With a career spanning over three decades, singer/songwriter, guitarist and music industry veteran Ray Herndon lives every opportunity to the fullest and never says no to the music. For as long as he can remember, music has been at the forefront of Ray’s life. From solo albums, performing with chart-topping bands, writing, and touring with iconic artists, Ray is an important, crucial piece to today’s music industry.
Ray is no stranger to the wild ride you take when having a career in music. Thirty-six years ago while Ray was a band member with J David Sloan and the Rogues, a serendipitous musical meeting in Luxembourg led Ray to meet the then up and coming singer-songwriter and Texas native: Lyle Lovett. Lyle, being without a fulltime band, reconnected with Ray in Phoenix where the band recorded what would become Lyle’s debut record. From this record, Ray has toured most of the world and been a staple member of Lyle Lovett and His Large Band ever since.
While in pre-production on Lyle’s second album Pontiac, Ray met the renowned MCA Records president Tony Brown. This connection led to Ray becoming a principal member of the hit recording trio: McBride and The Ride. The band filled out by Terry McBride and Billy Thomas, was hand-picked and signed to MCA Records by Tony Brown himself. During their three record, five-year career together, McBride and The Ride scored 6 top 10 singles including the number one song “Sacred Ground”.
After a career shared with many acts, Ray debuted his solo project Livin’ The Dream (Compendia Records 2007). This highly anticipated album was recorded and produced with Ray’s long-time friend and session piano ace/ producer Matt Rollings. Made to act as an audio time capsule, Ray and Matt included longtime friends and musicians to document the musical road they have all travelled together. The record featured legendary guest vocals by Lyle Lovett, Jessi Colter, and Clint Black.
Ray has no limits to his musical abilities. As a songwriter, Ray has had songs recorded by various country artists including Lee Greenwood, McBride and The Ride, Linda Davis, and Aaron Tippin. Ray also co-wrote the hit song; “Me and You” which propelled Kenny Chesney to the top of the charts for the first time in 1996, the song has been released on 3 of Chesney’s records to date. You might also remember Ray’s voice on Arizona news channel 3’s: “Good Morning Arizona” theme song for 20 plus years.
Currently, Ray is the owner and operator of longtime Scottsdale landmark restaurant, saloon, and live music venue Handlebar J. The Herndon family purchased Handlebar J from its previous owners in 1975. Proudly, in 2007, Handlebar J. and the Herndon family were inducted into the Arizona Music Hall of fame. Since their induction and just last year, Ray has become the sole owner and operator of this long legacy business. Ray’s vision and preservation of music in Scottsdale have made Handlebar J an iconic venue that the business will cherish for many years to come.
Aside from running Handlebar J and keeping this Scottsdale landmark alive, Ray stays extra busy recording, touring with Lyle Lovett, leading his local band The Herndon Brothers, and being a member of a philanthropist group “The Scottsdale Charros” who support education through spring training baseball and other ventures in Scottsdale, AZ.
To follow and contact Ray on his ever-growing journey, explore the links below.
Contact Ray: Rayherndon@me.com
Contact Handlebar J: mailto:Handlebarjaz@cox.net