Wray’s album release will be a tournament

Dustin Wray has a new album out, so he’s celebrating with a CD release … cornhole tournament?

“With my work schedule and the schedules of a lot of my friends I usually play with, I don’t have time to do a traditional band anymore,” said Dustin Wray Hockensmith of Warren, who drops the last name for his recordings. “I’m not playing out, so we were brainstorming some other ideas.”

A friend, George Davis, had organized a charity cornhole tournament, so Wray decided to do the same.

Proceeds from the event — tournament fees, Chinese auction and 50 / 50 raffle as well as the CD sales — will benefit the Warren Family Mission and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Wray said he now is donating all proceeds from his music to charity.

“My work schedule is just too much, but the good side of it is I feel I’ve been blessed enough to just give everything to charity that I make through the music,” he said. “It’s a double-edged sword. I wish I could play more, but I have to look at it as a good thing.”

“I Forget” is Wray’s fifth release and his first album of secular rock in nearly a decade. Most of the songs were recorded at Ray Harris’ Better 1 Audio in Champion, but a couple of the songs were recorded at Higher Plane Studios in Willoughby and date back to the sessions for his 2008 album “It Doesn’t Matter What It’s Called.”

“The Ballad of Nathaneal Greene” is one of the newer recordings, but the song about the Revolutionary War general was written more than 20 years ago when Wray was in the U.S. Army.

“I had to write a paper on a historical battle,” he said. “I knew my family was related to General Greene, so I chose his Battle of Guilford Court House to research for my paper. I decided to write a song about him while it was fresh in my mind.”

History also turns up on the final track “Ghost Highway,” which references everyone from Ben Franklin to Winston Churchill.

“To me that’s a gem of a song,” Wray said. “Me and Raymond (Harris) worked a long time on that one. There are a lot different aspects. It basically teaches about history and a lot of historical figures are in the song. It uses a lot of sound effects, something I’ve never delved into before and I like the result.”

Wray acknowledges the influence of artists such as Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, Bruce Springsteen and The Eagles on his music, and the liner notes include a “Classic Rock Contest,” asking listeners to pick out the songs on “I Forget” that are most similar to the styles of those artists.

His fans shouldn’t have to wait nine years for his next collection of mainstream rock. Wray said he’s already started work on the next CD.

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