Small towns and blue collars have given rise to more aspiring songwriters than space or time allows most of us to explore. But when it comes to sifting through the various offerings, what speaks to most fans is music that is honest, gut-wrenching, born of highs and lows revealing a real-world understanding.
Merrol Ray is one of those Texas voices and personalities so flavored by his past that most folks have at least heard of him before they hear him sing. His name is synonymous with northeast Texas music – so much so that most everyone refers to him by both his first and last moniker. It’s not just “Merrol” – it’s Merrol Ray.
As Texas clichés go about those born and bred here, Merrol is larger than life with a voice that bellows a soothing but captivating tone. “I used to go in where Merrol Ray used to work, and you could always hear him from anywhere in the store,” says friend and fellow musician Wendy McNeal. His voice is unmistakable.
That voice finds its inspiration in mainly rock and southern rock, a little punk and metal from his “awareness” teen years in the early-to-mid 1980s, plus honest (did I use that word again?) Americana country. Merrol’s “desert island” CD list includes Zeppelin, Skynyrd, and Chris Knight.