Michael Ray's reasons for choosing "Holy Water" as his new single have a lot to do with his family history.
Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson and Michael Hardy wrote the song, which tells the story of illegal moonshine runners operating out of a Florida church. Ray grew up in the Sunshine State and said he's heard stories about his family running moonshine "back in the day."
"It's kind of an 'Ol' Red' story song type of thing," Ray said. "It just really connected, my family's story and this song and just everything about it."
Ray fell in love with "Holy Water" the first time he heard it because of the song's "swampy slide" and "southern rock feel."
"Holy Water" follows a preacher who toes the Christian line on Sunday morning but stores the moonshine he plans to sell in the church's cellar. Some church members saw him in the parking lot in the middle of the night and waited for him to leave to go in search of contraband.
The deacons confronted him, and they worked out a deal.
Ray recently shot a video for the song, and he's excited for fans to see it "come to life."
"It's been a while since there's been that story type of song out," Ray said. "I'm excited for it because I think that will bring people back to a time where things might be a little calmer and a little smoother, and they'll be able to crank it up."
"Holy Water" is the follow-up single to Ray's recent multi-week No. 1 hit "Whiskey and Rain." Both songs are from his current EP, "Higher Education." "Whiskey and Rain" was recently certified Gold, indicating the equivalent of 500,000 copies sold, by the RIAA, and it has garnered more than 120 million on-demand streams in the US.
"This is incredible," Ray said in a statement. "I knew this song was something special, but I never dreamed it would be this impactful."