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Beloved Louisville Musician Warren Ray will get a fitting Tribute this Saturday at Headliners

Louisville musician Warren Ray
Melissa Ray
Louisville musician Warren Ray

Warren Ray was a filmmaker, author, house painter, artist, musician, and all around creative guy, according to friends and family. He passed away at the age of 57 on December 22, 2022. He was also dearly loved by many in the Louisville music community which is why there will be a tribute to Warren at Headliners Music Hall on Saturday, March 18th that will be free and open to all and starts at 7pm. Bands include Uncle Wilson who will play his favorite music by Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Wilco, Grandaddy Short Leg, Boxwine Prophets, and guest singers including Peter Searcy and Kathleen Hoye. There will also be a screening of the film America's Backyard Legend about Warren, as well. We spoke with organizer and longtime companion of Warren's, Melissa Ray, about the event and who he was.

The Louisville music community obviously loved Warren Ray as they are gathering for quite a tribute at Headliners on March 18th for him. Why do you think he was so beloved by other musicians?
Warren Ray was a genuinely authentic, kind hearted human being and just an all around COOL guy that everyone loved. He respected all walks of life and treated everyone with the same utmost respect. Always greeted with "Hey buddy, how you doing" no matter if he was having a bad day. His intelligent, quick witted personality, he always had a story or joke to share to make you laugh. Warren was a jack of all trades, a musician, actor, film maker, artist, and everyone's favorite professional house painter. I think Warren was so beloved by other musicians in this community because he remained his true self and never detoured from that. He didn't try to fit into any specific music genre, he didn't want to and he took pride in that. I may be biased, but in my opinion, Warren Ray was one of the best, most prolific songwriters of our era. His songs are laden with melancholy, some might even say a little awkward, but they are a real and raw script of his life's story and I think a lot of people can relate to. Warren wasn't afraid to show his emotions in his song writing. He wrote about his life, love and heartache, songs that made you stop, listen and reflect. Warren has been in the Louisville music scene since the late 80's, played nearly every venue in town over the years, with acts such as Lucinda Williams, Uncle Tupelo, Dwight Yoakam,The Band and Hank III, not many solo artists can say that. He released eight albums and starred in 24 films. Warren Ray was just the epitome of coolness, everyone loved him and he loved everyone.

There will be an all star band that evening called Uncle Wilson. Who's in the band and what kind of music will they be playing in Warren's honor?
Uncle Wilson is a new local tribute band that covers some of Warren's Favorites: Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Son Volt. Members Include:
Dave Ernst, Bill Heuglin, Glen Howerton, Ian Thomas, and Phil Wakeman

There's also going to be a screening of America's Backyard Legend that evening. Is this a documentary about Warren? And if so, what's the story it tells? Who made the film?
America's Backyard Legend is a documentary that I produced honoring Warren's legacy and his lifetime dedication to the Music, Movies and Arts community.

Anything else you'd like to add about Warren or the event?
I'm so grateful to Billy Hardison, Headliners Music Hall, John Hawkins, the Louisville music community and all of Warren's friends for coming together to put on this special event to honor Warren's legacy.

Tribute to Warren Ray at Headliners, 3/18/23
Melissa Ray
Tribute to Warren Ray at Headliners, 3/18/23

Hear Warren Ray's "Tangerine Durango" song below.

Laura is the afternoon host from 3-6 pm weekdays. Email Laura at lshine@lpm.org