Llano Opry welcomes recording artist Ray Price this Saturday

The Llano Country Opry and the Llano Chamber of Commerce are presenting “An Evening With Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys” at the Llano High School Auditorium. The show will be held on Saturday, March 8 as part of the monthly Llano Country Opry show. He was born Ray Noble Price on Jan. 12, 1926 near Perryville. In his boyhood days, he worked on his family’s farm in Cherokee County. Like most young East Texas farmboys, he grew up with a steady listening diet of Jimmie Rodgers and Ernest Tubb. As a teenager, he later relocated to the Dallas area. Prior to World War II he was studying veterinary medicine at North Texas Agricultural College (later to become The University of Texas at Arlington). Shortly thereafter, he joined the Marines and served in the Pacific. In 1948, Price made his radio debut on the Hillbilly Circus show on Abilene station KRBC. Soon “The Cherokee Cowboy” became more interested in music than medicine, landing a job on Dallas’ Big D Jamboree, which was broadcast over the CBS Radio Network. In 1949, Price recorded his first record, “Jealous Lies”, with Nashville’s Bullet label. In 1951 he was signed by Columbia Records. After moving to Nashville he became a friend of Hank Williams, who helped him get on the Grand Ole Opry. Price’s first hit came with “Talk To Your Heart”, which hit number 11 on the billboard charts in July 1952. Later that year “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” reached number four, and in February 1954, “I’ll Be There” made it to number two. That same year he formed a new band “The Cherokee Cowboys” from the remnants of Hank Williams’ “Drifting Cowboys,” a band that included at various times in Ray’s career, Buddy Emmons, Roger Miller, Johnny Bush, Darrell McCall, Johnny Paycheck and Willie Nelson. In 1956, Price had his first number one record with “Crazy Arms”, which was on the charts for 45 weeks followed by the number three hit “I’ve Got a Brand New Heartache”. Elvis then arrived on the charts and a lot of country artists tried to hold their audiences by performing rockabilly music. However, Price refused to compromise his style and he hit number one again in 1958 with “City Lights”. As a result of his versatile vocal style and his strong individualism, Price began performing songs of the country-pop style, which he so vigorously rejected in the late fifties. Having recorded an album of sacred songs (the Faith album in 1960) and “Make the World Go Away” in 1963, which hit number two, he began to feature string sections in his music. He completed his crossover with “Burning Memories” in 1964 and “Danny Boy” in 1967. Price stayed his course and had a number one country hit with “For The Good Times”, which also reach number 11 on the pop chart. In 1971, he had two more crossover hits with “I Won’t Mention It Again”, and “I’d Rather Be Sorry”. He continued his success with such hits as “The Lonesomest Lonesome” and “She’s Got To Be A Saint” in 1972 and “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” in 1973. In 1980, Ray Price’s old friend and songwriter, Willie Nelson, came to the rescue. He helped assemble a band that had the old Cherokee Cowboys’ style and recorded the album San Antonio Rose. This album featured the vocal talents of both Nelson and Price and hit number three in Billboard’s country charts. In 1996, the country music community honored Price with its highest honor by his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Price has just released a new album titled “Time” and his first single “You Just Don’t Love Me Anymore” is receiving rave reviews from both radio and newspapers across the country. “We are so delighted to present Ray Price and his Cherokee Cowboys at the Llano Country Opry,” said emcee Tracy Pitcox. “Ray is one of the greatest legends in the business and tickets sales are already incredible. We are looking forward to a wonderful show.” Other entertainers on the show include Justin Trevino, The Crow Kids, Mark Lee and Frank Torres. The Llano Country Opry Band will be comprised of Justin Trevino on bass, Levi Mullen on lead guitar, Don Raby on fiddle, Benny Fred Kothmann on steel guitar, Melanie Tacker on drums and Mary Mensch on keyboards. Tickets are $20 each and are available at the Llano Chamber, Llano National Bank, Schooley Saddlery or by calling (915) 247-5354. For a complete look of upcoming Llano Country and Mason Country Opry events, log on to: www.hill-billyhits.com.

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