Ray Lawrence Jr. was Born in Chicago, Illinois on July 4th.,1963 and raised in Southern, California. This is where the musical journey begins. By the time Ray was 5 years old he got his first taste of singing in front of a live audience. By age 14 he took guitar serious and at age 17 he joined the Army. While stationed in Germany he landed his first gig with a country & western show band, Country Sunshine, that played guest houses, NCO clubs and German/American friendship fests. Ray was a harmony vocalist and guitar player in this band. In late 1983 Ray left the Army, returning to the states to travel and play music. Jam sessions during the week and playing weekend gigs with a few bands became a way of life. Ray later became member of a house band, playing bass 5 nights a week for a 6 and a half year run. It was the dream job that many musicians wanted to have at that time. The band was Jimmy Dale and the Desperadoes and the club was The Ban-Dar Night Club that was owned by Capitol Records recording artists, Johnny and Joni Mosby. Ray wrote a song called The Right Time to Leave You in 1994 after a failed suicide attempt. That time and that song became a regular part of the set list and wouldn't be recorded and released till 2003 on a tribute compilation. This compilation was a tribute to Hank 3, called THE DAMN FANS a TRIBUTE TO SHELTON HANK WILLIAMS III and was available from the Hank 3 cussin' board. Ray’s song contributions were THE RIGHT TIME TO LEAVE YOU and a cover of the HANK 3 song CECIL BROWN.
Ray had been driving trucks by day and playing music at night on every night he could get a chance. Ray left trucking shortly after moving to Arizona in 2004 and took a sales job and played music whenever he could. A chance came to be a part of an Arizona band, SUICIDE DRIVER that later became JUNCTION 10.. THE RIGHT TIME TO LEAVE YOU and another song called BACK IN THE DAY would be recorded. Only this time by Robert Perez who is one of Phoenix, Arizona's finest honky tonk singers and song writers took an interest in two of Ray’s original songs. His band, Junction 10 helped to bring attention to Ray’s song writing abilities. Another part of Ray’s musical journey was performing as a part of Valley Fever Country Music Night at The Yucca Tap room in Tempe, Arizona. This was a show put together by Dana Armstrong and has helped many Arizona musicians to have a place to showcase their music. Valley Fever Quarantine is an annual show and is a part of Valley Fever Country Music Night. Ray’s music has been a part of four Valley Fever Quarantine music compilations.
Ray was living at a Phoenix homeless shelter from January 2009 to May 2009 and was writing songs and trying to make the best of a bad situation. One song caught the attention of an Arizona, old time music fiddle player, Carolyn Camp who was working at the café in shelter recourse center, A newly formed music program was a part of the shelter at that time. Ray played a song he wrote at the shelter called WHEN YOU LOSE ALL YOU HAD. This song ended up getting a lot of attention of the shelter staff and many of the people who lived there after doing many live performances of that song and others by the café. Soon Ray was playing shows that were booked to help Ray buy bus passes and some clothes to wear to play other shows to make spending money.
During Ray’s stay at the shelter, HANK 3, had a show at the Marquis Theater in Tempe, Arizona. Ray had been hanging out with Hank 3 as often as possible at other shows in the past. Ray would sometimes share a song with Hank 3 before shows but one visit would result in two Ray Lawrence Jr. songs being recorded on the bus and later being included on the Hank 3 album, Ghost to a Ghost, track number 5, RAY LAWRENCE JR. Ray is singing the lead vocals and playing guitar on that track. Not a usual thing for an artist to include an unknown artist singing two songs on one track. This was a major door opener for the music of Ray Lawrence Jr. It gave him opportunities to perform at the Muddy Roots Music Festival held in Cookville, Tennessee and The John Hartford Memorial Festival held at Bean Blossom, Indiana. Ray has a few independent releases and has been able to do some touring. Music has been a form of therapy and a way to survive for Ray Lawrence Jr. Sometimes in life you have to go for what you know and no matter how long it takes to realize a dream, never give up.