RAY HERNDON, was born into musical heritage. Although residing in Nashville Tennessee for the last 10 plus years, he remains an Arizona man. His late father "Brick" played stand-up bass, drums and guitar. Ray's two older brothers Rick and Ron play drums and piano, (respectively), with the nurturing support of their mother Gwen.
Along side his musical family at their popular restaurant and night spot "Handlebar J" in Scottsdale Arizona, Ray had gained the experience, expertise and discipline a skilled musician needs. Word of his talent spread to "Mr. Lucky's", a nationally known night club in Phoenix, where in 1982 he became a member of the house band "J. David Sloan and The Rogues", who had gained local, national and international acclaim. In 1983, on a trip to Europe, "The Rogues" connected with then unknown Lyle Lovett.
Billy Williams, (respected producer in Phoenix, and also a "Rogue") recorded Lovett's first album, using the talented members of "The Rogues", which included Ray on guitar and backing vocals. Ray has remained a player on most of Lovett's recordings, as well as a member of Lovett's road bands. In 1989 "McBride and The Ride" was formed by then MCA records president Tony Brown. Brown had met Herndon through the Lovett projects, and asked him to be in the band for his label. Herndon accepted the offer and McBride and The Ride went on to record three albums and seven top ten singles in the early 90's including a number one song "Sacred Ground".
Despite their success, "The Ride" took a seven-year break, then reunited at Handlebar J's 25th anniversary party in 2001. A new record followed in 2002, "Amarillo Sky" on Dual Tone records, co-produced and performed by its members along with friend and piano ace Matt Rollings.
In 1996, "Me and You", a song Ray co-wrote with Skip Ewing, became a signature song for Kenny Chesney, and has been nationally awarded.
As a songwriter, Ray's songs have been recorded by other artists including McBride and The Ride, Lee Greenwood, Sonya Issacsand Aaron Tippin.
Ray says, " Songwriting is such a high for me. To be able to write a song and see it through to becoming a record is like having a child and watching him grow into an adult.
"Herndon has played on the Grammy Awards with Lyle Lovett, has been nominated for best group of the year on the CMA and ACM awards with McBride and the Ride, played and sang on chart topping records, written songs recorded by other artists, and even rode on a float in Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, which he says was always a dream of his as a child.
"God gave me these incredible opportunities with other artists, and now I'm stepping out as a solo artist".
Ray's debut CD entitled "Livin' the Dream" is released on Rayman Records. Herndon co-produced with long time friend Matt Rollings on "Livin' the Dream". "Matt and I had such a blast making this record together. He's one of my musical heroes, and this project was a great experience and a labor of love."
The record also features guest artists including Lyle Lovett, Clint Black, Sonya Issacs and Jessi Colter. "Matt and I wanted to include artists on the record that we had both worked with and had become close to musically over the years Herndon remarked. "They were all so gracious to join me on several different tracks".
The new CD is filled with an array of heart-felt music from the fun "My Dog Thinks I'm Elvis", to the more sensitive like Kris Kristofferson's classic "Lovin Her Was Easier".
(Check out Ray's new video now playing on GAC.
Go to: wwwcountrystars.com for exact video times.)
Herndon concludes, "This is an exciting time for me, there's nothing I love more than playing for people who appreciate good quality music and musicianship. It's what my life is and has always been about."