Musician Ray Cardwell is back in Jefferson City, and Monday he was looking for a "new set of problems" on the set of a music video for his latest single.
A former music teacher at Helias and Fatima, Cardwell moved to Nashville a few years back and scored a record deal with Pine Castle Records, releasing his first album "Ray Cardwell Tennessee Moon," in January 2017. Now, he's back with his sophomore release, "Stand On My Own" from his latest record deal with Bonfire Music Group, which came out earlier this year.
On Monday, he was at The Mission on High Street shooting a music video for a song off the album called "New Set of Problems," in which he sings lines like, "I want a new set of problems 'cause these old ones are wearing me out."
"It's about a guy that's down on his luck, and he's got the 'grass is greener, tongue in cheek' look," Cardwell said. "So it's kind of a hapless look at life and about how the guy realizes he's got it fine."
The new album is crossing over from bluegrass to Americana roots, Cardwell said, including "New Set of Problems" which is described as being "a progressive and unique twist" with an "Americana-Country vibe" by the record label.
Starting at 9:30 a.m., Cardwell, his band members from Nashville and a couple local musicians were filming. In charge of the production were Director Jim Turner and Director of Photography Jay Pelzer. Pelzer owns Tag Production Studio, based in Jefferson City.
"I wanted to use local talent because we've got great talent here," Cardwell said.
At about noon, they were in the middle of shooting a scene around a poker table, which had been set up in the back room at The Mission. As snippets of the song played, Cardwell would lip-sync as he and the other guys pretended to play poker and sipped "whiskey" made of water and Diet Coke.
Around the table sat local musician and owner of Gumbo Bottoms Stephen Erangey, local musician Rob Frommel, and two members of Cardwell's Nashville band — Dave Mansfield and Kelsey Crews.
One at a time, the four men took turns shooting their "solos," where each would suddenly produce their instrument from under the table — an electric guitar for Crews, a fiddle for Mansfield — and play along to the track in the background, while the others bopped along to the music and laughed.
Short shots were redone two or more times, with Pelzer and Turner offering suggestions to the musicians between takes. When it came time for his turn, Crews jokingly picked up a poker chip and suggested he use it instead of a guitar pick, and the suggestion stuck.
When they felt satisfied with that scene, the group moved outside to film another shot — Cardwell emerging, fully decked out in a tuxedo, from a 1957, pastel yellow convertible Porsche, which was brought to the set by Jefferson City resident Lucia Kincheloe.
With a red carpet rolled out from the curb to the front door, Cardwell walked through a group of "fans," played by local friends of his along with the band members. After that, the party moved inside for a dancing scene in front of The Mission's stage, while fake money rained from the ceiling.
Other scenes set to be filmed Monday included Cardwell sitting by a pool and a shot of him riding a lawnmower down the street, carrying a bag of groceries, as children throw water balloons and squirt water guns at him.
"We're doing that one last," Cardwell said with a laugh in between takes.
The song was written by Michael "Supe" Granda of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Mark Horn. Cardwell said working with Granda was really exciting for him.
"They were a big influence on me as a kid, so it's kinda cool," Cardwell said.
Despite what may be considered a late start in the business, Cardwell has managed to generate some chart-toppers on the Grassicana Weekly Airplay Chart, with "Time to Drive" and "Alright" hitting No. 1 and "Hurricane Rain" peaking at No. 2.
"It's great. To be able to get a shot when I was 52 to get a chance to go and pursue my passion is pretty cool," Cardwell said.
The video for "New Set of Problems" is set to be released in a few weeks, and "Stand On My Own," is available for purchase or streaming now.