Ray Price at the Acuff 

Heartaches by the Number

Heartaches by the Number
Eighty-three and counting, the Cherokee Cowboy remains one of the last living links to the first wave of honky-tonk. Many a hillbilly hopeful has heard the clack of his bootheels on the streets of Lower Broad in the epochal ba-boom-ba-boom-ba-boom-ba-boom walking bassline that gives 1956’s “Crazy Arms” its shuffling gait. But Price has never seemed interested in outlaw cred. Few male country vocalists have shown such dedication to the idea of loveliness—of string arrangements like a dance partner’s gently shimmering gown, of singing that extracts every ache of longing from a marvel like Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times.” We’d call him the Tony Bennett of country, but it might be more accurate to call Bennett the Ray Price of pop.
Fri., Oct. 2, 7 p.m., 2009

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