“Do you like country music?”
Those five little words can be the universal ice breaker, the ultimate conversation starter, and if you’re with Michael Ray, a true bonding experience.
When we caught up with Ray at the recent CMT Music Awards, he said that that’s how he usually finds common ground with people. “I think any time you can connect in a conversation if you’re at a festival, then you already know you like the same music. The music is a common bond,” Ray told us. “The first question is, ’Who’s your favorite artist? What are you drinkin’?’ Get that conversation going because you’re already at a music festival and you’re already around the best people.”
And Ray sure knows how to connect his music side to his romantic side. He and fellow country artist Carly Pearce are engaged to be married — at some point this fall, if our sources are right — and as thrilled as he is to marry Pearce, he is leaving the wedding-planning part of it to her. “I’m so excited for this wedding. (Pearce) and her mom have planned everything at such a fast speed that I was like, ’How have you found the time to plan a wedding so fast that I haven’t even realized that it’s finished?'”
Pearce told The Knot that she wanted to handle the wedding planning with just her mom, instead of outsourcing the event, because that will keep things very personal. “We didn’t want to hire a wedding planner, and really just wanted to do this simple and sweet and very much about the people that love Michael and I as Michael and I,” Pearce said, “and not as artists. It’s going to be a very intimate, very special, small wedding.”
Once the two say “I Do” to each other, and after Ray wraps up his current tour of the fair and fest circuit, he’ll be prepping for his headlining spot on the upcoming CMT on Tour. And he’s ready for it, and for what comes next.
“I do feel like after the CMT tour, you see the trajectory of the next year,” he said, “and you see the artists always have probably one of the best years of their career. I think CMT has a great way of putting a package together that really sets up artists for the next year. I’m so honored to be headlining.
“I’m just excited that they believe in my music enough to let me be a part of it.”
The dates and cities for the CMT on Tour with Ray, Jimmie Allen and sister duo Walker County will be announced soon.