(March 29, 1933 - November 18, 2012)


On March 29, 2013, Janice Wray and The Wrong Place Congregation gathered on the "neutral ground" in front of 1204 N. Rampart Street in New Orleans to spread Joel Wray's and Dave Warren's ashes there. We were joined by several members of Joel's and Dave's families. A video slide show of the events of that Easter weekend has been posted on YouTube.

Bringing Joel Wray Home To New Orleans

The slide show is sixteen minutes in length with over 190 photos. The sound track includes tunes by Joel Wray , Big Daddy Owen Tufts, Tirk Wilder, Steve Hill, Charlie Blue, & Eugene Autry.

Dear Friends,

We are so sorry to tell you that Joel passed away this morning at 7:15. He died peacefully in his sleep with Janice at his side.

We arrived last evening and made one last visit. His brother, sister, and nephew are here and another sister is arriving later today. Winder Lyons visited yesterday, and Ken Duren and Larry Lucas are on the way here.

Tentative plans are to scatter his ashes in front of the Wrong Place around the time of his birthday (March 29th). We hope we can all honor him together then. We will keep you posted.

Keep playing good music for good reasons.

- Walter Craft

We are all very sad to lose a good man, but relieved that his suffering is over. What he did for us all will live on.

Thank you, Joel.

- Steve Hill

Joel & Janice Wray, Wedding with Dave Warren, best man

This is such a loss. How different our lives would be without Joel. I know that he altered mine for the better. My heart goes out to Janice and family. My love goes out to all of Joel's far flung Wrong Place congregation.

Love and light,

- Ron Sowell

"Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint in the snow
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain
I am the gentle Autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, i did not die"

- Hopi prayer

Long, long ago, but it seems like only a couple of years, when we were all young and full of the enthusiasm of youth, I wandered into the Wrong Place. Ronnie Sowell and I had just been fired from a gig in Houma, Louisiana in a red-neck bar. As I recall, the owner made some derogotory comments about the length of our hair and that we didn't do enough Neil Diamond!

I was drawn by the sound of a lovely Guild acoustic guitar and striking voice, and there on the stage was Tirk Wilder. After his set was over I approached this guy behind the bar who seemed to be in charge and asked if I could audition. Joel could not have been kinder or more welcoming. Two hours later I was on the stage performing for the best audience I had seen in years. After a brief discussion with Ron and Sandy we all moved to New Orleans! Life was simple then.

We all owe a great debt to Joel and he will have my eternal gratitude. My sincerest sympathy to Janice and all who loved him.

Thanks, Joel; rest in peace.

- David Ziems

in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

We lost more than just a man. We lost a symbol of a turning point in our existence. We lost the guy who unwittingly opened a huge door for all of us.

The Wrong Place handed me the keys to the rest of my life. I learned, on that stage with black and white stripes in the background, how to be a solo act entertainer, which is how I supported myself for 35 years. I hope his family and other friends know how much what Joel did on this planet ended up meaning for SO many people.

I can still hear him doing "Georgia On My Mind" and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out". I remember him passing through Oklahoma City with his then-wife Jasmine in the 80's and them staying at my house in a sleeping bag in the back bedroom. I remember when he and Charlie Blue passed through on their way to Washington state, but I can't recall the time-frame.

I hope there is a special honorary castle in heaven for vagabond barowners. Can't you hear the music in a place like THAT?

May the Lord have mercy on your mortal soul, Joel Wray. I'll see you when I get there, buddy.

- Tirk Wilder

with Leather

the Wray Brothers & Mom, 1996 Reunion

in Mexico

with Linda Lemmons

Joel & Robin, 1996 Reunion, Springdale, Arkansas

with Dave Warren

We miss you, Joel !