Vince Gill and Paul Franklin’s Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys, is out now. The 11-track record was a labor of love for both Gill and Franklin, who last collaborated together ten years ago, on Bakersfield, out in 2013, honoring the music of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.
The two musicians had no idea when they began working on what became Sweet Memories that they would devote a whole album to Price. But as they kept finding songs, both Gill and Franklin realized they wanted to do an entire project honoring Price’s indelible mark on country music.
“We go, ‘Oh, we want to do this. We want to do this.’ And it was more than half a record’s worth,” Gill recalled to Everything Nash and other outlets at a recent media event. “We said, ‘Hell, let’s just do all Ray.’ We followed our ears, and we did the songs we liked.”
Once Gill and Franklin decided to do a record of all Price songs, they realized they wanted to include some of the more obscure songs, and not the ones that might be more popular.
“We didn’t want to do the obvious songs … They’ve been done a zillion times. It’s kind of fun to take something that not a lot of people really had a great snapshot of what that record was,” Gill said, adding that they found enjoyment in not looking at the more obvious tracks.
“It was fun rediscovering some things that would fall in line with what we wanted to do, and how we wanted to play, and picking things that were very steel guitar-driven,” he continued. “These records, their point was much more from a musician’s place. We wanted to do instrumental kind of music, but we liked the stories of the songs so much.”
Franklin, one of the most-awarded musicians of all time and considered to be one of the best guitar players, embraced the challenge of re-recording some of Price’s music.
“If you listen back to those records, that was also an era where everybody played it at once and everything’s nailed,” Franklin explained. “So as a musician, you really had to be on your toes. You had to be so well-studied and ready to go. And not that that doesn’t happen in modern times, but you always know, ‘Oh, I can punch that down. I’ll get a third through, and then I’ll replace it from there on.’ and you keep on, incrementally, to get to the end of it. But the great thing as a musician, you want to get to the point where you feel like, ‘I can do this all the way through this.’ Music gives you the vehicle to do that. ”
Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys might just be out now, but to Gill, it’s already a success, regardless of how many copies they sell.
“I never let the results of a record dictate to me whether it was a good record or a bad record, a good song or a bad song,” Gill said. “I have no control over who bought it, who played it, who spun it, any of that stuff. I did the best I could, and I turned it loose. And that’s what we’ve done here. We’ve done the best we could emulating what we love and how we play and how we sing. And I feel successful because I did it.”
See a track list for Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys below. Purchase, download or stream the album here.
Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys Track List:
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 Credit: Courtesy of UMG Nashville / John Shearer