Showing posts with label #Country Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Country Music. Show all posts

Thursday, August 10, 2017


R  A  Y   W  A  L  K  E  R 
Ray Walker dropped out of school in 1955, moved to Centerville, Tennessee, where he helped to build a radio station, WHLP, worked with the local Church, and, became the youngest school principal in the history of Tennessee. He came back to college in 1956 and graduated in June 1957, with a BA Degree in Speech, Music, Bible, and, Education; worked for Werthan Bag Company during the Summer. By that time Ray and wife Marilyn's third child was on the way.
Ray continued working for the local Church and, in the Fall began teaching school in Davidson County Schools, where he was Assistant Principal, Coach, and commanded a split seventh and eighth grade class. It was April 1958 now, and through a business call to David Lipscomb College, Ray was put in touch with the Jordanaires by his former Choral Director. Gordon Stoker had called there, just prior to Ray's call, to see if the Music Department knew of a bass singer who might fit their requirements. When Ray spoke with the professor, he said to give them his name, which the professor did. Ray was called that afternoon, auditioned at 11:00 that evening, was called at the school the next day and asked to go to Hollywood to do some recording. The school board let him off, he went, came home and completed his school year of teaching, and joined the Jordanaires, officially, June 1, 1958. 

Since that time, while working with the Jordanaires, he had a successful, daily, morning show, "YOUR OWN TIME" on the ABC Channel in Nashville in 1976.  Ray has done modeling, numerous radio, television, magazine and newspaper commercials (locally and nationally). He was a deputy sheriff (as a liaison between trouble youth and distraught families) for twenty-some years and, as were all the Jordanaires, an honorary member of the Tennessee Governor's Staff in Tennessee for many years.

Among the accolades the group has received during his tenure with The Jordanaires is induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the NACMAI (North American Country Music Association International) Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame and others.  Ray was inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame, individually, in 2013.  He was, also, awarded the "Avalon Award", the highest award given for contribution and accomplishment by his alma mater', David Lipscomb University, in 2005.

It is estimated that Ray Walker has been recorded on more than 200,000 songs  and including his professional recording with the Jordanaires, and is reservedly believed to be the most recorded voice in the history of music.

Ray was the Bass Singer in "THE JORDANAIRES" for 54 years and 345 days, when upon the passing of Gordon Stoker, March 27, 2013, "THE JORDANAIRES" as a group, officially, came to an end.  Ray, occasionally, performs with country crooner Ronnie McDowell, and others, in programs dedicated to the memory of Elvis Presley. 

E   L   V   I   S 



PURCHASE … Ray Walker’s "Live in Concert" at the New Opry House
This CD contains 14 All Time Favorite songs by Jordanaire, Ray Walker …

You can purchase this incredible CD at

For more information about Ray Walker and The Jordanaires visit …


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Have a great week everybody!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Joe Bonsall Interview: The Oak Ridge Boys Slated for Country Music Hall of Fame … “Thank God we’re Alive to See It!”

Joe Bonsall Interview
-Interviewed on May 4th 2015

For over forty years, the inspirational Country & Gospel renderings of Joe Bonsall,
Duane AllenWilliam Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, have perpetually and affectionately delivered positive, wholesome, and enjoyable music while the Oak Ridge Boys served as America’s patriotic and spiritual ambassadors to the world.

In our last interview in March of 2014, Joe Bonsall, the legendary tenor of the Oak Ridge Boys was brimming with exciting news … news that included their jubilant 40th anniversary as a group together and the upcoming release of their first live album ever entitled … Boys Night Out on Cleopatra Records. ‘The Boys’ had also returned from sea on their annual Oak Ridge Boys Rally-at-Sea aboard the Celebrity Reflection, and of course their touring schedule which has been extraordinarily relentless for over the past four decades.

In my recent interview with Joe, he was still brimming with exciting news, and 2015 would prove that the group is as busy as ever! The Oak Ridge Boys continue to persevere and instill their amazing success into America’s hearts. Probably the biggest news ever in their illustrious 40+ year career is the news that the group will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame … class of 2015. The official induction will take place later this year during a medallion ceremony in Nashville. Congrats guys!

