Grammy Winner Ray Stevens to Release Career Memoir RAY STEVENS' NASHVILLE, 6/22
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Fifty-two years ago when Harold Ray Ragsdale made his way to Nashville, Tennessee, the city looked quite different. "There were no skyscrapers, no bustling sidewalks or jammed intersections and there were no naked statues at Demonbreun and Division streets," he recalls. "But there was music." It was music that drew Ragsdale to Nashville and it was music that transformed him into the internationally recognized Country and Comedy musical genius known today only as RAY STEVENS.
On Sunday, June 22, 2014, Stevens will release RAY STEVENS' NASHVILLE (Father & Son Publishing Inc.) a historical and educational memoir detailing the music legend's career, beginning with humble upbringings in Clarkdale, Georgia and his journey to Music City, USA where he would find worldwide success and become one of the original pioneers of Music Row.
"Nashville has been my home for over 50 years," notes Stevens. "When I first came to this city, Music Row was not fully developed and the music business was mostly in the downtown area. There was no 'Nashville Sound,' no major league teams or interstate highways and no Opryland. The recording studios and publishing offices were scattered around town. It was very different then but still today, it feels like home to me."
Cyrus "Buddy" Kalb, the book's co-writer and Stevens' longtime business associate notes, "People are always asking me, 'Do you manage Ray Stevens?' My answer is, 'No... Ray is completely unmanageable!' But I am honored to have helped him write his career memoir. Ray Stevens' Nashville contains no shocking revelations about drug addictions or sordid affairs. It's simply a historical documentation of an all-American kid from a Georgia mill town who became a member of the inner circle of musicians on Music Row who helped produce the world-famous 'Nashville Sound.'"
The memoir takes the reader through Stevens' early days in Georgia and Nashville and recounts key moments of his career including meeting and forming a lifelong friendship with Chet Atkins, producing the legendary Dolly Parton, recording with Waylon Jennings and a "dream-come-true" moment when he was recruited to play on sessions with "The King" himself, Elvis Presley.
The book documents Stevens' record deals with many major Nashville labels where he recorded some of his biggest career songs including, "Mr. Businessman," "Everything Is Beautiful," "Misty," "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" and "The Streak." Stevens also touches on his battle with prostate cancer and reinventing the wheel through means of social media outlets including YouTube, which to date has landed him more than 60 million unique views. The book is chock-full of behind-the-scenes stories of Nashville's music industry and contains a previously unreleased photo collection of the music legend's career.