Ray Deaton, the original and long time bassist and bass singer with IIIrd Tyme Out, died earlier today. He was 66 years of age.
Prior to helping create IIIrd Tyme Out, Ray had been a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, along with Russell Moore and Mike Hartgrove. They all departed Lawson’s band together to form their own, and invited Alan Bibey to join them on mandolin. Bibey then suggested that Terry Baucom might be willing to come in on banjo. That was the start of a legendary outfit back in 1991.
Deaton was also a gifted vocalist, who could jump from singing tenor atop Moore’s soaring voice on one song, and drop to singing bass on a quartet number on the next. Those who remember IIIrd Tyme Out from those days can recall Ray’s voice rattling the low end of the sound system on the great Gospel pieces they used to do.
After leaving IIIrd Tyme Out, Ray played for a while with The Anita Fisher Band, until health issues got in the way.
For the past ten years he had suffered from cardiomyopathy and other heart ailments, and his daughter, Christy Stocks, told friends today Ray had been in and out of the ICU this past few months, and had dropped down to only 110 pounds. Today he was unable to get his breath, and died peacefully.
No information concerning funeral arrangements has yet been announced.
R.I.P., Ray Deaton.