You want more? The Oak Ridge Boys recently released their critically-acclaimed CD entitled ‘Rock of Ages, Hymns and Gospel Favorites, an awe-inspiring collection of classic hymns that also features Merle Haggard and The Isaacs.
On May 1st Harvest House Publishers released Joe Bonsall’s (5) star review novel entitled …

The Oak Ridge Boys also began a rather

2016 will continue where 2015 left off … On January 16th thru 23rd the Oak’s will be sailing the high seas on the Holland America Westerdam Cruise Line to perform onboard for ‘The Country Music Cruise.’
The incredible music lineup stars… Kenny Rogers, Randy Owen, lead singer of Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Kathy Mattea, B.J. Thomas, The Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Lee, Shenandoah featuring Marty Raybon, Jamie O’ Neal, Riders In The Sky, Deborah Allen, Quebe Sisters, Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Host Lorianne Crook, Deborah Evans Price, Elvis Tribute Artists … and more to be announced!
Visit  for further information or to book your reservations.

The Oak Ridge Boys have sold over 41-million records. The group has scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album—plus one double platinum single—and had more than a dozen national Number One singles and over 30 Top Ten hits.

Joe Bonsall and I discussed their upcoming induction into the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame,’ the Oak Ridge Boys latest release …‘Rock of Ages, Hymns and Gospel Favorites’, the Oak’s strong Christian faith and their recipe for success … and much-much more! Here’s my recent interview with singer, author, 40 year plus veteran of the Oak Ridge Boys, and American Patriot … JOE BONSALL.

Ray Shasho: How are you doing Joe, where are you at today?
Joe Bonsall: “Hello my brother! I’m at home here in Hendersonville, Tennessee.”
Ray Shasho: Well, the Oak Ridge Boys have a lot going on these days as they always do …
Joe Bonsall: “It’s just amazing to me Ray, I sometimes sit back and I just wonder how the heck we do it. At our age and to have this Hall of Fame thing, to have two new albums out, to write this new book on the group like I did, and I can’t even believe I did it, I thought for sure I wrote all there was to write about the Oak Ridge Boys eleven years ago with An American Journey but Harvest House Publishing Group came to me and said, hey man, we want a new book on the Oak Ridge Boys, and we want you to write it … can you give us something new and fresh? So it’s amazing Ray how many good things we’ve got going on.”
Ray Shasho:  Joe, congratulations on the exciting news that the Oak Ridge Boys will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the Medallion Ceremony in the fall this year. What were your thoughts after the announcement was made?
Joe Bonsall: “It’s the ultimate of all honors! It’s been about a month now since they told us about it at the ceremony downtown and we’re actually officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in October. But we are inductees … I guess like the Governor elect or President elect, you’re not President yet but you’ve been elected. So we’re inductees, and I’ve got to tell you man, every once in awhile it hits you like a freight train …the Country Music Hall of Fame! It’s kind of funny, I finished that book and it just came out about three weeks ago. I totally finished my writing in January and I wrote in there, I think we’ve done enough to make it in the Hall of Fame, but I don’t know, my only hope is if it does happen we’re alive when it does, and doggone all of a sudden it’s our time. Thank God we are alive to see it happen. I keep thinking about that plaque coming out with our four faces on it together, as it has always been and will always be.”
Ray Shasho:  “The Oak Ridge Boys have won countless awards over the years, I can’t think of another group that may have earned more.
Joe Bonsall: “ Maybe ‘Alabama’ has won the big-big share of awards, I’d have to put them on that same level. We’ve won all kinds of different awards. In fact, we’ve been spokesmen for the American Legion and they’re about to give us the Legion Patriot award in Baltimore on September 2nd.”
Ray Shasho: Joe, I really enjoyed the ‘Oaks’ recent gospel release … ‘Rock of Ages, Hymns and Gospel Favorites,’ and I noticed an appearance by Ban-Joey on “Power in the Blood?”
Joe Bonsall: “Yea man they let me put a banjo ride in there, thank God for patient producers. (All laughing) It took awhile to nail that thing, I have to be honest. Once I started playing it was scatterbrained all over the place, so they said, well let’s do in sections. (All laughing) I tell you what Ray, singing the old hymns were really cool, that came out of a late night phone conversation between Bill Gaither and Duane Allen. Bill said, the Oaks have recorded a hymn or two over the years but it would be great to see you guys put your touch on some of the great old hymns. And in our Oak Ridge Boys way we did that as well as some extra things on there that weren’t hymns but still fit the format. For instance, Duane Allen had this song called “Peace Within” for about ten years and we never had a project that it fit on. Duane said, this would fit that Hymn album so well, it’s up tempo and a blue grassy kind of thing and then Ben Isaac put the Isaacs Family on it and that made it a real unique cut.”
Ray Shasho: Merle Haggard also performed on the track “Sweet Jesus?”
Joe Bonsall: “That’s another cool story because Haggard wrote the song for us like two years ago and he sent it to us through Marty Stuart. Merle said, I wrote a song for the Oak Ridge Boys and asked Marty if he would give it to us. So what happened was, we were working on that live project last year … Boys Night Out and the song didn’t fit that format, but as soon as this hymns album came out, the first thing we thought was, hey, we can do the Haggard song on here, now let’s get him to sing with us on here, which we did, and it came out pretty cool.”
Ray Shasho: A track that I got a little bit emotional with was “Time Has Made A Change in Me,” such a beautiful and heartfelt song … “Time has made a change since my childhood days; Many of my loved ones have gone away, Some I never more in this life shall see, Time has made a change in me.”
Joe Bonsall: “It’s not a hymn; it’s an old-old gospel quartet song and Golden wanted to do that. You know what, when I guy comes and says, I really want to sing “Time Has Made a Change in Me” … you know what, you let him do it!”
Ray Shasho: Golden also sounded like he was a little bit choked up by the tune like I was.
Joe Bonsall: “He was and I think it was cool that they kept the version where he was a little bit choked up because I thought it made all kinds of sense to do so. You know Ray, you wake up one day and you’re 50, and then the 50’s blow by, and then all of a sudden you’re 60, and then you see the 60’s blow by, and in my three singing partners case, they’re already watching their 70’s blow by.  I’ve got a granddaughter who is about to turn 20 years old. How does that even happen? I said this in the book, and this is thanking God for the health he has given us, I don’t feel any different onstage looking out my eyeball windows, looking over my microphone, than I did when I was younger. I may not jump quite as high or move quite as much, but I’m still singing good and feeling pretty much the same as I always had …until you go by a mirror.”

