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Always Home

Singer, songwriter, and Nashville musician Ray Fulcher reflects on growth, process, and the power of his Harlem roots

Article by Michelle W. Parnell

Photography by Randy Pace

Originally published in Evans City Lifestyle

When Columbia County native Ray Fulcher headed to the University of Georgia, he had no idea that a night out with friends - to see a then-budding country music star - would change his life.

“There was a new artist coming to the Georgia Theatre. His name was Eric Church, and he had one song on the radio at the time,” shares Ray. “I remember loving the show with the band and all, but then he sent the band off and did a few songs by himself.”

“One of the songs was called "Lightning". I don’t relate to any word in the whole song,” explains Ray, “but it was the performance of it and the way he made me connect with that…I’d never felt that way about a song before.”

From that moment, Ray knew he wanted to learn to play the guitar and write songs. “I went and bought a guitar and started trying to learn to play. Normally when you start playing music, you just want to learn some chords, but that night, I remember thinking, 'I’ve got to go do this, even if it’s just a hobby.'” With a new guitar and fresh passion, Ray honed his skills by spending time learning from friends who had more playing experience. Song writing soon followed.

After graduating from UGA with a Master of Education, Ray returned home to Harlem and teamed up with several local musicians. Under the band name County Line, they played venues all over the CSRA, and Ray continued his songwriting.

“It got to be one of those things where I thought, 'I could do this forever, and it can be a fun hobby, or I can try to make the jump, see if I can write songs, and travel the country playing,'” says Ray. “So I moved to Nashville in May of 2014.”

“I moved to Nashville when I was 28 and got a relatively late start compared to most people,” says Ray. “I hit the ground running. I think my best asset then was I knew that I didn’t know anything, so I just tried to soak everything up and go to every event and songwriters’ round.”

Unafraid of hearing "no," Ray consistently approached those who had found success, seeking them out for advice, collaboration, and experience. In 2017, Ray’s hard work paid off when he had his first number one song, "When it Rains, it Pours."

To Ray, singing and songwriting are two very different things that he loves and enjoys equally. “Singing and being on stage with the band and the energy of the crowd is an adrenaline rush,” says Ray. “Songwriting is different. Sometimes I write what I’m feeling, what my emotions are at the time, or what I’m going through. I’ve also always liked writing in the sense of putting myself in someone else’s shoes and making up a story. Some days, it’s therapy, and some days, it’s just storytelling.”

Even though he’s currently a Nashville resident, Ray’s hometown isn’t far from his heart and mind. “I’ve been to 46 states, most of them playing music. There really are some cool places,” he says, “but it makes you realize how special your hometown is. I think Harlem - the Augusta area in general - is a great place, and I carry that with me wherever I go. There’s not a better area to come from, especially if you’re going to be a country music songwriter.”

Support and encouragement from the hometown crowd means a great deal to Ray. “Everybody from my hometown, Harlem, and all over the Augusta area has been so supportive since the time that I left to head to Nashville,” says Ray. “A lot of people don’t get that because it’s kind of a crazy dream – it’s a one-in-a-million thing a lot of times.”

“I want everyone to know how much that’s appreciated and how much I think about that support,” shares Ray. “Although I’ve had a moderate amount of success, it’s just like any job, profession, or dream. There are time periods that I go through, and it’s like a roller coaster: some days, I'm like, ‘What am I doing?' The reason I didn’t quit, especially a few years ago, was because of those people and all their support. That’s very appreciated.”

We’re proud to claim Ray as one of our own and look forward to celebrating and enjoying his music for many years to come.

Follow Ray Fulcher’s career, song releases, and tour schedule by visiting and by following his official pages @rayfulchermusic on Facebook and Instagram.