Michael Ray has revealed plans for his next musical project. His new six-song EP, Dive Bars & Broken Hearts, is due out June 23.

The singer has been working with veteran producer Michael Knox (Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett) on the project, and he says the group of songs captures his traditional country influences, as well as his upbringing in a hardworking family in Florida.

"My kind of country doesn’t come from TikTok or a TV show," Ray says in a press release. "It’s all those straight-up country singers who knew life doesn’t always turn out like you think, but you keep going. I’m from a family of EMTs, cable-splicers, first responders — they had to get up and go to work, no matter what was happening. When they got home, they reached for the music, whether they were going out with my grandpa Amos to watch him play or some band they were playing in."

"That’s a whole different way to do this, and Michael [Knox] got it," he adds. "Just like he knows how dive bars and broken hearts are a lot like George Jones songs and steel guitars — they go together."

The project is his first collection of songs in nearly two years, following his 2021 EP, Higher Education. He says he took the period between EPs to reflect and determine the style of music he truly wants to make. The answer he found is a brand of music telling a different kind of story.

"Taking time to really think about what I wanted to say, writing some and listening to a whole lot of songs, I realized: people aren’t singing about what happens when you go from wild-eyed kid to anything other than a settled down husband and young father," he says. "This is country for the rest of us. For kids who only really listened to country music who know their Gilley from their Conlee or their Conley."

Ray's Higher Education album produced two singles: His latest No. 1 "Whiskey and Rain" as well as "Holy Water."

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