“We’ve been asked that age old question, when are you guys going to retire? I don’t see that happening here. We’re all progressive and forward thinking guys, we’re planning guys … we don’t even know how to slow down let alone stop this machine. So to me, it’s keep on going until God says not to keep on going … Joe ain’t coming to the bus tonight, he’s dead … that will do it. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: The Oak Ridge Boys are timeless; I’ve interviewed a lot of great artists who are still touring in their 80’s.
Joe Bonsall: “Look at Willie (Willie Nelson), he’s a great example. He’s still out there playing lots of dates, and Merle (Merle Haggard) goes out and still plays, you know the young kids are ruling the roost right now but guys like the Charlie Daniels Band, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Bellamy Brothers … we still got big crowds to sing to and a date book filled with dates. So there’s room obviously for everybody. I remember a few years ago right before Ray Price died, I saw Ray Price sing and he sang incredibly well, he was well into his 80’s and he sounded as good as ever (Joe singing … “For the Good Times”). And look at Tony Bennett for crying out loud.”
Ray Shasho: William Golden can always launch a second career as the third frontman with ZZ Top … he’s always had an awesome beard.
Joe Bonsall: “He’s got the best beard out there … better than those Duck Dynasty guys … people are always talking about Golden’s beard and comparing his to ZZ Top and Duck Dynasty’s. He always keeps it outside the covers so it can breathe; it’s like a living and breathing entity. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: How’s young Mary Sarah doing these days? I did an interview with her back in late 2014, she’s very talented and I really enjoyed chatting with her.
Joe Bonsall: “You know, she’s doing well, and she keeps piling it on too. I’d love to see her just breakthrough one of these days because I just love the girl. I love her parents, her family, and love her and what she’s about; I think she’s a great young talent that cares … I pull for Mary Sarah, I follow her closely. Actually her daddy and I keep in pretty close touch and I’m always getting a text from him when Mary Sarah’s doing something. So I’m a big supporter.”
Ray Shasho: Talk about how the group’s strong Christian faith has helped the Oak Ridge Boys over the years, and has remarkably kept the group together for over four decades.
Joe Bonsall:  “I have to give the faith thing a lot of credit for that. All the Oak Ridge Boys kind of know our place, we know where the blessings come from and who to be thankful for and thankful to, and everybody was brought up that way. And we were all brought up with a love for gospel music. I think that love for gospel is what cements us together. We don’t make our living with gospel music yet we can go in the arena anytime and be friends with everybody and sing the songs. But we’ve never been like everybody else and I think that’s another driving force in the success of the Oak Ridge Boys. We were brought up, if we treated people right, if we were honest, we honored God in our lives, if we do all these things and worked hard … God would do good things for us. That’s why the new book is dedicated to our four mothers, because we each had that kind of upbringing, and again, I think it’s one of those solidifying factors in our success and longevity. The most positive thing you could do in your life is to be a man of faith, and to believe, and to pray, and appreciate God’s blessings in your life … and that’s what’s important.”
Ray Shasho: What is the most important thing you’ve learned all these years as a performer and as a family man?
Joe Bonsall: “Integrity. In my book I have a chapter called the ‘ORB Doctrine’ and I think following it in your personal life, on the road, treating people right and trying to do things the correct way pays dividends. In my ‘What is Hard and What is Not’ chapter, to me the only thing I found hard what I did is leaving family. Singing isn’t hard, heck we sing songs, riding a bus isn’t hard; you get to travel around with a bunch of guys having fun. My father worked in a factory man… I don’t work in a factory. I sing songs for a living. The hardest part is those things you do miss being a travelling person … you miss birthdays, weddings, and precious moments with your loved ones that will never come back again. To me, that’s the only thing that’s hard about it.”
Ray Shasho:  Joe, how many cats do you have now?
Joe Bonsall: “I’ve got seven right now. One of the ways you keep a marriage together is to know your place … if we had five cats, I’d be number six. (All laughing) With seven cats, I’m number eight. If we happened to get an eighth cat, I would drop to number nine. So just know your place and be happy.”
Ray Shasho:  Joe, it’s always fun and a real pleasure to chat with you, I feel like your family, and congratulations on being an inductee into the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame’ Class of 2015!
Joe Bonsall: “Ray, it’s always an honor and a thrill to talk to you man, you’re a good dude!”

