Maybe it’s the influences – Willie Nelson, Vern Gosdin, Guy Clark, John Prine … Maybe it’s the fact that somebody has to say something… Maybe it’s just the fact that some people are born to play, sing, and tell stories …But for whatever reason, ten years into a recording career, Ray Stephenson shows no signs of having arrived at his creative apex. Each album expands on his already razor sharp lyrical style and his sweet soulful voice. Wildly literate, utterly artistic, impossibly ambitious, absolutely a slave to his music and painting, the 37-year old south Georgian is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking. He is a world class songwriter, recording artist, an intensely captivating live singer, guitar player, record producer, and virtuoso painter.
As a songwriter; In 2013, Ray was named “CCMA Songwriter of the Year” at the Canadian Country Music Awards. His Song “Leaning on a Lonesome Song” went number one in Canada for 5 weeks and #1 on the European country chart.
In 2011, Ray wrote the title tracks for the albums Red River Blue, and Hemingway's Whiskey, which both reached #1 on the Billboard Album Charts and were certified Platinum. He's been a part of four GRAMMY nominated projects and written songs for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, John Anderson, Guy Clark and many more.
As a recording artist; Ray has released three critically acclaimed albums of his own; Gravity, Gunned Down in Mexico, and Freedom. He has toured with country music legends such as Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney and he regularly tours the United States, The Caribbean, & Europe with his band "The Revival."
"Music and Painting for me are both sides of the same coin," Ray explains. "They both are lyrical, both involve singing, both tell stories, and reach inside and speak to others from what is coming from inside of me."
As a painter; Ray began Rock and Roll Paintings by Ray Stephenson in 2009. "First it was just a hobby but then it took off really quick. "I did all of the art for the new 12th and Porter and Hotel Indigo. Then at one time last year around Christmas I had five exhibits hanging at once. In 2012 Ray became the Official Painter of the Monsters of Rock Tour.
His paintings explore his love of color, texture, music and nature. Influenced by the paintings of Odd Nerdrum, Gustav Klimpt, Rembrandt and Andrew Wyeth, his captivating use of color, light, chiaroscuro and subject matter exhibit a passion for life seldom seen in our inpatient world.
His work is highly sought after by art collectors and is a part of several prestigious private collections. He has exhibited his work in Nashville, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
All the accolades and all the facts are awesome, but they don’t tell the story. Fiercely individual, Ray’s handmade approach to painting and writing and playing music is honed by all miles on the road – sometimes as a man and guitar, sometimes with his band, or sometimes alone in his studio with a paintbrush, but always seeming to make something beautiful out of the humanity that lies before him and almost always leaving more behind him in his wake than was there before he arrived.