SOURCE: UMG Nashville Pressroom
Ten years following the release of the critically-acclaimed Bakersfield album, country music icon Vince Gill and legendary musician Paul Franklin, have joined forces again for their latest project, Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys. The 11-track album is set for release on August 4, 2023 on MCA Nashville and pre-orders for the much-anticipated project launch today.
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Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys contains material that might be surprising to even the most die-hard of Price’s fans. Gill explains, “When we originally started thinking about doing this record, we were going to do half and half, focusing on two different artists like we did with Bakersfield, recording songs of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. But we got to liking so many of Ray’s songs, that it became ‘Let’s do all Ray’ and ‘Well, Okay!””
Franklin adds, “We had such a great time doing Bakersfield. It felt good introducing that music to a new generation. This time, it was a no-brainer to pick Ray Price. Once we locked in on Ray, we started looking through the sheer volume of his material. We looked for obscure songs, ones even Ray’s fans might not know as well.”
“We kind of shopped for the unfamiliar,” Gill continues. “Eddie Stubbs [the former Grand Ole Opry announcer, WSM disc jockey and music scholar] was part of this process, although he didn’t know it at the time. I’d listen to him at night and call him up and say, ‘Play something for me I’ve never heard before.’ He’d often play something that knocked me out, and I’d take note of all the songs. I had maybe 30 different ones for Paul to listen to—some so outside the box that I didn’t know them, and Paul didn’t either.”
In addition to choosing material that was less than predictable, as co-producers of Sweet Memories, Gill and Franklin approached the recording from a different angle as well.
Gill explains, “This isn’t a sound-alike record. I never wanted to do that. I don’t think any of these songs sound comparable to the original.”
The final component was their take on the musicians, from the original The Cherokee Cowboys band to the stellar lineup of players contributing to Sweet Memories.
Gill acknowledges, “There were some unbelievably gifted musicians who were such a part of those original records. We were drawn to them probably as much as we were drawn to Ray.”
The musicians contributing to Sweet Memories include: Tom Bukovac (electric guitar), Dennis Crouch (bass), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Steve Gibson (electric guitar), John Jarvis (piano), Greg Morrow (drums), Wendy Moten (harmony vocals), the late Michael Rhodes (electric bass), Jerry Roe (drums), Derek Wells (electric guitar), and Andrea Zonn (harmony vocals).
“I’m excited this music is getting out there in a way we feel brings new life and new ideas to it,” Franklin notes. “And hopefully will expose a younger generation to Ray’s music.”