Purchase the Oak Ridge Boys latest release …
‘Rock of Ages, Hymns and Gospel Favorites ’at
1. In The Sweet By And By
2. Rock Of Ages
3. Sweet Jesus (The Oak Ridge Boys, Merle Haggard)
4. Angel Band
5. There Is Power In The Blood
6. In The Garden
7. Hold To Gods Unchanging Hand
8. I Love To Tell The Story
9. Life s Railway To Heaven
10. Time Has Made A Change In Me
11. Blessed Assurance
12. Father I Stretch My Hands To Thee
13. Farther Along
14. Just A Little Talk With Jesus
15. Peace Within (The Oak Ridge Boys, The Isaacs)

Purchase Joe Bonsall’s latest novel entitled …
 Very Special Thanks to Sanford Brokaw of the Brokaw Company

COMING UP NEXT … An interview with guitar legend/singer/producer … DAVE EDMUNDS (Rockpile) ("I Hear You Knocking")
and longtime KISS guitarist/singer/songwriter … 
BRUCE KULICK (Grand Funk Railroad)

Contact music journalist/author
 Ray Shasho at

PURCHASE Ray Shasho’s latest novel Wacky Shenanigans on F Street –Proud to be Politically Incorrect in Washington D.C. -available at or  
Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he may continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
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Ray’s important & exciting new book series …
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mary Sarah Country Music’s Shining New Star Duets with The Legends on New CD -Interview

