As covered in a previous Acts to Watch feature, Waco native Kayla Ray's DIY approach to country music embodies Texas' independent spirit.
Ray's sacrifices and hard work make sense when exploring her repertoire because she writes songs worth pounding the pavement over and sharing with audiences far and wide.
For a small taste of Ray's growing catalog, listen to these five prime cuts of pure country storytelling.
5. "Quarantine Can Bong"
There's more likely picks for this Top 5, some of which also appear on Ray's 2021 EP Songs of Extreme Isolation, Economic Crisis, & Other Funny Things. Yet it's worth using our first slot to put over how well Ray follows the Texas and Tennessee traditions of injecting humor into country songwriting.
For more laughs, check out the cleverly-worded, Blackhawk name-dropping "White Claw Wasted."
4. "South Side of Town" (Feat. Jason Eady)
Ray learned valuable lessons as Jason Eady's tour manager before blazing her own trail as a singer-songwriter. The siblings of the road join forces on this highlight from Ray's 2014 album Love & Liquor.
3. "Room 402"
One of the best examples of classic country songwriting in Ray's back catalog doubles as the name of a Facebook group for her growing fanbase. It's as if she listened to some of country music's finest cheating songs and reverse-engineered them into something that'd sound at home on an Ashley McBryde album.
Read More: Acts to Watch: Kayla Ray Embodies Texas Country Music's Independent Spirit
2. "Hell of a Day to Drink All Night"
Ray excels at more than stripped-down, emotion-stirring country songs. For example, she's the leader of a fired-up honky-tonk band on this raucous selection from her 2018 album Yesterday & Me.
It's from the same album as a couple of honorable mention selections: Colton Hawkins duet "Once a Week Cheaters" and the title track.
1. "The Jameson Waltz"
Ray teaches us what she's learned in her journey as an independent artist about sad (drinking) songs and waltzes in just three minutes.
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