The Marty Smith Podcast: Ray Fulcher Talks Releasing Debut Album, Eric Church’s Influence, and Writing Songs with Luke Combs

by Chris Haney

We’ve got another great episode of The Marty Smith Podcast that released this morning, and country music singer/songwriter Ray Fulcher joined the show to talk about his life, music career, and his debut album.

Per usual, the guys spoke a bit about their week early on in the show. Host Marty Smith had himself a weekend as he and his wife flew to Minneapolis for a 24-hour trip. They flew in for the Eric Church and Morgan Wallen concert at the Minnesota Vikings stadium. This podcast is heavy on The Chief, so buckle in if you’re an Eric Church fan like all of us here at Outsider. Yet Marty’s story doesn’t stop there.

Smith amusingly shared how they partied and hung out until 4:30 a.m., but here’s the kicker. They had a flight to catch at 6:15 a.m. to Charlotte, NC. To make things even more amusing, the couple had to attend their daughters’ dance recital that evening while hungover and “worthless” as Smith described it. Let’s just say Marty and his wife “were licking their wounds all night” throughout an exhausting 59 dance numbers at the recital.

The guys joke around about much more before getting into the meat of the show when they welcomed Fulcher to the podcast. The artist and songwriter joined the podcast and chatted about his path into country music. In fact, Fulcher explains how he almost didn’t pursue a career in country music. Considering his success in the industry, you could say he made the right choice.

He also speaks about the impact country star Eric Church had on his career, and getting to meet the “Springsteen” singer and tell him exactly that. Fulcher opened up about writing songs with another famous country singer – and a friend of The Marty Smith PodcastLuke Combs. The songwriter also talks about his debut album, which just released last week. The guys tackle that and a lot more in this week’s episode.

Ray Fulcher Talks About His Debut Album on ‘The Marty Smith Podcast’

While Ray Fulcher has been been writing for other country artists for years now, he’s finally getting recognition for his own music. Last week, Fulcher released his debut album titled Spray Painted Line. The lengthy 17-track album came out on Friday, June 10, and is already gaining traction with fans.

While speaking to the guys on The Marty Smith Podcast, Fulcher talked about his whirlwind week as the album came out. He called the four days surrounding the release date the most hectic of his life. He also shared why he should’ve listened to his good friend Luke Combs’ advice. Speaking from experience, the country star told Fulcher not to release his album during CMA Fest in Nashville. What did Fulcher do? Release his debut album during CMA Fest.

“I don’t remember a crazier four-day span in my whole life,” Ray Fulcher said on the show. “And the reason is cause we had the album release and we had CMA Fest all at the same time. So Luke Combs, back when he released his first two albums, he did it during CMA Fest. After the second one he goes, ‘Ray whenever you release an album, never do it during CMA Fest.’ And so what do I do? I turn around and do it during CMA Fest.”

Not many artists release a debut album with 17 songs for fans to dive into. Fulcher has definitely gone against the grain in the way he’s done things. But he’s been nothing but encouraged from the reactions to the release.

“It’s been so awesome and so encouraging seeing people do what I hoped they do. And that’s dive into the album, listen to it, and find their own favorites,” Fulcher added.

Ray Fulcher Opens Up About Writing Songs with Luke Combs

As mentioned, Ray Fulcher and Luke Combs have known each other for years and have worked together on numerous occassions. As host Marty Smith brought up, the pair’s work together didn’t get much, if any, radio play. But their songs, like “When It Rains It Pours,” would go on to blow up down the line. The pair stayed their course and believed in their message, which helped give Fulcher confidence with his own project later on.

“It all really goes back to a conversation Luke Combs and I had, I guess it was probably in 2015. I’ll never forget it because I’ve kind of stuck with it since then. We were writing these songs that we were kinda tryna figure out what does Nashville want… We couldn’t really get any traction,” Fulcher shared on The Marty Smith Podcast.

“Luke and I had this conversation, and we were like, ‘Hey, we can’t really figure this thing out whatever we’re supposed to be doing quote unquote. So instead of trying to do that, let’s just write stuff that we love, that we feel moves us.’ At the end of the day if the worst thing happened and we didn’t become successful or whatever you want to call it, we can look back and have stuff that we’re really proud of,” he continued.

The pair created four songs together that year that every Nashville record company rejected at first. Those songs were “When It Rains It Pours,” “Hurricane,” “One Number Away,” and “I Got Away with You.” Three of those tracks would eventually hit No. 1 on the country music charts.

That’s when Fulcher and Combs both learned to follow their own “true north” and to have confidence in their own authenticity. A few months later, Combs was finally receiving record deals and Fulcher had publishing offers on the table. It took time, but being true to themselves and their own sound worked out well for the pair.

Ray Fulcher Touches On the Significance of Eric Church to His Career

During Ray Fulcher’s college years, he attended the University of Georgia. When he was 20 years old, he went to see Eric Church perform at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, and it literally changed his life. As he walked away from that concert, his world was turned upside down and he knew that’s what he wanted to do. Fulcher opened up about the impact Church had on his music career while talking on the podcast. And he also shared what it was like to meet his hero and share with him how much Church impacted his life and career.

In 2018, Luke Combs and Ray Fulcher were at the BMI Awards. At the end of the night, they ended up in the same room with The Chief himself. At one point, Church walks up to Fulcher and a few others and introduces himself. Church knew about Fulcher through his songwriting with Combs. The Chief told him that he’s been watching them and that they’re doing things the right way. He encouraged him to keep it up and stick with it although he knew Nashville could be a tough town.

Church also thanked him for his work on “Does To Me,” which Fulcher co-wrote with Combs. Church said it was one of his mother’s favorite songs. Overwhelmed with appreciation, Fulcher expressed his gratitude for Church’s influence on his career.

“Alright, Marty. You’ve gotta understand that in this moment, I’m overwhelmed,” Fulcher said to the host.

“Did you black out?” Smith said as everyone shared a laugh.

“For him to come up and say that meant more than I could ever say,” Fulcher continued. “Flash forward to the end of last year.”

Fulcher treated himself for his birthday and went to Church’s concert with some buddies in Greenville, SC. That night, he got a random text from Church’s manager. Eric wanted to hang out with Ray after the show. Fulcher ended up getting to spend around three hours with his hero and finally got to tell Church how much his music meant to him.

“I left that room that night feeling like for the first time ever that maybe I truly – not that I didn’t feel this before – but just, man, I belong. Cause Eric’s in here and we’re talking shop,” Fulcher explained. “And we’re talking about songs and he’s asking me my opinion on this song or that song… Whether he cared or not, [Eric Church] made me feel like he cared what I had to say. And I got to tell him the reason I’m here today, the reason I ever even moved to Nashville, is because 2006 inside Georgia Theatre. And I’ll forever go back to that moment.”

The guys talk to Ray Fulcher about much more on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out their entire conversation below, or listen to the full interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.