Martin Delray (1949–)

aka: Michael Ray Martin

American country music artist Michael Ray Martin (known professionally as Martin Delray) is best known for his 1991 cover of the Johnny Cash song “Get Rhythm.

Michael Ray Martin was born on September 29, 1949, in Texarkana (Miller County). After graduating from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1972 with a BA in English, he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. After he left military service at the rank of private first class, Martin relocated to North Hollywood, California, and began playing the West Coast club circuit, opening for such acts as Doug Kershaw and Juice Newton. Martin eventually became a staff songwriter at a music publishing company owned by Seals and Crofts. One of the songs he wrote during this period, “Old Fashioned Love,” became a number-one hit for the Kendalls, a father-daughter country duo, in 1978. Throughout the 1980s, Martin continued to write songs and perform at clubs and small venues. His first single release was “Temptation” in 1985 on the Compleat label; the song was credited under the name Mike Martin. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1988.

In 1990, Martin was signed to Atlantic Records after label chief Rick Blackburn heard one of his demos. Martin changed his name to Martin Delray to avoid confusion with fellow singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey. In January 1991, he released the album Get Rhythm. The album’s title track was a cover of a Johnny Cash song that Cash wrote and recorded in 1956 with Sun Records label and re-released in 1969 with Columbia. Cash was so impressed with Delray’s version that he agreed to sing harmony on the song as well as make an appearance in the song’s music video. The single went to No. 27 on the Billboard Hot Country Tracks chart. The album also included the song “Lillie’s White Lies,” which went to No. 58 on the Billboard country chart. Martin co-wrote two songs that appeared on the album—“New Wine” and “I Let My Love Do the Talkin’.

Martin released the album What Kind of Man in November 1992. He only charted two more singles: “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” and “What Kind of Man.” After poor record sales and limited chart success, Martin was dropped from Atlantic by Blackburn, who had also released Cash from Columbia in 1986.

Martin works for the City of Brentwood, Tennessee, as a professional tennis instructor at a city-owned community center. He performs occasionally in Nashville clubs and local fairs and festivals in Tennessee and northern Alabama. He is married with no children.

For additional information:
Prell, Jon. “Where Are They Now: Martin Delray.” WKDQ.com, January 23, 2014. http://wkdq.com/jon-prells-where-are-they-now-martin-delray (accessed May 17, 2015).

Slater, Marli. “My Kind of Country: Martin Delray.” MKOC.com, July 18, 2005. http://www.mkoc.com/hidden/martin_delray.htm (accessed August 5, 2015).

Darrell W. Brown
Sherwood, Arkansas

Last Updated: 09/05/2015

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