Gary Ray
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Gary Ray

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR
Band Country Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review of Showcase at Mint in LA"

Material: This is one cool musician. In fact, Gary Pfaff is unique in many ways, and his songs are no different. Initially, he comes across like a laid-back rocker, a la Jack Johnson, but then he'll explode into a thunderstorm of hard-rockin' blues licks that set his songs on fire. Indeed, the unpredictable nature of his material, along with the exquisite craftsmanship of his songwriting, is so good that it's no exaggeration to put Pfaff in the same league as Ben Harper.

Musicianship: With the lyrical phrasing of Jason Maraz, and a vocal tone that sounds like a combination of Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews, this artist has a very radio-friendly voice. On top of that, his vocal expressiveness really sells the songs, while his guitar work brings it all into another dimension. No doubt, Pfaff's intense tour schedule has contributed greatly to his skill and musical chops.

Performance: At one point during his set, Pfaff picked up a half-full beer bottle and began using it as a slide across his strings. In the middle of a vicious run, he drank the beer, flipped the bottle over and continued playing, producing different intonations due to the now empty bottle. This display totally enthralled the packed house. So much so, that everyone stopped talking and stared in disbelief. Pfaff's showmanship won the crowd over to such an extent that they didn't want him to leave the stage.

Summary: Gary Pfaff is a special artist at the top of his game. He's a musician's musician and a commercially viable act. His skills are outstanding and his songs are interesting. And, heck, anyone who can use a beer bottle the way he did deserves a shot at success. Besides, with or without such showmanship, this guy is the real deal.

––Bernard Baur - Music Connection - Los Angeles CA


What's better in Buckhead than some good old acoustic rock? Nothing. So the crowd gathered in suits and skirts as the round red lanterns illuminated the stage at Andrews Upstairs, preparing for a night of perpetual acoustic goodness.

To kick off the CD release show for Gary Pfaff, Orlando native Matt Mackelcan jumped on stage, complete with a snug sock hat with his hair flowing out the bottom, to perform a solo acoustic set from his new album, No Turning Back. As he strummed his Taylor with simple chords, he sang songs of hope, love and anticipation in a very Edwin McCain/Matt Nathanson manner. Mackelcan ended his set with the hokey five-cover-songs-blended-into-one-song arrangement, which the Buckhead crowd ultimately ate up with delight.

After Mackelcan exited with applause, Michael Tolcher took the stage as many anxious faces stared up at him. Hailing from Atlanta, Tolcher has grown to be quite a national sensation and is always welcomed with beer-holding arms when he's in town. Only playing a short, solo acoustic set of three songs, Tolcher and his catchy compositions rang out as devoted fans sang along. Tolcher was mainly there to support his long-time friend, Gary Pfaff.

Everyone went wild, and Tolcher modestly bowed out, when his good pal, Mr. Pfaff, geared up with his backing band. Pfaff, who you would normally see fronting the well-known Atlanta band Obsession Day, recently recorded a solo album entitled White Stars, produced by Tim DeLaney, who also holds down bassist duties in Pfaff's band. Although some might be distracted by Pfaff's bulging muscles and long, blond, surfer hair, they should not discard him as just another pretty face because this boy has talent. Pfaff sang sweet songs like "Perfect," which naturally made all the girls weak in the knees, and powerful songs like "White Stars" and "Innocent." Throughout the set, friends of Pfaff's jumped on stage to sing a few songs with him, including Tolcher, who came up and sang "Naked" (the song of course) with him. Towards the end of the set, Pfaff grabbed an old, beat-up Gibson and proceeded to play solo slide guitar with a beer bottle. Acting like they'd never seen it done before, the crowd cheered with excitement.

