped Ray create the best record of his career. The new release-a 100% definitive of his relentlessly positive nature, proves to be a music autobiography of sorts—one that lightens the spirit and trances listeners into a state of genuine gratitude. Case in point, the mighty title- track that elicits a lesson in humility and command to attention like a brisk cold water splash in the face. The instrumentation and melodic arrangements throughout the tracks are like good ol’ friends coming together on a perfect afternoon under the sunshine. You get lost in the country with standouts like the foot-tap provoking, head-bobbing “Keep It Rollin,’” and “Life Out Here,” a Kentucky styled, life-on-the-road anthem with the signature harmonies found all over this album.
Ray Johnston found that in this business of music you have to have an iron clad stomach and a steadfast attitude if you want to survive. So, like he has done time and time again throughout his life, Johnston battled on, digging deep within himself to find and bring to the surface the genuine article of artistry. It’s a very frustrating and challenging thing to live in your own shadow--tough to make your music heard when you are known primarily for making it to the NBA off a free agent workout with the Dallas Mavericks and winning out against a slew of battles with leukemia (4 years in remission currently). From his one-child shows playing spoons in his mother’s kitchen to his southern rock high school band to his frat house packing college band, music was always there. Ray Johnston may have made it to the NBA, but music is in his DNA. Having taken such an interest in Ray’s new chapter of life, close friend and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, orchestrated a music-focused nominated doc-series called” Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries” that aired on AXS-TV.
After two record releases, the last one “Against The Grain” garnering him two Top #15 singles on the Texas Music Chart and song licensing of “Game Day” to ESPN for the 2013 college football season, Ray recognized that his catalog was of the cross-genre variety and decided to get hard at work crafting his own sound with all its cohesiveness and good old-fashioned harmonic glory. So, taking to heart the sage advice given to him by Kevin Fowler who said, “You are only going to make it as far as your songs,” Ray took a hard study at the craft of writing at a remote writer’s retreat where he found himself surrounded by some of the Nashville elite (James Otto, Chris DeStephano, Patrick Davis, James Slater, Django Walker). Days into the “meeting of the minds” he realized he was right in his element and emerged with an arsenal of finely calibrated material eager to take residency on his brand new project. The original plan was to record an EP, but after giving a slew of living room performances in which over a hundred listeners were given a card to rate each song, to Ray’s surprise, nearly every tune made the cut. And so became his brand new full length record release “No Bad Days.”
The album’s first single “Crush” (co-written with William Clark Green) hit the Top 30 on the Texas Music Chart, a beautifully crafted tale about the kind of miles a woman can put on a man’s heart. Fast on its heels is Ray's fourth single (and debut music video) to hit the Texas Music Chart in just two years, “More Crown Than Coke,” a delicious concoction made with more of that undefeatist attitude that is Ray’s calling-card.
The universal premise of the entire album is that life is truly a celebration, a valuable gift we all have in common. And that wisdom is something that is never lost on Ray Johnston. ”I love the optimistic hope this album has in it. I love that the songs can touch a farmer in Washington and an accountant in Chicago.”