Michael Ray’s sophomore album, ‘Amos,’ was impatiently awaited by many fans and with songs already climbing the country airplay charts, we can only expect that Michael Ray’s early success will continue. ‘Amos‘ was named after Ray’s late grandfather, who passed just two months before his Grand Ole Opry debut. It was important for Michael to pay tribute to one of his earliest supporters because his grandfather helped to inspire his passion for country music. Michael Ray presents a dynamic album with songs ranging from progressive to semi-traditional country. They all feature his captivating voice and master delivery. Many talented songwriters can be credited including Matthew Ramsey, Brad Tursi, and Trevor Rosen of Old Dominion; Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three; and hitmakers Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, Rhett Akins, and Ben Hayslip. Containing a medley of love songs, varying in complexity, there is something everyone can relate to on this album.
1.) ‘Fan Girl’- Written by Matt Jenkins, Brad Tursi, and Josh Osborne.
Impression: ‘Fan Girl’ opens the album with an upbeat nod to fans. Delivering with high energy, it compares the feeling of attending a concert to the feeling you experience looking at someone you love. The unique comparison melds the familiar sensations perfectly. Heavy drums have your head nodding along in no time and its concert visuals immediately connect with any live show loving fan.
Favorite Lyrics: You give me that front-row feeling, screaming with my hands up, Walk in the room and everybody stands up.
2.) ‘One That Got Away’ – Written by Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, and Jesse Frasure.
Impression: Slated to be Ray’s next single released to radio, ‘One That Got Away’ gives us a unique take on the inevitable breakup that comes with a relationship that seems too good to be true. Although it is conveyed that Ray will be a bit upset when things don’t work out, the song emanates a carefree vibe created by the lyrics, That’s alright, That’s okay She’s gonna be one hell of a one that got away, That’s alright, might hurt but hey. Focusing on the good times rather than the pain of the future, ‘One That Got Away’ creates a sense of fun and positivity that exquisitely matches the instrumental and background vocals.
Favorite Lyrics: I ain’t gonna sit here and overthink it, I got a tiger by the tail, I’ll just smile when she sinks her teeth in, She’ll leave a scar and a story to tell.
3.) ‘Summer Water’ – Written by Heather Morgan and Lee Thomas Miller.
Impression: With the third song, Michael Ray slows things down and brings us the most traditional country song on this record. ‘Summer Water’ gives us a sentimental sense of home, describing the integral role time spent on the water can have on everyone in a waterside community. Comparing time spent on the summer water to religious experiences accentuates the impact that the summer water had over a lifetime.
Favorite Lyrics: It’s where you spend your first night with your first love before the mercury starts fallin’; It’s where you spend the last with your first love, before somebody goes to college.
4.) ‘Get To You’ – Written by Abe Stoklasa and Pavel Dovgalyuk.
Impression: This song originally released as a single is currently sitting at number 15 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. The mid-tempo tune showcases Michael Ray’s vocal range with unique high notes that we do not see elsewhere in the album. It tells a story that is relatable from two standpoints, having been scarred by past love so badly you put a wall up to fully falling in love again and being the one trying to break down those walls and love a person who has been hurt. Ray sings from a very understanding viewpoint, hoping that he will be able to break those walls.
Favorite Lyrics: One day you’re gonna love again, Mess up and let somebody in, To every part of your whole world.
5.) ‘Forget About It’ – Written by Luke Laird and Jaren Johnston.
Impression: Michael Ray turns his confidence up a notch as he pushes country music’s boundary in ‘Forget About It.’ Ray teases, Didn’t he hold the door? Didn’t he bring ya flowers?, before making it clear that he will gladly help this girl mend her broken heart with some drinks and the promise of a good time. Michael Ray is sure that he can be the catalyst in helping her to turn things around.
Favorite Lyrics: You need a little bit of “Hey, baby come of here,” Let me buy you a beer, get to workin’ on movin’ on, When it comes to him, forget about it
6.) ‘Her World Or Mine’ – Written by Brett Beavers, Jamie Paulin, and Travis Denning.
