Ashley Ray is feeling the presence of her late grandmother, Pauline, in this solo acoustic video, and she hopes that you will, too.
A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Ray lists legendary singer-songwriters like Willie Nelson, Bob Seger and Johnny Cash as primary musical influences, and on Friday she’ll share some of her own stories, too, with the release of a new album, also titled Pauline. (It happens to be Ray’s middle name as well.)
Enjoy this special performance of “Pauline,” then read our interview with Ashley Ray below the player.
What do you remember most about the shoot for this video?
One of my favorite moments about the night we shot the video is stepping outside with Stephanie, one of my managers and label head, and watching a really beautiful sunset come to life behind some thunderclouds. Sunsets always just ground me, and with us both being from Kansas, I think we have the same appreciation for them.
After set change, we went back in to shoot, and when I launched into the first line of the chorus, “I got your name,” a HUGE clap of thunder rumbled through the studio. We all looked at each other wide-eyed. Yeah, Pauline was totally there with us.
How does the video bring your song to life?
This video brings the song to life in a bare bones kind of way. When we set out to record the record we wanted that starkness, that Midwest sort of cinematic feel, the haunting Ozark longing feeling. We knew less was more. Shooting the video stripped down with just me and my guitar, I think takes it one step further in that direction.
What message do you hope your fans take away from the video?
A couple of things I hope my fans can takeaway from the video: one, I hope they get to know my grandmother and can really hear how monumental she’s been in my life and what it means to me to be able to share her name and story, and two, that sometimes less is more. My team really encouraged me to fly solo on this one and play acoustic by myself. I think it drove the song home in a whole new way.
How did it feel to see the finished product for the first time?
When I saw the finished product, I felt proud. I feel proud every time I get to sing about her. It was the first time I saw myself and the emotion I feel when I sing the song. And I chose a dress that she totally would have worn.
Songwriters: Ashley Ray, Sean McConnell; Director: Stereophonic Films