It was only this past December that we announced that bluegrass veteran Jeff Parker had brought his young guitarist and vocalist, Colin Ray, in as a partner in the band they were promoting. The group had appeared as a showcase act on the 2019 Bluegrass Ramble at last year’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, where they ignited a great deal of interest.
Colin has a lovely singing voice, and Jeff’s has been a staple of top groups like Lonesome River Band and Dailey & Vincent, and the pair of them sang beautifully together. Ray actually sings even higher than Parker!
But the emergence of the novel coronavirus this winter, and the show cancellations that followed the widespread lockdowns, have claimed them as a victim.
Speaking with Jeff this morning, we learned that they have decided to call it quits. Parker told us, “Due to COVID and everything that’s happening, we have decided to disband Jeff Parker and Colin Ray.”
“At the start I figured to give it three years, but COVID has changed our plans. Like everyone else, we have lost 2020, and with all that is going on with promoters, and I don’t think we can get our price back up for 2021 to where it needs to be to keep going.
At my age, I just don’t have two more years to build this up to where it can support us. It’s unfortunate that we hit at a bad time with this new act, but there you go.”
The recently completed album by the Parker/Ray partnership, My Home Town, will be released as planned. Bluegrass radio can expect to hear more about that soon.
“I’m going to make myself available as a sideman if anyone needs me, and do others things like teach my lessons,” said Jeff.
“We part as friends, and I’m saddened about it, but we’ve got to move on.”
We will speak with Colin later this week about his future plans. Look for that on Thursday.
Farewell Jeff Parker and Colin Ray. We barely knew ye.