Ray Fulcher has made a name for himself as the go-to songwriter for Luke Combs. Ray had eight cuts on Luke’s 2017 debut album, This One’s for You, and another eight cuts on Luke’s 2019 sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get. Four of those singles—”When It Rains It Pours,” “Even Though I’m Leaving,” “Lovin’ on You,” and “Does to Me”—reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
On June 25, Ray will release new music, which includes a trifecta of tunes he co-wrote: “Girl in It,” “Way Out,” and “Bucket List Beers.” In addition, Ray will make his Grand Ole Opry debut on June 25. This fall, Ray will hit the road with Luke Combs on his What You See Is What You Get Tour and support Ashley McBryde on select dates.
Ray sat down with Outsider to talk about the 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter.
1. ‘Lightning’ – Eric Church
Ray Fulcher: This was the definitive song that made me want to pick up a guitar and write songs. It’s about a guy on death row. But just the way the lyrics hit and the emotion in the vocal makes me feel like I’m in the song. When I heard it, I said, “I’ve got to do THAT!”
2. ‘Neon’ – John Mayer
Ray Fulcher: The guitar—and the emotion it creates—in this song is unmatched in my opinion. The way it moves over everything gives the song an undeniable signature and mood. This characteristic is something I’ve never forgotten about and [songwriter] Jonathan Singleton and I try to incorporate it into my music as much as we can.
3. ‘Ocean Front Property’ – George Strait
Ray Fulcher: This is the first song I remember loving as a kid. As I became a songwriter, I realized how genius and tongue-and-cheek the hook is. Turning a hook is one of my favorite things to do as a songwriter. This one does it as good as any song ever. A Dean Dillon masterpiece.
4. ‘What’ll Keep Me Out of Heaven’ – Brandy Clark
Ray Fulcher: I actually found this song a couple of years after I became a songwriter in Nashville. It made me want to be a BETTER songwriter. It’s one of the best hooks and lyrics paired with just the right melody that I’ve ever heard.
5. ‘Blank Sheet of Paper’ – Tim McGraw
Ray Fulcher: I found this song before I ever picked up a guitar. I was—and still am—enthralled with the idea and genius behind it. This was the first song that made me go, “Man, this songwriting stuff is cool as hell,” before I actually ever tried it on my own.