Impression: Possibly the most compelling song in this collection, ‘Her World Or Mind’ evokes the visceral feelings that can only come from heartbreak. The ballad juxtaposes the lives of a couple after splitting up, referencing the many milestones that cause pain in the aftermath. It is clear that he is struggling with every reminder of the past, while she moves on with her life. Michael Ray’s brutal honesty and vulnerability make this emotional ballad remarkable.
Favorite Lyrics: One of us moved on, one of us got stuck, One of us is drinkin’ just for fun, one of us drinkin’ to get drunk
7.) ‘You’re On’ – Written by Chase McGill, Jessi Alexander, and Matt Jenkins.
Impression: ‘You’re On’ gives us a playful song set to electric guitar and striking drumbeats. The phrase ‘You’re On’ used repeatedly throughout the song ties it together. Its usage morphs from a challenging phrase to a more conventional You’re on my mind. Ray simply wants to spend more time with this girl and cannot stop thinking about her because every song on country radio reminds him of her and every t-shirt he wears smells like her.
Favorite Lyrics: You light me up when you run your fingers through my hair, Like a night owl’s eyes in the low beam glare.
8.) ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’ – Written by Corey Crowder and Matt McGinn.
Impression: Song eight gives us another take on struggling with heartbreak. Ray admits that he will be taking a night to wallow in his pain and miss her rather than his usual routine of failing to avoid the memories that plague him. Opposite of the message we typically hear from men, Ray is open about the fact that he needs to let that goodbye hurt in order to heal. ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’ gives us another view of the emotional vulnerability Ray demonstrates in ‘Amos.‘
Favorite Lyrics: I’m gonna think about that first kiss in the rain, it was June, Remember how we said forever? I’m gonna think about that too.
9.) ‘Dancing Forever’ – Written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Matt Ramsey, and Trevor Rosen.
Impression: ‘Dancing Forever’ slows things down for a thought provoking song who’s meaning can be shaped to many different perspectives. One of the songs Ray chose to perform it in a Las Vegas hospital after the Route 91 Harvest Festival, its lyrics took on a new meaning. It’s moving chorus, Just catch that breeze like a feather, Turn your tears into treasures, When you’re here, when you’re gone, I’ll be here, lookin’ on, So keep on dancin’ forever, can be relevant to any type of loss.
Favorite Lyrics: I guess I’m waitin’ on your next move, All this time I thought I was leadin’ you, Now look at you.
10.) ‘Girl From Spring Break’ – Written by Ben Hayslip, Emily Weisband, and Rhett Akins.
Impression: Michael Ray gives us some country music style story telling in the reminiscent ‘Girl From Spring Break.’ The specificity of the small details included make you feel like you were there too. Ray recalls the minute features of his spring break escapade including the room number, their drink of choice, and the car she drove. He wonders about what the girl could be up to now in a way that we so often do with those we fall out of touch with.
Favorite Lyrics: We said we’d call, we said we’d write, But you know how it goes when time goes by.
11.) ‘Drink One For Me’ – Written by Josh Thompson, Jimmy Robbins, and Jon Nite.
Impression: The love song theme isn’t as prominent in ‘Drink One For Me.’ The last song on this album strikes a more serious chord leading us to think of those who cannot be with us, doing the things they love because they are serving our country. The soldier asks the listener to think of them while doing some of their favorite activities. Without a careful listen to the first verse, the song could apply to anyone who is away from home trying to accomplish something, but the small details are integral to this closing song’s intended meaning.
Favorite Lyrics: Drink one for me, and remember why, I’m doin’ what I’m doin’ when you raise ’em high.
Michael Ray will be opening for Old Dominion at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction Vermont on August 24th. You can get tickets for his only currently scheduled New England show here. You can purchase ‘Amos’ on iTunes, and keep up with all things Michael Ray on his Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.