                                     NEW COUNTRY MUSIC ARTIST

By Ray Shasho

-Interviewed on July 15th 2014

Country Music’s talented, young, and beautiful new star is nineteen year old Mary Sarah. Her latest CD would surely appease the aspirations of any artist, to perform with an incredible lineup of music legends. It’s a page right out of a storybook that began with a tweet from Joe Bonsall and an invite to perform with The Oak Ridge Boys onstage at the Opera House in Galveston, Texas. Four years later… Mary Sarah and Cleopatra Records release the critically acclaimed…Mary Sarah and Friends ‘BRIDGES’ CD -featuring Dolly PartonWillie NelsonRay Price,Merle Haggard, Lynn AndersonTanya Tucker, The Oak Ridge BoysVince GillRonnie MilsapNeil Sedaka & many more. Mary Sarah performed duets with all the performers including the late Ray Price. The album was officially released on July 8th and available to purchase at

MARY SARAH: began performing in church at the age of eight. Mary’s hometown is Richmond, Texas. She later appeared at various Opry Theatres, Town Squares, charity fund raisers, and radio stations. At twelve years old she toured the U.S. for six months as a featured lead vocalist and dancer with Kidz Bop, a brand of compilation albums spotlighting kids performing popular hits from the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The Kidz Bop tour was an 18- song concert produced by Razor & Tie Records and Vee Corporation.    

In 2011, Mary hosted a four part series called “Opry on the Square- Country Now and Then”in Sugarland Town Square.

Mary Sarah also became a seasoned veteran at singing National Anthems, over fifty to be exact, so it was no surprise when she became the winner of a vote-in contest that led her to sing theNational Anthem at a Houston Texans/Carolina Panthers football game in front of over 70,000 people.

‘BRIDGES’ is an exciting new CD that delivers the true spirit of country music. Mary Sarah’s duets are captivating & inspiring … there’s definitely a new rising star in the world of country music! I gave ‘BRIDGES’ (5) Stars!
Track listings:  -Mary Sarah and Friends ‘BRIDGES’
1) “Jolene” (feat. Dolly Parton), 2) “Crazy” (feat. Willie Nelson), 3) “Fightin’ Side of Me” (feat. Merle Haggard), 4) “Heartaches By The Number” (feat. Ray Price), 5) “Go Rest High On That Mountain” (feat. Vince Gill), 6) “Dream On” (feat. The Oak Ridge Boys), 7) “Texas, When I Die”(feat. Tanya Tucker), 8) “Rose Garden” (feat. Lynn Anderson), 9) “What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life” (feat. Ronnie Milsap), 10) “Where The Boys Are” (feat. Neil Sedaka)
Bonus Cuts: 11) “My Great Escape” (feat. John Rich and Big Kenny), 12) “All I Wanna Do Is Sing My Song” (feat. Freddy Powers), 13) “I’m Sorry”

Back in July, I had the warm opportunity to chat with Mary Sarah about… The new ‘Bridges’ CD … Singing with music legends … Mary’s relationship with The Oak Ridge Boys …Singing the National Anthem…The future… My infamous ‘Field of Dreams’ question … and much-much more!
Here’s my interview with the sensational young country singer & songwriter

Ray Shasho:  Hello Mary thank you for being on the call today, I’m calling you only minutes away from beautiful Siesta Beach in Sarasota today.
Mary Sarah: “Oh my God, I am so jealous. I’m about twenty five minutes outside of Nashville in Franklin.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with Joe Bonsall awhile back, he’s such a great guy. I understand that The Oak Ridge Boys performed on your new CD entitled ‘Bridges’? 
Mary Sarah: “I love Joe Bonsall he’s like family to me now. Kind of a funny story, it was actually about four years ago before the ‘Bridges’ project that they tweeted me. I don’t know from where Joe tweeted me but he said I know you live in Houston and we’re going to be playing in Galveston at the Opera House and we would like you and your family to come along. At first, I had no idea that the Oak Ridge Boys even tweeted, so I thought, is this real? (All laughing) He had watched my You Tube video. So we made a trip to come down, and I watched rehearsals and then we all went to dinner. At dinner I remember Joe looking at me and he said can you really sing a cappella? I had sung “Where the Boys Are” by Connie Francis and had done a cappella several times, so it was like my go to song. At dinner I told him that I would stand up and sing for him, which I thought was very funny. He looked at me and said, no-no-no, I mean; I want you to sing at the show tonight. (All laughing)”

