By Tom Wood
Four, perhaps five, months of hard labor remain before the highly anticipated grand opening, but country music and comedy legend Ray Stevens is already pulling back the curtain to reveal the wizardry behind his Oz-like dream of a lifetime.
It is easy to say “Everything Is Beautiful” – that’s the title of Stevens’ signature 1970 Grammy-winning song – about the multi-million dollar, 27,000-square foot project, but such is not the case.
This is a construction zone, and much work remains to be done before lights come up at Stevens’ labor of love – a 700-seat, Las Vegas-style dinner club that will open in late summer.
Welcome to the Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom, sitting high above a Bellevue strip mall that is anchored by a Walmart supercenter at 5724 River Road, just off Charlotte Pike.
When completed, it will become a real-life version of his CabaRay Nashville television show that airs on Public Broadcasting System stations across the country – and much, much more.
These are the latest ventures for the 78-year-old Music City mogul, who has enjoyed a phenomenal run of success since moving to Nashville in 1962.
Asked why he’d take on such a mammoth project at an age when other artists might retire or at least consider slowing down, Stevens has a very simple explanation.
“I’m not going to be having any fun when I’m pushing up daisies, so … But truthfully, the main reason I’m doing this is for fun,” Stevens says, flashing his trademark smile.
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