Ray Davis passes

Ray DavisRadio legend Ray Davis, who hosted an afternoon show for WAMU’s Bluegrass Country for many years, died yesterday evening following a bout with cancer. He was 81 years old.

Ray spent 65 years broadcasting in the Washington, DC area, 28 of them with WAMU. He had retired in September of last year and was spending his time at his West Virginia home. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with cancer, and started treatment in May.

His love and knowledge of bluegrass music was extensive, and he often drew on his own collection of classic recordings to spice up the already deep catalog at WAMU. When the station moved its signal onto the Internet in 2001, Ray’s reach expanded from the capitol area to the whole online world.

Bob Webster, a fellow retired WAMU host, spoke glowingly of Ray when Richard Thompson profiled Davis as he celebrated 60 years of radio work in 2008.

“Ray Davis has demonstrated a career in radio seldom duplicated by others in the field. He has produced recordings by many of the first generation artists in bluegrass music and hosted concerts and festivals featuring a wide spectrum of the music. He shares his knowledge and insights of the early days of broadcasting bluegrass with listeners in a way that revives memories in the minds of the long-time fans as well as inviting the younger fans to learn more about the routes of the music. Through “thick and thin”, Ray has continued to play the music that serves as the standard by which many fans measure the future of our beloved art.”

We’ll have more to say soon about this icon of bluegrass radio.

Details about funeral services have not yet been confirmed.

R.I.P., Ray Davis.


UPDATE 12/5: Arrangements were announced this morning.

Ray Davis will be at Haight Funeral Home for viewings on Monday, December 8th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and again from 6:00-8:00 p.m. On Tuesday, December 9th, there will be a viewing from 10:00-11:00 a.m. followed by a service in the chapel. Attendees are welcome to travel 7 miles to the Mountain View Cemetery where Ray will be laid to rest.

Following the burial, all are invited to the Arcadia Fire Hall Activities Building in Upperco, MD for food and memories.

Haight Funeral Home & Chapel
6416 Sykesville Road
Sykesville, MD 21784

Arcadia Fire Hall Activities Building
16020 Carnival Ave
Upperco, MD 21115

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.