“At that time I was fifteen years old and kind of freaking out that The Oak Ridge Boys wanted me to sing at their sold-out show in Galveston while not even hearing me sing live in front of them? So it was absolutely amazing and really cool for them to do. I give a lot of credit to them and especially to this project. We sent me singing “Where the Boys Are” on that stage to pretty much every artist, which was very cool.”
Ray Shasho: This all must be one huge wonderful blur for you?
Mary Sarah: “Now that the CD is released it really is. It’s exciting because we all worked so hard on it and to finally show it to the world and get their opinions on it is just unbelievable.”
Ray Shasho: I know the Oak Ridge Boys are a favorite of yours, who else did you especially connect with in the studio while working on the CD?
Mary Sarah: “I have to say all of them because they were all absolutely amazing and especially because they did all this on a handshake, which is crazy. I would probably say if I had to pick … Ray Price. It was a very special experience and especially in the studio with him that day. I was fifteen too, so it was a couple of months after I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys. “Heartaches by the Number” was one of my favorite songs to sing at the Opera in Texas and immediately when Ray got on the CD I said we’re totally doing “Heartaches by the Number” and I hoped he’d say yes because that’s my favorite-favorite song. And so to get to stand in the studio and hear him sing it live was like none other and just a magical experience. I remember I was very nervous and when he walked into the studio that day, I think everybody was nervous, but there was something about him that calmed the whole room.”

“Another one is Dolly Parton who was the first one to get on the project. I’m standing in one room and I know she’s in the other room and I’m just freaking out. I’m thinking to myself… what do I say to Dolly Parton? I just remember being so nervous and I couldn’t think of anything. So I’m walking down this hall to go into the room and I see her through the window door and I feel like my heart dropped down into my stomach. So I walked in and she said, “You must be Mary Sarah?” And I was like well you must be Dolly Parton? After the whole experience I talked with my mom and asked her, did I say anything that embarrassed me? I don’t think I remembered exactly what I said to her. All my experiences with those legends were so amazing.”
Ray Shasho:  Another country artist I’d like to interview is Reba McEntire, I think she’s so cool.
Mary Sarah: “Oh My Gosh, my Brother is a huge Reba fan, he says if I ever meet her I’m just going to get down on one knee and marry her. (All laughing) Yea, we listen to Reba a lot.”
Ray Shasho:  Mary, you made your first splash on the music scene in Kidz Bop? 
Mary Sarah: “Yes, I was twelve years old and on tour for about six months across the east coast and Midwest and was one of the craziest experiences of my life, because at twelve years old I never expected to be on tour. The coolest thing about Kidz Bop was when I was in a theater; I think it was the Fox Theatre in Detroit, and we were in the basement area and there were signatures all over the walls, and I remember seeing Patsy Cline’s signature on the wall, which for over a year I had been singing Patsy’s songs and really looked up to her as an idol. The funny thing was, all the other kids my age didn’t know who Patsy Cline was. So I was freaking out by the fact that Patsy Cline’s signature was on the wall while the other kids were asking me why are you freaking out? (All laughing) It was just a great feeling that day, seeing her signature on the wall and then knowing I was going to sing onstage where she sang.”

