Hangtown’s Musical Roots - Ray Park
Ray Park: big talent, big heart, bad timing
This is the fifth part in a series about music in the foothills.
Bluegrass pioneer Ray Park’s gritty authenticity and unrelenting work ethic was born, like the man himself, on a hardscrabble farm in the hills of Arkansas. He eventually settled in Placerville, where he and his wife Marlene raised a family in the 1970s.
Known nationally for his pioneering west coast bluegrass work with Vern Williams, Park also molded a cadre of local musicians and influenced a west-coast country-rock scene that blossomed into a major musical force.
His career bridges the old-time string bands of the early 20th century with everything that came later.
Fans recall a gifted picker and harmonist, unfailingly warm, generous and genuine, on and off stage.
Fellow musicians knew Park as a man with his eye on the horizon; a hard-working, versatile talent who could also be a hard-nosed perfectionist.
“It always seemed like Ray was destined for ...