Ray Scott on being a label owner, new holiday song & Christmas memories: Exclusive

Ray Scott

With his signature cowboy hat, traditionalist Ray Scott graced the red carpet at the inaugural American Country Countdown Awards Mon. (Dec. 20). With the release of his latest self-titled album, the singer fights for substance, admist the plethora of party tracks at mainstream country radio. Many reviews called the record one of his best cohesive records yet and a 2014 standout, and NashvilleGab had the chance to catch up with him on the carpet. On his post-album success, he said, "It's feel great. I released in Europe and the states. It's done really well. I had a No. 1 song with 'Drinking Beer' in Europe and the UK. We've done really well on Sirius XM and it's selling well. It's just an exciting time."

He added, "I'm a label owner now. When you're an artist and you own your own masters, it's a different playing field. I'm not out there trying to compete with all the major labels. I'm trying to figure out a way to do it the way I want to do it."

In addition to his new LP, he also released an stripped down version of the holiday classic "O Holy Night" to iTunes. "It's my favorite Christmas song ever. I did a little backwoods-sounding version of it with my producer David Brainard, who's up for a Grammy this year," Scott said. "I'm really proud of it. It's a little bit of a stretch. It's probably surprising for people who are familiar with my music to hear me do that song the way we do it. It's a little bit of a left field kind of thing."

"Growing up in a little town in North Carolina, we went to this little church called Lebanon Christian Church, and we always had this little Christmas program on the Sunday either right before or right after Christmas," he said of a memory that he's attached to the ballad. "The kids would get dressed up and be wisemen. It was something the church, as a congregation, would sing. Too, it's been recorded so many times. I was talking to a European friend of mine who told me that it had been recorded in [tons] of languages."

During the ACCAwards, Reba McEntire was honored with the first-ever Icon Award. On what makes an icon, Scott shared: "It's just somebody who transcends everything. [Reba] is someone who's gonna be great no matter what's in or not in at the time. She has accomplished so much, so many No. 1 songs. She's a household name, much in the same way that Willie [Nelson] and Garth [Brooks] are. There are a lot of artists and singers and songwriters, but there's not many that every achieve that status or even deserve to. That's a special thing."

Grab a copy of Ray Scott's latest album on iTunes now!

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