…he is a study in easygoing amiability and unforced charisma. He charms crowds with self-teasing humor, tart progressive insight, and a lulling Southwestern folk sound… Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
Ronny Cox is an artist who wears a variety of hats –– from actor to musician to family man –– but if there is one common thread that pulls it all together it’s the “real” person that wears each hat and the warmth his craft brings to anyone exposed to his many talents. His musical style is eclectic and he confesses that he has no set-in-stone criteria for picking or writing songs.
Ronny grew up in New Mexico listening to Texas Swing tunes, but then played rock & roll in high school, and was eventually drawn to folk music after graduating from college. Born in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, he’s the son of Lounette (née Rucker) and Bob P. Cox, a carpenter who also worked at a dairy and played guitar for all the local fiddlers when the overhauls were peeled off. Ronny grew up in Portales, New Mexico, and his craft as a singer/songwriter is a testament to his life on the Southwestern desert. The third of five children and a father to two sons of his own, Ronny brings his extraordinarily view of life into a magnetic, likeable, onstage persona.
With a career that spans over a hundred and twenty-five films and television shows, Ronny Cox is often ironically identified with the villains he has played in movies like TOTAL RECALL, ROBOCOP and the ruthless politician in the hit science fiction TV series STARGATE. Ronny’s first film… his first time acting in front of a camera was as the guitarist in the famous “dueling banjos” scene in DELIVERANCE. His second big film was BOUND FOR GLORY, Hal Ashby’s film about Woody Guthrie.
The truth is that Ronny has been writing songs and telling stories for over four decades. Only in the last 10 years has the world seen him evolve from being an “actor who sings” into knowing him as a “singer who happens to have a pretty fair career acting.”
His first album, titled RONNY COX, was released in 1993 for Mercury Records in Nashville and, according to Ronny, was “pretty much a country record –– at least it seemed so to me.”For his next album, ACOUSTIC ECLECTRICITY (2000) Ronny wanted a more “folkie” approach, so he turned to his son, John, to produce it. COWBOY SAVANT (2002) was a studio album produced by Wendy Waldman and his next two albums, RONNY COX LIVE(2004) andAT THE SABASTIANI (2006), were recorded live with almost no over dubs or corrections, “The idea was to capture that spontaneous magic ,to give people a real sense of what we do in a live performance.”
For his next release, in 2007 Ronny’s friend, producer and musician Jack Williamsencouraged Ronny do a tribute album to the great Mickey Newbury, one of the great Texas songwriters. HOW I LOVE THEM OLD SONGS (2007) was dedicated to Mary and re-released in February of 2010.
“I enjoy all kinds of music and I try to bring that eclectic approach to the music I play, Ronny says. “I’m interested in weaving a tapestry of songs and stories with an over-all arc that eventually comes together and tells us something about ‘the human condition’. I know that sounds kinda pompous… but that’s what I’m trying to do….. and to have a few laughs along the way.”
A few years ago, Ronny’s wife Mary passed away. He met Mary when he was 14 and she was his only love… she meant everything to him. He confesses that one of the ways he has dealt with the loss of Mary has been through the music. The result is Ronny Cox’s newly released album, RONNY COX – SONGS WITH REPERCUSSIONS, a personal studio collection of songs that are mostly selected from other sources with three original songs. Repercussions made it to the #1 spot of the Folk DJ list in the summer of 2009.
Repercussions is one of Ronny’s finest and most honest pieces of work. “The truly great thing about music is that it’s like a double-edged sword. Songs can be frivolous or sad but they can trigger an almost overwhelming emotion… immediately. What I have found is that if I open up to my audience, they not only accept that, they also help me get through it. It is that sharing… of silliness, or sadness… or mutual understanding that I find to be very compelling.”
Like Ronny, the songs are eclectic, funny, touching, insightful and compelling. Each tune showcases an original, sophisticated lyric-driven sound and the stories that accompany these songs… are something else entirely. “The songs that I write and choose reflect that I pride myself in being able to find great songs and record them, not as covers, but as extensions of what I do as a performer.”
Ronny Cox tours regularly with his band and at times solo or with Jack Williams. You can catch him performing at theatres and folk music festivals all over the country in the coming months. If you act quickly you might be able to join him and a select few for a tour through Ireland where Ronny takes you through the green hills with his guitar over his back and a couple of stories tucked away to provoke a smile.