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Ray Price
July 17th
Paramount Theatre

   Country music legend, Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Ray Price and his Cherokee Cowboy Band return to the historic Paramount Theatre for a special concert event on Sunday, July 17th, at 7 p.m.
     Following a tour of duty in the U. S. Marines during World War II, Price aimed for a veterinary career and enrolled at North Texas Agricultural College. Supplementing his formal education with a little nightlife singing in a local establishment, and with encouragement from Dallas recording entrepreneur Jim Beck, the young Texan made his first record, “Jealous Lies,” for the Bullet label in January 1950.
    His singing on Dallas radio programs earned the notice of an executive at a powerful publishing house, guiding him to a contract with Columbia Records in 1951.  Later that year, Hank Williams took Price with him on tour and wrote the song “Weary Blues (From Waiting),” which he gave to his new pal to record. The song did well enough to garner Price an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.  
    Blessed with a drop-dead tenor voice and an eagle eye for great songs, the balladeer delivered two Top Five country hits for Columbia in 1952: “Talk to Your Heart” and “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” - which would later become a Number One pop hit for Perry Como.  He returned to the Top Five again in March 1954 with “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me).”
    As Price began to enjoy success with his personally branded honky-tonk, rockabilly cats like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins began to dominate the country music charts - and it looked to be the end of traditional country music. But when Price and his band, the Cherokee Cowboys, entered the studio in March 1956 to cut “Crazy Arms,” they created a new sound, incorporating both an acoustic and an electric bass to lay down a 4/4, dance-friendly shuffle rhythm that worked like an Evinrude behind Price’s imposing tenor and harmonized choruses. The sound became known as “the Ray Price beat,” and it catapulted honky-tonk high enough to knock Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” off its Number One spot on the charts, where it remained for twenty weeks.
   Between 1952 and 1989, Price scored a record 108 chart hits,  including eight chart-toppers and two dozen Top Five classics.  Price’s recordings for various labels since the 1970s have included the critically acclaimed Time in 2002 and Run That by Me One More Time, a collection of duets with Willie Nelson, in 2003.  That same year, the Academy of Country Music presented the versatile singer with the Pioneer Award.
     Tickets for Ray Price at the Paramount Theatre are $43, $53, and $59.  Doors and the lobby bar open at 6 p.m., with the concert beginning at 7 p.m.
    The Paramount Theatre is located at 713 Congress Avenue.  For tickets and more information, call (512) 474-1221 or visit www.AustinTheatre.org.
Ray Price
(Photo courtesy Austin Theatre)
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