The Acoustic Folk Singer-songwriter, Autumn Ray, speaks with me in this Norman Music Festival performer question and answer session. Autumn Ray will perform at the Bluebonnet Bar on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 5:00 pm. Since this is the festival’s tenth year, here are ten questions to get to know Autumn.
To get people to know you, how would you describe yourself and your music?
My songs are stories, whether they be personal narratives or something I heard that stuck with me along the way. Folk and rock have influenced my sound, but the songs are always lyrically driven.
What song would you like a person who hasn’t heard your music listen to first?
“Small Steps, Large Doses” from the EP, “High Tide and the Moon,” embodies that first project when I was writing mainly solo acoustic songs.
But the coming EP, “Another Notch in the Bible Belt,” is more of a collaborative work with my talented bandmates, Trevor Shofner, Blain Shuler and Billy Muschinske. “Gunned Down” would be a good song to start with because it has that dark tone we’re shifting towards. The EP will be available this summer to download on iTunes or stream on our website autumnraymusic.com.
What’s your song writing process?
It’s all about the lyrics. It starts with a feeling, and it’s somewhat therapeutic to write about because, by the end, I have a better understanding of myself.
The melody typically comes with the lyrics, and I compose the acoustic guitar part around that. If it’s a song that I can hear the full band playing with, I’ll take it to the guys, and they’ll compose their own parts. They bring a dynamic energy to the music, elevating the emotion in a way that one person typically can’t accomplish alone.
What are your thoughts on the Norman Music Festival?
“People come together and volunteer their time to spread the love of music and showcase local talent in a FREE event!”Norman Music Festival is my favorite festival in Oklahoma. This will be our fifth year performing, and I’m always impressed by the hospitality provided. People come together and volunteer their time to spread the love of music and showcase local talent in a FREE event! You can’t get much better than that. Plus, there are great events and panels put on by the Oklahoma Film and Music Office which empower musicians with resources and networking opportunities.
In general, what inspires you?
People inspire me. You can’t have a story without some level of humanity.
You’ve just been offered an all expenses paid trip. Where would you go?
I would go on tour all around the country! I think there exists this misconception that if a band is on tour, they are highly successful. While it is a huge accomplishment, more often than not, the revenue goes right back into covering the expenses of the trip. So it’s always a good thing to show your support to those traveling troubadours!
Any plans while you’re in the Norman area?
I’m definitely going to catch Blake Burgess’s set at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Blue Bonnet Bar! He’s a profound lyricist and always an entertaining act to see.
Anything else you want the public to know about you?
I’m passionate about animals! When I’m not wearing my musician’s cap, I’m working towards wildlife conservation with the Oklahoma Zoological Society.
What do you think should be the Ninth Wonder of the World?
My sock drawer. Where the heck do those lost socks go?!
What was the most extreme adventure you’ve had?
A few years ago, my friend Katherine and I felt like taking a summertime swim. We were in her hometown of Little Rock, and she’d heard of this beautiful quarry. We got ahold of some directions that were at least 15 years old with instructions like “pass the old bar called ‘Friends,’ go over the railroad tracks, and turn at the ice cream truck.” After pestering a few beguiled passersby, we deduced that the ice cream truck was, in fact, a dilapidated snow cone billboard. When we reached the hill, there was a “no trespassers” sign that failed to thwart us. It ended up being a two-mile hike (in our swimsuits and flip flops), but when it seemed all hope was lost, we stumbled upon the most magnificently clear body of water which stretched as far as the eye could see. That was a satisfying swim.