Gary Pfaff ended the night with a very successful CD release party to celebrate the new album. This singer/songwriter definitely proved himself to be one of Atlanta's finest. - Southeast Performer

"Show Review"

Gary Pfaff is my newest musical crush. Actually, this is my second go-round on crushing on him, this time stronger than the last. I saw him at the Loft last fall and was impressed but then moved on to other musical interests. But after seeing him again – twice! — in February, I’m flat smitten. With his band, the Heartwells, he is the exact act one might expect to find playing in a bar in a smallish Georgia town, though perhaps it would be more correct to say that they are the exact band one might expect to find in a movie about a bar in a smallish Georgia town because rarely does one expect to find this caliber of professional musicianship in bars in smallish Georgia towns.

In terms relating exclusively to the music itself, Gary and his boys and their mix of power ballads and high-energy, booty-shaking, country-blues grooves are flat out amazing, but that isn’t the real draw – or at least not the only real draw. I dig his writing. He seems to be coming from the same place where I live. Some people write what they think a perfect pop song ought to be and their lyrics smack of insincerity. For instance, I really do love the Los Lonely Boys’ first album (man those guys can play!) but you can tell that the person who penned those lyrics had never really been in love and didn’t know what real relationships are like. Some people tell other people’s stories in a way that allows you to get inside that character’s head. Marshall Ruffin does that — he is quite the bard but I have never heard him sing anything that allows me inside HIS head or gives me a picture of HIS life. Other folks write about themselves, their lives, their feelings, their relationships, and it shows. John Mayer, Ben Taylor, Sonia Leigh, Ben Deignan, Jason Mraz — when you listen, really listen, to their music, you know they are laying bare their souls for your perusal. It may not be your experience, but you know that these words are very real to them.

Gary writes music for grownups, and by grownups, I mean people like me — thirty-somethings with lives and families and real responsibilities, able to put on our grownup suits when necessary but yet not quite willing to own adulthood. By grownups I mean the sort of folks who blast Offspring in our minivans and think its funny when small children sing ‘Give it to me baby! Uh huh! Uh huh!’. He writes about his life in a brutally honest voice. His songs deal with themes like personal hangups, drugs, drinking, and relationship dysfunction. Rockin’ dance tunes like ‘Perfect’ and ‘Love Drug’ in which he sings about fighting about silly things, the unwillingness to admit when wrong, and having passionate make-up sex, and ‘Naked’, a ballad that contains the line, ‘I’d rather be naked with you than argue like we always do’ remind me of situations I’ve been in repeatedly and lead me to believe that he and his wife are both stubborn, prideful, temper-tantrumatic, passionate, wonderfully flawed individuals who are madly in love and committed to their relationship and their kids. And it would seem that Gary likes to cut loose and raise hell when he gets the chance. I know what that feels like!

Gary’s studio stuff is definitely top notch, but his true strength is performance. On stage, he and his band seem like super-human arena rock gods. The dude is 6‘3” anyway, and that’s without his signature cowboy boots. The physical size of the guys is matched only by the amount of energy they put into their music and the amount of energy they can draw out of the crowd. These factors work together to create the feeling of being at one huge party they’ve thrown just for you.

My favorite song in their live repertoire is a dirty, gritty, rockin’ blues tune called ‘Mississippi Streets’. Like I said, the studio version is nice but the live version is nothing short of an experience all in and of itself. First off, he gets the audience all stomping and clapping just as hard and loud as they can and all that resonates against the hardwood floors of the Loft and makes the whole place shake. Secondly, there’s the trick he does with the beer bottle. He picks it up, slams down whatever is left in the bottle, flips it upside down, and then uses it for a slide on the neck of his guitar — all in one fluid motion. It’s friggin’ amazing – totally Rock Star…just like Gary and the boys. Swoon…. - Little Frog Media


Livin' The Dream
Under The Influence - Live
White Stars (LP)



As a performer, sought-after singer-songwriter and executive at the successful Nashville based record label and publishing company, Better Angels Music, Gary Ray is a music biz triple-threat. That rare combination of artist/executive and songwriter gives Gary a unique perspective on the business while simultaneously allowing him to direct his career and artistic goals with insight not often seen in most recording artists. Overall, Gary Ray is an artist with a unique sound who isn’t afraid to push the envelope when it comes to recording and producing music for himself or directing the careers of other prominent and up-and-coming recording stars.

