My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Spotlight Artist: Collin Raye

Collin+RayeOur March spotlight artist is well known to anyone who was listening to country radio during the 1990s. Between 1991 and 1998 Collin Raye released five albums — four platinum and one gold — and scored 21 Top 10 hits, four of which reached #1. He was born Floyd Elliott Wray in De Queen, Arkansas on August 22, 1960. In the early 1980s he formed a duo with his brother Scott. Known as The Wray Brothers, they released a pair of singles on an independent label, which led to a brief stint with Mercury Records. When their singles failed to gain any traction with country radio, The Wrays were cut loose by Mercury and disbanded shortly thereafter. Floyd, also known as Bubba Wray, began a solo career shortly thereafer. Rechristened Collin Raye, he signed with Epic Records in 1990 and entered the charts with a cover version of an old Conway Twitty album cut called “All I Can Be (Is A Sweet Memory)”, which reached #29.

Following the success of “All I Can Be”, Raye released a ballad written by Skip Ewing and Max T. Barnes which would become his signature hit and the first of his four chart-toppers. “Love, Me” told the story of a young boy who visits a church and learns about his grandparents’ courtship on the day of his grandmother’s death. Most of Raye’s subsequent work was less rooted in traditional country; he became known primarily for his ballads, which often addressed social issues such as alcoholism, interracial relationships and child abuse.

Raye remained a staple at country radio throughout the decade, scoring his final Top 10 hit with 2000’s “Couldn’t Last A Moment”. His stint with Epic ended in 2001, and he took a four-year break from the recording studio before releasing Twenty Years And Change on an independent label. His most recent efforts include Never Going Back, a 2009 release for Saguaro Road Records, and the inspirational album His Love Remains, which was released in 2011.

Unlike many of his 90s contemporaries, Collin Raye was never a traditional artist, but his style of country-pop ballads are remembered fondly and among the things that many listeners of today’s country radio miss. We hope you’ll enjoy our look back at the career of this five-time Male Vocalist of the Year nominee.

8 responses to “Spotlight Artist: Collin Raye

  1. Occasional Hope March 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I wasn’t aware of his prior attempt at a career with his brothers. Some of their singles are on youtube, and they’ve dated quite badly.

  2. Paul W Dennis March 2, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Collin Raye was an excellent balladeer and even though his music was on the pop-country side of the ledger, it still felt country, unlike a lot of the current product

    I disagree about the music of the Wrays dating badly – it was clearly not very country but it was decent music – vocally well performed

    • Razor X March 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      I just listened to some of The Wrays’ songs on YouTube. I agree with Paul; it’s not very country and not even what I’d call great but I’ve heard much worse.

  3. Leeann Ward March 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    His brother is now Miranda Lambert’s guitar player and writes songs with her sometimes. I enjoy Collin ray’s nineties music, even though it surely could be too sappy at times. The way he hit his higher notes has been fascinating to me.

  4. Ben Foster March 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    My familiarity with Collin Raye’s music unfortunately does not currently extend beyond his radio hits, but that alone has been enough to gain my respect. I very much agree with Paul that, while his music was not traditional country, it always felt country – as opposed to pop records being passed off as country, which is all too often the case with today’s country music.

    I look forward to this month’s coverage, and would hardly be surprised if I were to end up purchasing a few more Collin Raye albums by the time April arrives.

  5. luckyoldsun March 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

    A month of reliving the music of Collin Raye. I can’t wait. My masochism quotient is in overdrive.

  6. Jordan Stacey March 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I have a few of his albums and while he’s no where near my favorite he has some great songs in his catalouge. I’m interested to read up on the albums I don’t have as well as see if my favorite songs from him get a mention.

  7. Michael A. March 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I actually owned his first four albums on cassette (!), but I don’t really revisit his music very often. It’s a little to saccharine for my taste. His outspoken political views in recent years have also been a turn off. Still, I’m sure this month will provide some reminders of the reasons why I liked some of his music in the first place. I read about his upcoming tribute album to Glen Campbell this morning and I’m intrigued. It doesn’t sound like it will be out in time to review it as part of this month’s coverage, however.

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