Appalachian Born ~ Texas Seasoned
Born and raised at a crossroads (1869 Crossroads to be exact) and a stone's throw from the Big Sandy River where Huck Finn and ol' Jim floated to freedom, Tony Ramey is a child of Appalachia. He ran the creek beds and "hollers" of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio long before he would make a name for himself in Nashville, Tennessee and Texas as an award-winning singer-songwriter.
Though he often speaks about his days in the woods and growing up in the mountains more fondly than he does the city of Nashville, he managed to pen tunes in the Country Music capitol for George Strait ( Hot Grease And Zydeco ), Trisha Yearwood (“Second Chance”), John Michael Montgomery ( "I Don't Want This Song to End" ), Alabama ( "That's How I Was Raised" ), Ray Price ( "No More Songs to Sing" on his Beauty Is...The Final Sessions ) Mark Chesnutt ( "Oughta Miss Me by Now" ), Doug Stone ( "Make up in Love" ), Craig Morgan ("Something to Write Home About" ), Moe Bandy, Jon Wolfe (many tracks from his Dos Corazones epic album), Aaron Watson ("Summertime Girl"), and Willie Nelson among others, while producing 14 independent projects of his own along the way.
He met his wife Debbie there as well, who had her own show at Opryland and sang on the Grand Ol' Opry, and they both raised their two children in the music business while Tony continued writing for various publishers. His stint with George Strait and manager Erv Woolsey's company would last more than eight years--six years longer than most writers would last at any publishing house as a staff writer--a testimony to the loyalty and belief Erv's team would have in the Americana Country Soul that colors Tony's catalog of more than five-thousand compositions. Tony would write for several companies while in Nashville, though, and leave a mark of a gold or platinum record at each one of them.
Tony had a few doors open for him at the major label level along the way, but his "independent spirit," he said, would consistently wind up insulting "key personnel" who wanted him to drink what Tony refers to as the "corporate kool-aid." After almost twenty years as a staff writer and touring independent artist in Nashville, it was time for Tony to change his landscape and replant himself in the new country music hub of America: Texas. The land of wide open spaces and hazy dreams of the far west American frontier, Texas would inspire Tony to write an epic Western which he would duet with Willie Nelson on his "Soul Survivor" album--the first full album he would produce and release after his move out of the commercial music town of Nashville, Tennessee.
Ultimately, Tony's life’s work is the craft and contribution of a troubadour. His story and mantra resounds in songs like "The Spirit of Hank and the Heart of James Dean" from his Spirit of Hank EP, and "Pocatalico." His collection showcases a traditional country music streak a mile wide that runs through the body of his work, along with hints of Rock, folk, and the R&B that Tony claims came from his deep admiration for the elegiac sounds of Bill Withers, another West Virginia soul singer.
One radio promoter said of Tony Ramey, "There is wood and gravel in his voice, and iron in his lyrics." Indeed, Tony's catalog of hits and underground gems like "West Texas Lonely," "Just Ain't Trying," and "Dreamin' Enough to Get Me By" find fans from all musical genres.
None who dig deep into his repertoire of songs come up short of adding something to their own favorite playlists.