Sussex, England, who was first exposed to country music in France, of all
places. He was sitting in with
an all-GI band, which was playing country staples such as Faron Young's "Hello Walls". Back in his native homeland, he was
influenced by Albert Lee, and actually had a chance to perform live with
him on the country club circuit.
He bounced around from band to band, such as The Diamonds, The
Goodies, The Loving Kind, and Third World War. In 1973, he appeared on the album, Third World War II. He was an erstwhile member of Tiger
on their eponymous LP in 1976. In
1977, he hooked up with The Sutherland Brothers on Down to Earth. He
also supported other artists, such as The Platters, and Mandy Prior, for
whom he played guitar on tour in 1978.
Before the decade was out, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee. In
1981, he joined an all-star cast of musicians on Ricky
sophomore effort, Waitin' for the Sun to Shine. He was also integral to the success
of "Heartbroke" and "Highway 40 Blues", a
pair of #1s from Skaggs'
1982 follow-up, Highways & Heartaches. In 1984, he found himself needed on the
Emmylou Harris/Carl Jackson duet album, I've
Always Needed You. Harris employed
his services on The Ballad of Sally
Rose, released in 1985. Ray
has become a fixture on instructional materials such as books, CDs, and DVDs,
sharing his guitar stylings with would-be
musicians around the world. A
case in point is the 1986 paperback, Off
the Record Solos for Guitar.
In 1987, he appeared on Patty Loveless's
self-titled album and Kathy Mattea's Untasted Honey. He then did a multi-national turn on
the American/Norwegian collaboration, Kjekt a ha, and recorded All Broken Hearts Are the Same with
Robin & Linda Williams, in 1989.
It was time for Ray to strike out on his own
and release a solo album. It
was titled Untitled Island, and
hit the shelves in 1990. In the meantime, his ship had come in as a composer, when Chet
Mark Knopfler recorded his "Tahitian Skies" for
inclusion on their Neck and Neck
album. The Chieftains then
covered it on their 1992 album, Another
Country. Their version won
a Grammy award in the category of Best Pop Vocal/Instrumental. Ray embarked on the "Masters
of the Steel String Tour" in 1993. In 1994, he showcased his mastery of
the steel string on the instructional DVD, Country Telecaster Virtuosity. He accompanied Michael Lille on 1996's
Middle Child. In 1998, he was a member of The Jamie
Hartford Band on their debut, What About
Yes. They followed this up
with Live at the Gibson Cafi. In 1999, he was one of Louie Shelton's Nashville Guitars. He ended the millennium,
appropriately, on Joe Carr's Nashville
Guitar 2000 A.D. In 2001,
he appeared on The Gospel Album
with Vern Gosdin. He released Songs Without Words and made the cut on The Best of You Can't Hear Me Callin'
Bluegrass: 80 Years of American
Music, in 2004. In 2005, he
was one of several artists to inform the instructional book/CD, Red Hot Country Guitar. He released his own DVD tutorial in
Emmanuel included "Tahitian
Skies" in his set, Live at Her
Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat, Australia. In 2008, the landscape was dotted
with more instructional books and videos featuring Ray, including Great Electric Guitar Lessons, Premier Clinic: Country, and The 333 Book: 333 Licks, Tricks and Techniques
Every Guitarist Should Know.
Ray continues to teach master classes in Nashville, Tennessee. His myspace page is listed below.
Ricky Skaggs recordings
Guy Clark )