Vince Gill and Paul Franklin Pay Tribute to Ray Price on ‘Sweet Memories”

It’s been nearly a decade since country legend Vince Gill and esteemed musician Paul Franklin released their world-renowned record, Bakersfield. The hitmakers announced Friday (June 2) that they will join forces again and drop, Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys. 

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The highly anticipated 11-track project is expected to arrive on Aug. 4 via MCA Nashville. The forthcoming collection will honor Ray Price, a prolific baritone that helped shape the country landscape. The Cherokee Cowboys was formed by Price in 1953. At the time, he recruited notable names in country music —Roger Miller, Darrell McCall, Van Howard, Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons, and Buddy Spicher. 

The trailblazer died after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2013. He was 87. Gill declared that the country community, even the biggest Price fans, would find the record surprising. 

“When we originally started thinking about doing this record, we were going to do half and half, focusing on two different artists like we did with Bakersfield, recording songs of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. But we got to liking so many of Ray’s songs, that it became ‘Let’s do all Ray’ and ‘Well, Okay!’” said Gill in a statement. “We had such a great time doing Bakersfield. It felt good introducing that music to a new generation. This time, it was a no-brainer to pick Ray Price. Once we locked in on Ray, we started looking through the sheer volume of his material. We looked for obscure songs, ones even Ray’s fans might not know as well.”

While working on the collection, Gill often turned to Eddie Stubbs, the former Grand Ole Opry announcer, and WSM disc Jockey for inspiration. 

“We kind of shopped for the unfamiliar,” Gill explained. “Eddie Stubbs was part of this process, although he didn’t know it at the time. I’d listen to him at night and call him up and say, ‘Play something for me I’ve never heard before.’ He’d often play something that knocked me out, and I’d take note of all the songs. I had maybe 30 different ones for Paul to listen to—some so outside the box that I didn’t know them, and Paul didn’t either.” 

The two pointed out that they took an unorthodox approach when it came to recording the project. They wanted to transform the timeless tunes and place their signature spins on each track. 

“This isn’t a sound-alike record. I never wanted to do that. I don’t think any of these songs sound comparable to the original,” he said. “here were some unbelievably gifted musicians who were such a part of those original records. We were drawn to them probably as much as we were drawn to Ray.” 

Track Listing – Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys

1. “One More Time”

Written by Mel Tillis

2. “I’d Fight The World” 

Written by Hank Cochran and Joe Allison

3. “You Wouldn’t Know Love” 

Written by Hank Cochran and Dave Kirby

4. “Walkin’ Slow (And Thinking ‘Bout Her)”

Written by Bobby Bare and Lance Guynes

5. “The Same Two Lips” 

Written by Marty Robbins

6. “Weary Blues From Waitin’”

Written by Hank Williams Sr.

7. “Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)” 

Written by Mel Tillis, Ray Price and Wayne Walker

8. “Sweet Memories” 

Written by Mickey Newbury

9. “Danny Boy”

Written by Fred E. Weatherly

10. “Your Old Love Letters” 

Written by Ray Price

11. “Healing Hands Of Time”

Written by Willie Nelson

Photo by John Shearer / Morris Public Relations

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