QUINNS Rocks musician Ray Ryder is about to try his luck in the world’s country music capital.
He has been touring around the State since last October and will continue visiting regional towns until June, with a one-month break in April to travel to Nashville, Tennessee.
It might seem a gruelling schedule to some but Ryder, who has toured the country and overseas in bands for more than 20 years, is relishing the experience.
“It’s been humbling in the sense I’m able to tour, playing concerts of my own stuff,” he said.
“I’m used to it but it’s always hard on those you leave behind.”
Ryder spent five years making his debut self-titled album, released in September.
“It’s all me playing all the instruments and the vocals, I had to lay every track piece by piece,” he said.
“I was drawn to country music because of its purity.
“Music is not so much about perfection and more about expression.”
Despite previously supporting big names including Sting, Chris Isaak, Brian Ferry and Shirley Bassey, he is passionate about playing the smaller shows in remote areas of Australia.
The tour sees him perform free community concerts and offer music workshops thanks to funding from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.
“It’s what people need out there; I can help bring music into people’s lives,” he said.
“I feel privileged and quite lucky.”
Ryder has been liaising with Keith Urban’s former manager and will play a series of showcase performances in Nashville in April, with the aim of being able to set up an alternative base there.
“It’s definitely exciting, it’s daunting because I know it’s a big job and a big ask, and I know a lot of artists go over there from all over the world,” he said.
He is also excited about being the first WA artist chosen to play this year’s Birdsville Big Red Bash in Queensland alongside Missy Higgins, Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, James Reyne and Kate Ceberano but said he was just “rolling with the punches”.
“Things are starting to head in a positive direction,” he said.
“It’s unknown but there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”