Born in Luhnsthul, Germany to a military family where dad was himself a songwriter — and fighter pilot — the family relocated to Tucker, Georgia when Gary was 5 years old.

Gary’s career path was etched early-on when he deliberately shunned his High School graduation ceremonies to go on tour with Edwin McCain. Gary Ray laughs, “I have been on the road ever since.”

Born Gary Ray (Pfaff), Gary was a music industry “early bloomer.” His first group, Dial 8 gave Gary a taste of life as a working musician. Gary’s next band, Obsession Day took it to the next level, performing with the likes of Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, and Counting Crows. Gary notes, “Of course we broke up like most bands right on the cusp of a major deal.” Obsession Day was one of the most downloaded bands on college music radio falling second only to the Zac Brown Band. Following Obsession, Gary was signed to a small, independent label. The then Gary “Pfaff” released 2 albums; “White Stars” and “Under The Influence – Live” which achieved modest success and gave Gary the creative initiative to follow his artistic dreams.
Fast forward to Nashville 2011. Now an executive and Better Angels Music artist, Ray also has studio chops. He has engineered and/or produced numerous projects including The Judies, Boyce Avenue, John Pringle and Tim Brantley, among others. In the studio, Gary has earned hundreds of production and engineering credits with the most notable being the previously mentioned internationally successful Boyce Avenue, now signed to Universal Records. As a producer/engineer Gary began his career splitting his time between producing a 23-song rock opera, and working for Scooter Braun (now Justin Beiber’s manager) at Krypton Studios. This is where he first was exposed to the art of successful independent promotion and big business.

Regarding juggling his love for producing with the grind of touring mixed with his executive Better Angels duties, Gary says, “I miss the studio from back in my producing days… I love the recording process, but I have had to let that go for a little bit to get out in front of the fans more. Music is changing and the only way to give the fans what they REALLY want is to bring the show to their hometown.”

Not one to compromise the creative process on his own projects, he has produced/mixed/engineered all of his own albums including the latest release – “Livin The Dream” which was funded soley through fan support on

Livin’ the Dream features guest appearances by members of Zac Brown Band. The single, Quit Buckin’ Around received major radio airplay, especially in the Southeast. Gary’s favorite track on his new album is Here We Go Again. Gary adds, I really am partial to Here We Go Again because it’s my true style. I wrote it with my good friend, Josh Dunne, and my opinion of the song hasn’t changed since day one — and that is rare for me these days.”

His fan base is deep and getting deeper. Gary won the people’s choice awards in Atlanta, Georgia for Atlanta’s favorite hometown band and lost the following year to Zac Brown and his music is in-demand by those in the know. Gary Ray’s music has been licensed by MTV, VH1, E!, OPRAH, and other networks.

Touring a consistent 250 plus shows a year with a fanbase in mainly Southeast, Gary’s popularity seemingly grows instantaneously with each and every live performance. He’s recently toured with and/or opened for: Brantley Gilbert, Corey Smith, Lady Antebellum, Chris Cagle, and Miranda Lambert and CO-headlined the Jagermeister Get UR Country On Club Tour with Rick Monroe in the summer of 2011. Gary adds, “I like touring because I enjoy seeing new faces and places everyday. I love to see how far word can travel about an artist. Working my twitter account and facebook page is something that I’ve made myself grow into. As far as touring itself, I was built for it.”

Juggling his VP label stripes with being an artist continues to be a challenge Gary is happy to tackle. He says, “It’s definitely a give and take proposal. I constantly have fans telling me that they wish I would put as much time into my career as I do into some of my artists. I have to remind them that I am in a position to make an enormous change for a lot of people. I am blessed with an artists heart and a business mind.”

With co