Written by: Jen Dan
West Virginia rock/Americana singer-songwriter Jeff Ray just dropped his new album, Our Little Town, at the end of May on MERF Records. The lead single “Somebody’s Cryin’” and its accompanying music video was composed and filmed, respectively, as a tribute to Ray’s friend James, who sadly took his own life. The track’s purpose is to raise awareness about suicide prevention and to support people who suffer from mental illness.
Ray has been a fixture in the Americana music scene since the ‘90s when he played in several different bands, like Mo’Bigley, shared the stage with acts like Troy Olsen and the LoCash Cowboys, and toured all over the east coast of the US and Europe. Ray also grew up in a musical family and learned early on how to play guitar.
After spending time in various bands, Ray decided to strike out on his own and pursue a singer-songwriter/guitarist career along the lines of John Mellencamp and Tom Petty. His roots in both the country and rock genres are strong and wind through the reflective “Somebody’s Cryin’”.
Gently strummed acoustic guitar and subdued piano notes open the song, with Ray’s heartfelt vocals shining through. He sings in an earnest tone that, “Somebody’s cryin’ / Hiding from the light / Somebody’s hopin’… / there’s a chance you can make it through the night.”
The poignant lyrics are made all the more touching by the tribute video which features Ray playing his guitar, paging through a photo album, and looking at a framed photo of his friend James. As the video progresses, the viewers see messages written on the walls of the house that state the sobering statistics, “117 suicides a day in the US” and “22 veterans a day.”
The song kicks up at times into rockin’ mode with the addition of Ray’s expressive electric guitar playing, more pronounced piano notes and drum beat, and his earnest exclamations. The video ends on a hopeful note, with the phrase, “but there’s hope” followed by the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)).
Find out more about Jeff Ray