I was lucky enough to meet Don Shean. Don is a great guy, an extraordinary musician, teacher, and mentor. He deserves much of the credit for the musician I am today.
I began my musical journey listening to my dad’s collection of CDs. In particular, the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" inspired me to pursue the fiddle.
In 2005, at the rather advanced age of 11,
I started violin lessons with classical teacher April Cintron. I give her credit for laying the foundations that I built upon later.
A few weeks after beginning lessons, I had the opportunity to meet
Mr. Charlie Daniels in person. My Dad told him that he inspired me to take fiddle lessons. Charlie replied, "You gonna blame that on lil ‘ol’ me?
I’ll tell you what, son. It’s tough at first, but you stick with it and it’s a lot of fun." Those words continue to inspire me to this day.
I have regularly attended the Augusta Heritage Center since 2008, there I studied fiddle with many other greats, including Buddy Spicher, Casey Driessen, Darol Anger, and Brittany Haas and guitar with Tyler Grant.
I joined my first band, New Generation and played with them through 2009.
I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Kenny Baker. He helped me with technique and advice and will always be with me in spirit.
2007 - 2008
2009 - 2010
In 2009, I played with the back-up band for local country singer Katrina Lynn. In 2010, I was invited to join Full Steam Ahead. Along with performances, I had the opportunity to be apart of recording their album, Music from the Hearth. During this time, I also played with a civil war re-enactment band, Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray.
I attended Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camps, where I received instruction from Bobby Hicks, Byron Berline, John Blake Jr., and Billy Contreras among others. All of these folks and many more have contributed to making me the musician I am today. Thanks to all of you!
2011 - 2012
I got a call from the Wheeling Jamboree to fill in with Roy Clark Jr in 2012, that led to a position with the House Band.
That year, I won the Pennsylvania State Fiddle Contest, Grand Master Division, and placed 1st in the mandolin and guitar competitions.
I’ve had the opportunity to play with many regional bands and was invited to fiddle a tune on stage with Missy Raines and the New Hip at an appearance in Pittsburgh, PA.
Fiddlin' Ray is leading his band Fiddlin' Ray and the Turtle Snatchers based in Western Pennsylvania, presenting a combination of bluegrass, folk, old-time and western swing music.
He also performs with Folk 'Em All Trio and countless other musicians across the country. His popular solo album "Foundations" was released in 2019.
Along with his active touring schedule, Ray is also a professional music instructor teaching fiddle/violin, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and cello.