Story Behind the Song: Michael Ray, ‘Whiskey and Rain’
Michael Ray's "Whiskey and Rain" couldn't get any more '90s country. The fiddle- and steel guitar-filled, Gary Allan-esque track finds Ray heartbroke as all get-out, drowning his sorrows in alcohol as the sky opens up outside.
Josh Thompson and Jesse Frasure co-wrote "Whiskey and Rain," Ray's first single from what will be his third studio album, produced by Ross Copperman. It was Frasure who, knowing Ray's penchant for the country sounds of the 1980s, '90s and early 2000s, pitched the song to the artist.
It was a smart move on Frasure's part, as Ray was instantly all in on the song. Below, Ray shares how "Whiskey and Rain" made its way to him, and why it was the perfect pick for his third record's lead single.
I knew the direction I wanted to go on this record, and we were writing that way already, and so, when you get [working on a new album and talking to] songwriters, they always ask, you know, "Where's your head at? What are you needing? Where are you going with this record?" and so I was telling them.
Jesse Frasure is a co-writer on "Whiskey and Rain," and he sent this song over, and it was like, this song embodies everything that I wanted on this record. It's exactly like, if I wanted [someone to ask], "Hey, what's this record gonna be like?" "Whiskey and Rain" is the song I want to play.
And so I fell in love with it right away -- felt like it was a great first single ...
We added the fiddle; there wasn't any fiddle on there [when I first heard the demo]. I think there might have been a little bit more of the track beat to it, 'cause it was the demo, but that [hums the guitar line] -- that was them, and that was one of the big things that made me fall in love with this song, was, right away, that guitar lick in there ... [I remember thinking], "If the lyrics are anything like the first little seconds of the song, this feels like a hit."
We added the fiddle last minute. The song was done, and we felt like it needed something else, and we decided, "Man, let's add some fiddle in there and get that feel in there" ... We added on last minute, and I feel like it just brought it even more to life.