When Michael Ray was a budding artist just learning to play the guitar, he looked up to the skills of country music singer-songwriter, Gary Allan.
Ray has shown his great appreciation and admiration for Allan countless times throughout his career. He previously took to social media to share his excitement and gratitude for his song, “Whiskey And Rain” becoming his multi-week No. 1 hit. In his post, Ray gave a shoutout to Allan, quoting his song “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” and crediting him for inspiring the recording of his latest hit.
“Y’all I gotta be real. It’s been an emotional one today,” the singer wrote on Instagram at the time. “Back when we were recording this song, I would think about all the things I always loved about @garyallanmusic and the way his music spoke to me and my life growing up in Eustis. I hope this song has been there for you on lonely nights when you’ve needed it, just like Gary always has been for me. One of my favorites of his goes, ‘life ain’t always beautiful… but it’s a beautiful ride.’ Thank y’all for this beautiful ride!!! Thank y’all for loving this song!!! We ain’t slowing down!!! 🥃🌧”
When speaking with Country Now and other reporters at his recent No.1 party, Ray explained that he has had the chance to get to know Allan on a personal level, but the two have yet to collaborate in the studio together. The Florida native revealed that he would “love” to produce something with Allan one day.
“That’s probably a bucket list for me. And Gary has been so nice, and his whole family has been so cool, with me early on and he told me one time – I said ‘man, you know, your songs… I think you’re the reason I love sad country songs. You’re why I cut sad country songs,’ and he goes ‘shit man, I’m sorry. Get ready ’cause they’re a little harder to work’ and I go ‘yeah, but they last a whole lot longer than a lot.’ I think he’s one of the best.”
Michael Ray didn’t grow up listening to Allan, but instead, he found the sad country music at a time when he was just starting to become more familiar with the music of his generation. It just so happens that Allan was the artist who gave him a whole new outlook on the industry. Ever since Ray made this discovery, Allan has been a constant inspiration in his career.
“For me, he was a guy that really connected that Bakersfield side with my generation. He really tied in that Dwight, Buck, Haggard, with this edge of surfer, rocker dude who just did his thing. And as I’m growing as an artist, I look at artists like him and I go ‘that’s why I’ve loved you, you know? ‘Cause you’ve always done your thing.’ Things will come and go but Gary Allan just keeps rocking and I respect the hell out of him. He’s just a cool guy.”
Although Gary Allan wasn’t featured on Michael Ray’s latest project, Ray’s strong feelings indicate there is potential for a collaboration between the two artists one day.