Ray Pratley

Ray started playing guitar at the age of ten. His father Ed was a country performer and was friends with many of the early greats of New Zealand country music, notably Les Wilson and Cole Wilson and the Tumbleweeds. Cole Wilsons playing became an early influence of Rays. Ray fell in love with the sound of the guitar at a very early age . His main influences were Peter Posa, The Shadows and Chet Atkins. He spent many hours trying to copy the sounds of their recordings. He entered numerous talent quests and was asked to do a few guest appearances with a local country band. His teen years saw him spend countless hours practicing and playing in the occasional garage band.

 

In Australia he met Bill Townsend who had been rhythm guitarist for jazz great Graeme Bell. Bill introduced Ray to the late Greg Parsons Greg and Ray spent many hours playing together and it was during this time that Ray experimented with lead playing. Greg introduced Ray to Ben Kelly and so they say the rest is history. 1n 1989 Ben and Ray formed Midnight Riders. Ray gave up playing in 1998 due to an accident but resumed again in 2006 and returned to Midnight Riders as lead guitarist. Midnight Riders disbanded in 2013 after 24 years together.

Ray released "Me and My Guitar" in 2012 and in 2013 was a finalist in the instrumental section of the Gidgee Coal awards with his song Cow Waddle.

In 2014 he won the NSW Musician of the year Gold Medallion. In 2014 Ray was asked by Lindsay Waddington to record a Guitar Duet album, Waddo and Ray "12 String" which was released recently. Ray now performs mainly with his wife Samantha Bellamy in their duo Show Pony Express around venues and festivals Australia wide. He can be seen around the Tamworth Festival each year either with Sam or on the Kross Kut Record and Tomkins guitar showcases. He drives the business end of their careers and also writes and does some co-writing with Samantha who is a highly respected and prolific song writer.

 

2015 has seen the release of Showpony Express. Ray and Samanthas first album together.

in 2016 Ray won the Brumby award for instrumentalist of the year with his self penned Rabbit Flats. He was also a  finalist in the Gidgeecoal and Bungendore Bush Ballard Awards and finalist in the Gold Medallion Media awards NSW muscisn of the year. Ray and Samantha were finalists in the Gold Medallion Media Awards National Colarboration of The Year

2016 Ray was a top 10 finalist in the ASA song writing awards

2017 Ray won Brumby award for instrumentalist of the year