If a great musician has someone sit in with them, it's not a chore to listen and discover why they're so highly esteemed. Ronn Crowder is just that sorta fella.
He is a musician's musician, I have heard him sing and play guitar and harmonica with the highly selective master musician Roger BonDurant at the Chevy Chase Inn many times, and Crowder has performed solo there as well.
These days, you will likely hear his music anywhere from Memphis to Nashville! However, tonight he plays at the Lyric Theatre for a charity event, and this Saturday night, he can be found at the Backstretch Bar & Grill on Bryan Station Road. Mayhaps if you're out that way you will drop in to hear his tunes! Ronn stopped by KimmyVille for a grilling, er I mean, to answer my questions and here's how our convo went...
Ronn Crowder tells me he grew up in Memphis Tennessee, and comes from a long line of fine musicians; his first instrument (naturally) being a guitar. However, "I was a singer long before I picked up the guitar. I come from a family of musicians. Cousin Earl Cobble played drums with Bill Halley and the Comets, grandfather JB Maxcy was first man to play harmonica live on the radio in 1922. My dad, brother and many cousins play music."
Crowder's first song with a band was a familiar Elvis tune. "At age 3, I sang cowboy songs like Back in the Saddle for the men at the corner barber shop, but first time I ever sang with a band was at age 10 with my cousin Ray's rock band. Heartbreak Hotel was the song. I have a photo of that performance published on the inside cover of my Memphis Town album on Altus Records," he explains.
I asked him if he were stranded on a desert island with only FOUR albums, which four would he choose? Crowder, "Muddy Waters Fathers and Sons; Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland; Doors Strange Days; and Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life a close 5th place..." he adds.
So, what is he up to these days? "I am working on a new project for Altus Records, as yet untitled, but will have some of the BEST Lexington musicians on it, including LEXI nominee Bob Bryant on bass, Steve DiMartino on Drums and Skeets Pennington on horns. I play every Saturday at The Backstretch in Lexington, December 10 at the Lyric Theater for a charity fundraiser, December 17 at Brick House Blues in Corbin, Kentucky; December 31 with my band RC and the NightShades at Brother's BBQ in Danville; I also have 2016 dates in Memphis booked at the Rum Boogie on Beale St and in Nashville at Carol Ann's Blues Bar.
I also asked Crowder if he had a secret talent, a hidden gift? "I can stand on one foot, rub my hair and tap my tummy, then reverse feet, rub my tummy and tap my hair," he laughs. "I am also a graphic designer with several album cover designs and writer with major journalism credits as a writer. I wrote book reviews for several years at the West Coast Review of Books Magazine, articles for People Magazine, The LA Daily News, The LA Times and others.
See more about Ronn and his band RC & the NightShades here:
Buy his solo albums at this link:
Buy the Snakebit album at this link
RC and the NightShades
Olde School Blues and Rhythm Band
*New announcement!! RC and the NightShades has been nominated as Best Blues Artist for the Lexington Music Awards. The nominations were made by popular vote of the public. Winners will be determined by a vote of all the musicians who are nominated in 40 or so categories and winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Lyric theater on Jan 31, 2016.