“So I go out to sing and we each had a solo. After I began singing my solo everyone in the audience began singing along with me and it sounded like a choir of angels, and for me it was an overwhelming feeling of joy. I remember coming offstage and saying to my mom… I don’t know what happened but I’m going to do this for the rest of my life. My mom was probably thinking, oh My Gosh; she’s only twelve years old and already knows what she wants to do for the rest of her life … (All laughing) okay let’s see how this goes. So it was really a big moment for me and ever since then I’ve been working hard at it.”
Ray Shasho: What song did you sing onstage?
Mary Sarah: “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects. I had the bridge part of it where it sort of breaks down, and you can find that on You Tube.”
Ray Shasho: Was ‘Crazy Good’ actually your debut album?
Mary Sarah:  “I really wanted to explore my own sound and try my hand in writing, and so that was kind of an experimental album to try and figure out who I was at fourteen years old. So I would say it was kind of a debut album and at the same time just an album I did to figure out who I was. Starting the writing process and things like that.”
Ray Shasho: It’s a really good album and I especially enjoyed the title track “Crazy Good,” just an awesome tune.
Mary Sarah: “Thank you! You know what’s funny is a couple years after releasing it; I never thought people would go back and listen to it. People would say I love your song “Crazy Good,” so it’s really cool that people really like it.”
Ray Shasho: Are you musically committed to a Country Music route or will you be experimenting with other genres?
Mary Sarah: “I love Country Music and I’ve sang in the Texas Opry for years. A big part of me is traditional Country Music … so yes, I am sticking with Country Music.”
Ray Shasho: Mary what are some of your favorite TV shows.
Mary Sarah: “One of my favorite TV shows is ‘Bones’ … that and ‘New Girl.’
Ray Shasho:  Here’s a question that all the young guys out there are going to want to know about you … Do you have a boyfriend?
Mary Sarah: “I do have a boyfriend and it’s actually a long-distance relationship. Originally he lived in Kansas City, Kansas, he goes to Southeast Missouri State University for football now, and he’s an outside linebacker. We met through my cousin who lives in Kansas City; they went to the same school.”
Ray Shasho: Are you in college or considering attending college soon?
Mary Sarah:  “No, I’m actually not in college at this time. I kind of consider what I am doing is my college because I feel like I’ve learned just as much as a college student and getting to live it at the same time. So I really feel like I am in college.”
Ray Shasho:   There was controversy surrounding the Houston Texans when you sang the National Anthem at NRG Stadium … Carolina Panther Jeremy Shockey was upset that the Houston Texans players were not respecting your rendition of the anthem?
Mary Sarah:  “I sang the National Anthem for the Texans game and I was very surprised to see that happen. I went out there to sing it and to hear everything that happened afterwards was like …what the heck? So it was pretty crazy. When I walked out to sing the anthem I walked along the sidelines and there was a huge speaker playing music to 70,000 people, so it was extremely loud. I walked right past it and it literally blasted my ears. When I went out to sing the anthem I actually sang it a whole step higher than I usually do. I think it was the best National Anthem that I ever did but probably would not do it again because it was very nerve-wracking.”
Ray Shasho: I think the National Anthem is a difficult song to sing, especially in front of 70,000 people. What were the acoustics like while singing it … was there an echo?
Mary Sarah: “I have done a ton of National Anthems, so when I got to the Texans, I had done at least fifty National Anthems before that, so I’m kind of used to the bouncing back and things like that, but the Texans had the roof closed so it really made the sound bounce around a lot. It was a little funky but I’ve had worst I think. I did the Bristol Motor Speedway and that was a little funky because the speakers were way-way up in the air.”
Ray Shasho: Mary do you continue to write music?
Mary Sarah: “I do … I’m working on some new stuff. Now that we have the CD released and it’s out there, it’s time to work on the newer stuff. I’m excited about finding a great producer to work with, and I’m writing a lot while hoping to get some really great songs on the next project.”
Ray Shasho: I am essentially a classic rock music journalist … do you also enjoy the occasional rock song?
Mary Sarah: “I’m a big fan of Journey. My dad introduced me to Journey and ever since we’ve gone to so many of their concerts. Of course my anthem song is “Don’t Stop Believin’” just like everybody else’s, but I love all of their songs.”
Ray Shasho:  Freddy Powers had quite an influence on your career? 
Mary Sarah: “Freddy and I were introduced about four years ago and he is the executive producer on the new CD.  I give him a ton of credit on this because he really took a leap of faith with me. We actually had Dolly Parton first and Freddy came on right after Dolly and said that I really want to help you out with this project. So he brought Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, and Merle Haggard to the CD and really used a lot of his relationships to make this happen. He’s actually in stage 4 Parkinson’s, so it’s kind of his last project to do. I would say I’m the lucky singer that got to do it. He and his wife Catherine have been a blessing in my life.”
Ray Shasho: You’ll be doing some dates with Merle Haggard?
Mary Sarah: I’m pretty sure I’ll be opening up especially in La Grange, Texas and getting to sing our song together. We’re still figuring out additional dates on the schedule.
Ray Shasho: Mary, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview. If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish like the movie, to sing or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Mary Sarah: “Oh My Gosh! I think Patsy Cline. I read up on all the things she used to do and how spunky she was, so it would be really cool to meet and talk with her. She said a lot of the things she did was to just kind of go with the flow. That would be someone from the past. Someone in the present would be Eric Church… I’m a big fan of his. It would be really cool to collaborate with him.”
Ray Shasho: I understand that you are an advocate for Juvenile Diabetes?
Mary Sarah: “Yes, my brother was actually born at one pound and a half and had several surgeries. By the time he was fourteen, he developed type 1 diabetes and ended up having a liver transplant. He’s actually twenty five now and doing very-very well. We’re always doing walks for ‘JDRF’ and anything we can do to support it. Another foundation that I am currently working with is ‘Caiden’s Hope,’ which they are an organization who supports families who have babies in the NICU. My mom actually raised my brother who was in an NICU for six months. So she went through a lot of that struggle. It’s an amazing organization.”
Ray Shasho:  Mary, anything else you’d like to promote or say?
Mary Sarah: “I wanted to thank ‘Cleopatra Records’ because they were the ones who distributed the ‘Bridges’ project.”
Ray Shasho: Mary, thank you for being on the call today … you are unquestionably Country Music’s shining new star, an incredible singer, a beautiful girl, and a marvelous personality to boot. We’ll all be looking for great and wonderful developments to take place during your musical career.
Mary Sarah: “Thank you so much for interviewing me today … I had a blast!”

