Cameron Ray Is off to Tennessee but not Before Headlining The Kessler

Cameron Ray will play The Kessler this weekend.
Cameron Ray will play The Kessler this weekend. Cal Quinn

Cameron Ray, a local singer-songwriter, will leave Dallas the right way with a headlining show at The Kessler Theater on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Ray has lived in Dallas off and on for 30 years, and even though he is moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife to pursue his music career, he says he hopes to be back in town every couple of months.

“Living in Knoxville will be my new home, but Dallas will always be my home,” Ray says. “I see myself coming back as much as I can.”

His headlining show would not be complete without Ray sharing the stage with fellow local artists, and his longtime friends, Jacob Metcalf and D and Chi.

“Ending it with a full-band show with people who are very dear to me is what I envisioned in headlining The Kessler,” Ray says.

“Ending it with a full-band show with people who are very dear to me is what I envisioned in headlining The Kessler." – Cameron Ray

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The Kessler has been a home to Ray for the last three and a half years, and he has seen some of his favorite artists perform there, watching from just a few feet away.

He started attending shows there two to three times a week, and over time, he created relationships with the people who worked at the venue. One night, when they were short staffed, The Kessler’s artistic director, Jeff Liles, asked Ray to work the door.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, might as well.’ I started working at The Kessler and ironically they just asked me to keep coming back, just helping out at the door and being the first face people see,” Ray says.

By 2015, Ray had been listening to Griffin House, an artist from Ohio, for about 12 years. So, when he saw House was going to play The Kessler, Ray asked Liles if he could be the opening act. About a month later, Ray had nearly forgotten he inquired about playing but was approved by House’s agency to be the opener.

Ray has come a long way since then. He has played The Kessler four times, recorded an EP and a single with producer Taylor Tatsch and his music has been played on 91.7 KXT. Still, his time in Dallas would not be complete without headlining The Kessler.

With a solid lineup and a full band behind him, Ray says he will finally be able to cross a huge goal off his bucket list.

“On my Dallas bucket list of places to play, [The Kessler] was always number one,” Ray says. “I feel like it’s a very good goal achieved.”

The doors for this all-ages show open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn