John Ray Baxter
Born: June 19
Born the youngest of three brothers and three sisters, John Ray grew up in a musical family where everyone sang, played an instrument or both. He sang in church and was the only one of six children whose love for music extended outside the home. In 1972, John Ray began playing his guitar in a three piece band before forming his own band called “Suns of Country”. He and his band traveled to Louisiana where he sang on the Louisiana Hayride, down to Houston and back up to Dallas.
John Ray showcased his talent when he wrote his first song, “King of Broken Hearts”, and released it on a 45 RPM single in 1979. Over the next several years, John Ray sang in Branson, Missouri and worked with George Jones at Jones Country at the Possum Holler Ballroom in Colmesneil, Texas. He wasn’t a stranger among some big names in country music. He has opened shows for Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, Vince Gill, Johnny Paycheck, Leona Williams, Leroy Parnell, Johnny Rodriguez, Pat Green, and played on stage with Randy Corner, just to mention a few.
John Ray has been with The Liberty Opry since January 2008 and in his words, “I’ve been fortunate to be associated with great musicians and fans for many years, and it continues today at The Liberty Opry. Thanks to all of you!”
John Ray’s only daughter, Melissa Rene, inherited her daddy’s love for music and could sing beautifully herself. Sadly, in 2003, she left this world much too soon after a long illness.
To my loving wife, “I love you”. Thank you Rhonda for believing in me. If not for your love and support, “I” probably wouldn’t be.
John Ray –we’re proud to have you as part of the great Liberty Opry Band – thank you!