The first time I heard the name Michael Ray was through a friend that was a fan. At the time, the only music available on his Spotify page were covers he did of various artists. Youtube had a little more variety, but it wasn’t until the first time I saw him live that I finally “got it”.
Michael came to Tampa, Florida as an opener for Brett Eldredge last April. He did his share of covers, but there was one song he performed that I knew I loved from the infectious beat and lyrics. The only problem was that I had no idea what it was. Fast forward to the day I turned the radio on after leaving work and there was the same infectious beat and lyrics. Kiss You in the Morning was a radio single, and I had myself a title to my new favorite country song.
After seeing Michael in Tampa, Ben and I ran into him on Broadway during our first trip to Nashville. Our flight home was delayed, so we decided to walk the main strip one more time. I spotted a guy in a red hat, joking with Ben that it was Kip Moore (because of the color hat that he was wearing) but when Michael looked up we immediately recognized him. We stopped and chatted about seeing him in Tampa with Brett, snapped a picture, and we were on our way.
Then our trip to Denver, Colorado happened.
We were there for an all employee summit for the company that I work for. Ben and I decided to stay a couple of extra nights, and catch the Alabama show at Red Rocks Amphitheater. We had no idea there was even an opener that night until they announced him to the stage: Michael Ray. By this time, we knew every word to Kiss You in the Morning so we sang along, shouting the lyrics in our tip top seats. Ben and I caught him after the show, and he said he remembered us stopping him on the street in Nashville. Crazy.
This year, Michael performed at Ribfest held in St. Pete, Florida. With a full album under his belt, and with us finally knowing more than one song – we knew it’d be a great show. And we were right. Energy was brought, the crowd loved him. He performed favorites of mine: Everything in Between, Look Like This, and of course KYITM.
Michael’s self-titled album contains those upbeat make-ya-wanna-dance country songs, but he doesn’t forget those true-blue country croons that allow you to appreciate his voice. He does have a good one, after all.
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