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.
PRE-ORDER ALBUM | HERE
LISTEN TO “KISSING YOUR PICTURE (IS SO COLD)” | HERE
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.”
Track Listing – Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys
- “One More Time”
Written by Mel Tillis
- “I’d Fight The World”
Written by Hank Cochran and Joe Allison
- “You Wouldn’t Know Love”
Written by Hank Cochran and Dave Kirby
- “Walkin’ Slow (And Thinking ‘Bout Her)”
Written by Bobby Bare and Lance Guynes
- “The Same Two Lips”
Written by Marty Robbins
- “Weary Blues From Waitin’”
Written by Hank Williams Sr.
- “Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)”
Written by Mel Tillis, Ray Price and Wayne Walker
- “Sweet Memories”
Written by Mickey Newbury
- “Danny Boy”
Written by Fred E. Weatherly
- “Your Old Love Letters”
Written by Ray Price
- “Healing Hands Of Time”
Written by Willie Nelson
ABOUT VINCE GILL:
One of the most popular artists in modern country music, Vince Gill is famous for his top-notch songwriting, world-class guitar playing and warm, soaring tenor, all wrapped up in a quick and easy wit. Gill achieved his big breakthrough in 1990 with “When I Call Your Name,” which won both the Country Music Association’s (CMA) Single and Song of the Year awards as well as a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male. In total, Gill has won 18 CMA Awards, 22 Grammy Awards, and 8 Academy of Country Music Awards. In 1991, Gill was invited to become a member of The Grand Ole Opry, and in 2007 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2012 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A gifted songwriter, Gill’s compositions earned him entry into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and was awarded the prestigious BMI Icon award in 2014. Throughout his career he has released 20 albums, sold over 30 million albums, and charted 45 singles. Always considering himself a musician above all else, Gill has over the years been a part of some iconic bands including Pure Prairie League, The Notorious Cherry Bombs, and The Time Jumpers. In 2022, Gill was inducted into the Musician’s Hall of Fame. In 2017 Gill was asked to join the Eagles on the road and continues to be a part of that historic band’s tour.
ABOUT PAUL FRANKLIN:
A native of Detroit, Paul Franklin moved to Nashville in 1972. He immediately began touring with some of country’s most legendary artists of the time including Barbara Mandrell, Jerry Reed and Mel Tillis. In the early 80’s, after so many years of being on the road, Franklin decided to take a hiatus from touring to focus primarily on recording session work. He has become one of the most iconic pedal steel players in the world playing behind such legendary artists as Sting, Mark Knopfler, Vince Gill, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Shania Twain, Barbra Streisand and Megadeth. Franklin is a member of the Grammy Award-winning band The Time Jumpers. His ability to create music outside of the country field has taken him well beyond the stereotype by which the pedal steel guitar has often been limited. His soulful playing on this uniquely voiced instrument is clearly from the heart and makes him one of the most in-demand musicians in Nashville. Franklin is currently touring with Chris Stapleton.
Audio / Vince Gill talks about his upcoming project with Paul Franklin, Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys.Download
Vince Gill (Ray Price record) OC: …a soundalike. :42
“With Ray, this Ray record, I knew my job to honor Ray would be much more as a singer. The Ray Price records never had hardly any guitar featured. It was always twin fiddles and steel guitar was predominant on all those records. So, this was a record for me to really focus on the singing and not emulate Ray in the way that he sang but just to honor it and the way that these songs are phrased is way different than the way I would have phrased a Buck Owens song or a Merle Haggard. There’s elements of what they did that I would use but not to the point of where it was a soundalike.”
Audio / Vince Gill talks about the way Ray Price sang, and how he phrased his songs.Download
Vince Gill (Ray Price record) 2 OC: …what people think. :58
“You often think what is it that made Ray Price such a great singer and it’s very simple. It’s the way that he phrased. You say the same thing about Ray Charles. He was a great soulful singer, but nobody phrased like Ray Charles. Jerry Lee Lewis when he would make country records was one of the greatest phrasers. All time Willie has gone on. Everybody goes oh it’s so odd he back phrases. No, he front phrases more than he back phrases. And it’s because he can have that call and response with himself. He can sing and then play, sing and then play. And it makes so much sense when you look at it logically. And so we took off on this record and we thought about doing half and half like we did with Bakersfield but we wound up liking so many songs I said hell, let’s just do all Ray songs on this one. And it made a lot of sense and took a long time to finish because of Covid and all that mess but pretty grateful that it’s finally out there and see what people think.”