Purchase Mary Sarah’s latest CD released on Cleopatra Records entitled ‘BRIDGES’ featuring appearances by The Oak Ridge BoysDolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Lynn Anderson, Tanya Tucker, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, Neil Sedaka and more. BRIDGES’ is an exciting new CD that delivers the true spirit of country music. Mary Sarah’s duets are captivating & inspiring … there’s definitely a new rising star in the world of country music!
Track listings:
1) “Jolene” (feat. Dolly Parton), 2) “Crazy” (feat. Willie Nelson), 3) “Fightin’ Side of Me” (feat. Merle Haggard), 4) “Heartaches By The Number” (feat. Ray Price), 5) “Go Rest High On That Mountain” (feat. Vince Gill), 6) “Dream On” (feat. The Oak Ridge Boys), 7) “Texas, When I Die”(feat. Tanya Tucker), 8) “Rose Garden” (feat. Lynn Anderson), 9) “What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life” (feat. Ronnie Milsap), 10) “Where The Boys Are” (feat. Neil Sedaka)
Bonus Cuts: 11) “My Great Escape” (feat. John Rich and Big Kenny), 12) “All I Wanna Do Is Sing My Song” (feat. Freddy Powers), 13) “I’m Sorry”

Caiden’s Hope Foundation visit the site at ...

Very special thanks to ‘the great’ Billy James of Glass Onyon PR

COMING UP NEXT … Don Wilson guitarist, pioneer, and co-founder of ‘The Ventures’ … and Folk/Rock singer & songwriter Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine”).

Contact music journalist Ray Shasho at

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or   - Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
 “Check the Gs is just a really cool story ... and it’s real. I’d like to see the kid on the front cover telling his story in a motion picture, TV sitcom or animated series. The characters in the story definitely jump out of the book and come to life. Very funny and scary moments throughout the story and I just love the way Ray timeline’s historical events during his lifetime. Ray’s love of rock music was evident throughout the book and it generates extra enthusiasm when I read his on-line classic rock music column. It’s a wonderful read for everyone!”    …   

Ray’s exciting new book project entitled...‘SAVING ROCK AND ROLL’
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