Boo Ray and his band are charismatic enough to carry a video just by performing. But the Americana artist adds a wrinkle or two for the video for “Gone Back Down to Georgia,” premiering below from his new album Tennessee Alabama Fireworks.
The plot — about a woman collecting mysterious envelopes that she delivers to Ray to reveal a secret recipe for Nashville’s famous Hot Chicken — was cooked up by Ray after a discussion with director Price Harrison. “Price and I had been talking about stuff —movies, mostly,” Ray tells Billboard. “I’d been talking about a bunch of David Lynch stuff and we looked at some other movies, even Blade Runner and True Romance.” A Harrison photo shoot with the band that incorporated a red light backdrop gave Ray a sense of the feel that he wanted and led him to come up with a treatment for the video.
“I wanted it to be fairly abstract so I didn’t have to plan a bunch of specific shots,” explains Ray, who’s seen performing with his band, inspired by the roadhouse scenes in Lynch’s Twin Peaks, while the actress is on her quest. “I wanted the cameraman to be able to shoot and just follow what looked good.” Ray used James A. Willis, who did the Tennessee Alabama Fireworks album cover, to illustrate the envelopes and plans to give the envelopes away to fans via contests and promotions.
Ray began work on Tennessee Alabama Fireworks while working on his previous album, 2016’s Sea of Lights, in Los Angeles. Producer Noah Shain (Nikki Lane, Nico Vega, Dead Sara, Badflower) was on board again, recording the set live to tape at Nashville’s historic Welcome To 1979 studio. “(Shain) said, ‘I want to record the sound of you with an outfit of guys that’s been running down the road with you and has a couple hundred dates under your belt together. Make the playing you’re doing so important and so unique I can’t come and hire an all-star band to replace you guys,'” Ray recalls. He followed orders, barnstorming with the current incarnation of his group right up until the time it hit the studio to record the new album.
“Man, I love having directions,” Ray says. “I really do love to be told what to do. I like to be produced. It’s like boxers working with a trainer; I like to be produced in the same way a boxer likes to be coached.”
Ray and company are already back on the road touring in support of Tennessee Alabama Fireworks. He also has a new line of customized, embroidered shirts coming out in conjunction with Western Ranchwear H Bar C that will be going wide after an initial promotion as part of pre-orders for the new album.