Michael Ray has announced a new EP, Higher Education. The project is due out on Aug. 27, and the country singer is previewing it with a new song, "Just the Way I Am."

The mid-tempo jam serves as a musical autobiography, though Ray himself didn't write it; rather, Michael Hardy, Ben West and Josh Miller did. While the lyrics feel like a personal description, they also seem as though they could be about any one of us: for example he sings, "I might cuss a little more than I probably should / I'm a poor-man's Hemingway back in the woods.

As Ray sings, "Might slow it on down And wave at a passerby / Hug your neck, say, “I love ya," 'stead of sayin' goodbye ... I’m a cross around my neck / I’m a hard to keep my temper in check / I’m a night you might regret / I’m a time you’ll never forget,” listeners get the feeling he’s a good guy with whom to have a good time.

In the song's accompanying music video, Ray takes viewers on a tour of his hometown, Eustis, Fla., and shows off the places he got his start:

"Just the Way I Am" is one of seven songs on Ray's Higher Education EP, which he says "is about going through life and the hard knocks that make you who you are ... coming out of it stronger, having let it change you without hardening you." Its title track features Kid Rock, Lee Brice, ZZ Top member Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana.

In addition to "Higher Education" and "Just the Way I Am," Higher Education features Ray's current single "Whiskey and Rain." The song currently sits just outside the Top 20.

Fans can catch Ray on the road for his his Just the Way I Am Tour, which is set to wrap in the fall at the Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Tickets are available at MichaelRayMusic.com.

Michael Ray Higher Education EP
Warner Music Nashville

Michael Ray's Higher Education EP Tracklist:

1. "Whiskey and Rain" (Josh Thompson, Jesse Frasure)
2. "Just the Way I Am" (Michael Hardy, Ben West, Josh Miller)
3. "Holy Water" (Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson, Michael Hardy)
4. "Picture" (Michael Ray, David Garcia, Michael Hardy)
5. "Higher Education" feat. Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana (Tim Montana, Derek George, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell, Frank Rogers)
6. "Live Without You" (Michael Hardy, Jessi Alexander, Corey Crowder)
7. "Didn’t Know I Was Country" (Michael Ray, Taylor Phillips, Ashley Gorley)

The (Still) Most-Anticipated Country + Americana Albums of 2021:

The year is more than half over, but there's still plenty of great music coming — and even more we're hoping to see announced soon.

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