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Fri April 5, 2013
A Musical Life: Ray Clause
Raymond Clause has performed with the country band Against The Grain as well as with legendary country artists Johnny Lee and Mel Tillis and even jazz great Maynard Ferguson. He is the founder and administrative teacher of the Wichita Music Teachers Group, an organization that offers private music lessons to students of all ages in cities such as Wichita, Wellington, Winfield and Goddard.
In addition to recording with Against The Grain he has release two solo albums, Seven Rhapsodies, featuring improvised piano works, and Rich With Tradition, which focuses on his work as a country musician.
My name is Ray Clause. I’m mostly a country musician.
I think it bridges the gap between classical and rock. It’s the great grandfather of modern rock music and it was born shortly after classical music began its decline.
Lyrically—and even musically in some places—it can be a little rough around the edges. It can be rugged. But it’s also very precise. It requires an expert level of skillful musicianship.
Piano was my first musical experience. My mom used to clean house for a lady who had a daughter who was my older sister’s age. But she had a little keyboard in her room and they used to shut me out of there so I’d be out of the way while they did their older girl stuff. I guess my mom took notice of that and one Christmas the exact same make and model of that cheap Casio keyboard showed up under the Christmas tree.
She signed me up for lessons and the rest is history. I started taking [lessons] when I was six years old. I’m really proud of that and I’m really grateful to my mom for being the visionary who went and dropped a couple hundred bucks on a cheap toy to get me started.