Michael Ray has released the first installment of his newly announced project titled, the Bootlegger Sessions. His cover of Tracy Lawrence’s 1996 hit, “Time Marches On” serves as a preview for what’s to come in this classic-country-inspired collection.
The stripped-down live recording reaches the core of the nostalgic sounds that Ray replicates with his lavish vocals. While keeping the rich texture alive, he brings his own dignified energy with the acoustic instrumentals that are deeply rooted in the genre.
“The South moves north / North moves south A star is born, a star burns out / The only thing that stays the same is / Everything changes, everything changes,” Ray sings in the chorus.
The day he dropped “Time Marches On,” the Eustis, FL. native took to social media to share his reasoning behind this new project, along with a preview clip of his latest cover.
His caption read, “As long as I’m blessed enough to do what I love and write and sing my music, I plan to do everything I can to honor this genre and all the legends who have come before me. That’s what the #BootleggersSessions are all about to me!”
Lawrence was quick to give Ray’s cover his stamp of approval. “Brother! Sounding great. Let’s hang soon,” he commented.
This project encompasses all the success and inspiration that stems from the beloved country music and artists of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Ray is making a strong effort to ensure the work of the artists before him is not lost in the generations to come. In another post, he dove into why the classic recordings of the music he was raised on mean so much to him at this stage in life.
“What I love most about country music is its storytelling … those honest tales about our lives, loves, heartbreaks and the lessons we take with us,” Ray shares on social media. “I grew up on songs like ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,’ ‘The Chair,’ ‘Time Marches On’ and so many others that have made this genre what it is and continue to inspire the music I make today!!! To put it simply, you just won’t find a bigger country music fan than this guy right here.”
The “Holy Water” singer has yet to announce the release date for the completed Bootlegger Sessions, but he did reveal that he will be gradually dropping covers “for the next several weeks.”
This music follows Ray’s live EP, the Warehouse Sessions, along with his 2021 EP, Higher Education. Among these seven tracks are current single “Holy Water” and no.1 hit on country radio as of January 2022, “Whiskey And Rain”
Michael Ray is currently on the road as a special guest to Lee Brice’s Label Me Proud Tour. Ahead of their next stop in Charlottesville, VA on September 8, Ray will be making a stop in Vienna, MO to play the Maries County Fair on September 1.