LAS CRUCES – Getcha some, Las Cruces!
Country music’s rising star and former Las Cruces police officer Frank Ray visited Picacho Middle School Wednesday to donate supplies and perform a short concert for the kids and staff. His stop in Las Cruces is the first of several upcoming visits to schools in the area.
Before Ray became known for such hits as “Country’d Look Good on You” and “Tequila Mockingbird,” he was simply a southern New Mexican, born in Deming. He spent 10 years serving the Las Cruces community as a police officer before quitting his job and pursuing a career in music full time.
Since then, he has shared stages with such popular performers as Luke Bryan, Ashley McBryde, Kane Brown and Hunter Hayes. And he made his Grand Ole Opry debut in November 2021, a milestone in the country music world.
As Ray’s success continues, he said he makes it a point to give back to his community. He donated school supplies and a Bose speaker for auxiliary use to the Las Cruces middle school. To top off his visit, he performed for a gymnasium full of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students Wednesday afternoon.
“That's really how I fell in love with my career path, was in school like this and just watching different performers and stuff,” Ray said. “So, if I can do something to inspire at least one kid out there, then I know that I've done my job.”
All roughly 760 students took to the bleachers holding handmade signs welcoming Ray and expressing their love for his music. Their screams shook the building as Ray set up on the gym floor with his guitar and only one other guitarist.
Ray sang about five of his songs, including several from his recently released EP “Getcha Some.” The artist explained that the phrase came from his friends in the police academy who were Marines. They used the phrase to inspire everyone to keep pushing when things got tough. Ray has carried the phrase with him throughout his music career as inspiration to leave everything on the stage. It’s also an invitation to audiences to “come party,” he said.
Ray was joined Wednesday by teacher and fellow musician Dawson Yarbrough of the Yarbrough Band of Las Cruces for a cover of Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”
“Whenever (Frank) was in Border Avenue from here, the Yarbrough Band and his band we played a lot of the same stuff and we did fundraisers together. So, we go back a ways,” Yarbrough said. “We’re all very proud of him. It’s good to catch up.”
Ray visits Columbus, New Mexico Thursday, donating more supplies and another performance. The border town is dear to Ray as he spent much of his childhood in the area. It is also unique in that students from Palomas, Mexico cross the border and attend school in the U.S. school.
Ray will next head to O'Shea Keleher Elementary in El Paso before traveling to Silver City to perform at Western New Mexico University along with Tenille Arts on Friday. He then catches a flight to Rhode Island for the next stop on his tour.
“Getcha Some” and formerly released tracks of Ray’s can all be found on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Country singer Frank Ray performs at Las Cruces middle school