The Raymarkable Team
Ray Braswell Jr.
The Raymarkable Team
We are a full service recording facility offering state of the art digital recording studios. Our amazing gear, rooms, and experience make it easy for you to realize the vision of your project. Our goal is to assist you in taking your recordings to the next level. Whether you are doing voice over, or full band productions, we will assist you in raising the level of expertise for your project.
We are not limited by musical genre, and can accommodate just about any project. Helping our clients' achieve the serious focus of professional recording is our goal. It's going to be work, but it should be fun as well. Raymarkable Studio offers a large collection of state-of-the-art equipment, to help you achieve the best possible sounds, and capture every nuance of your work.
Ray Braswell Jr.
What Sun Studios is to Memphis, Gold Star is to Houston, and Malaco is to Jackson, Mississippi, Raymarkable Studio is to Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Some of the finest in traditional gospel music over the past 20 years has flowed out of Raymarkable Studio and its founder, the producer, musician, singer, and songwriter Ray Braswell Jr.
Born in Rocky Mount in 1979, Braswell was raised in a churchgoing family that loved music, especially traditional gospel. Surrounded by music and attending the church pastored by recording artist Dr. Thomas L. Walker (“One Day at a Time”), it was no surprise that young Braswell aspired to make it in the music industry. By age fifteen, Braswell, an aspiring drummer, transformed his parents’ garage into a recording studio. Armed with a Tascam 424 four-track mixer, he produced his first record, by a local female duo called Little Alice and Penny.
Braswell gained significant industry experience by singing with the Revivers, a quartet formed by former Sensational Nightingales lead vocalist Charles Johnson. He also toured for a time with the Canton Spirituals and with quartet maven Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson. In 2001, Braswell upgraded his four-track Tascom to a sixteen-track console and christened it by producing Tribute to Quartet Legends for Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson and the Spiritual Voices. “That was the record that really did a lot for my brand and for my studio,” Braswell says. “It opened the door for me.”
The album also brought Darrell Luster and, ultimately, Malaco Music Group to Rocky Mount and the steps of Raymarkable Studio. Luster, a fellow songwriter, singer, and musician, had been searching for a studio near his North Carolina home. He was hearing great things about Raymarkable and asked Braswell to play and produce songs he wanted to pitch to bluesman Clarence Carter and Floyd Taylor (son of soul legend Johnnie Taylor). “[Darrell] sang the songs to me over the phone and about an hour later, I sent him the music,” Braswell recalls. “From that point on, Darrell gave me the opportunity to work with him and introduced me to Malaco.”
It was for Malaco’s new 4 Winds quartet imprint that Braswell produced the Christian Angels’ 2009 debut, Bring It to the Altar. The album earned the female quartet three Stellar Award nominations in 2011 and a win in the Quartet of the Year category. As a result, Braswell become the producer for all 4 Winds releases. He moved his production facilities to a much larger work space in downtown Rocky Mount. By then, Braswell was more than just a producer. He was also contributing vocals to projects as well as anchoring rhythm sections on drums, bass, and keyboards.
During the mid-2000s, Braswell and James Bellamy assembled singers from around North Carolina to provide choral background for two selections on Malaco Records. One of the songs, “God is God (He Won’t Change),” produced by Braswell, turned out to be the final recording by Bishop F.C. Barnes, patriarch of the Rocky Mount music dynasty known as the Barnes Family. The song, featuring Darrell Luster, became a huge radio hit upon its release in 2009 and earned a Stellar Award nomination. The choir enjoyed singing together and decided to formalize, calling
themselves the North Carolina Community Choir. In 2012, the choir cut a Braswell composition, “All of My Help,” led by Bishop Barnes’ son, Luther Barnes. Braswell has also produced Stellar-nominated projects for the Gospel Legends: Pieces of Life (Humility, 2015) and Resting Easy (Humility, 2018). He was named Songwriter of the Year by the North Carolina Gospel Announcers Guild.
“I try to get to know the artist better than they know themselves,” Braswell explains of his production process. “A lot of groups try to sound like other people that inspired them. I help them find the greatness within themselves. I also let them know that, to me, it’s not just about cutting a record. I care about them. Their career matters to me. I want to make sure they are saying something that touches the heart of people.”
Traditional gospel quartets are Braswell’s stock-in-trade, and he has worked with some of the genre’s most significant names, including the Violinaires, the Messengers, and the Nightingales. While producing Malaco’s 2015 extravaganza, An Evening with the Legends of Quartet CD, Braswell worked with the likes of Rev. Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All-Stars, Clay and Cleave Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees, Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers, Jo Jo Wallace and Horace Thompson of the Nightingales, Spencer Taylor Jr. of the Highway QCs, Percy Griffin of the Swanee Quartet, and others.
But Braswell has no limitations when it comes to music. He has produced projects by urban contemporary gospel artist Hope Askew, by BET Sunday Best contestant Latice Crawford (“Look at Yourself Again,” 2015), and performed on southern soul artist Grady Champion’s “Bootleg Whiskey” (Malaco, 2014). In addition to in-studio work, Braswell has expanded his capabilities to include mobile recording for live programs.
Recent Braswell assignments include Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson’s Keep Pushin’ (Shanachie/SRT Entertainment, 2018), the Reverend Luther Barnes and the Restoration Worship Center Choir’s Look to the Hills (Shanachie/SRT Entertainment, 2020), and a forthcoming project by Paul Porter and the Christianaires.
“In the end,” Ray Braswell Jr. says, “it’s not about the engineer and it’s not about the studio. It’s about the artists and making them comfortable. That’s what I try to do.”
And that’s the gospel truth.
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