Saturday, May 23, 2009

EVENT PREVIEW: Ron Leary's Last Stand

The Big 3 (Ron Leary, Kelly "Mr. Chill" Hoppe and Scotty Hughes)
Billie's Place (3179 Sandwich St.)
Saturday May 23, 2009

Okay, that 'last stand' comment may be a bit dramatic, but tonight is Ron Leary's last official booked gig as a Windsorite before he heads off to the Big Smoke and becomes a Torontonian. And it's tonight on the West end.

Ron is perhaps one of the most fluid performers you'll ever see. And by that I mean he has the ability to seemingly play with any rag-tag combination of musicians and still sound amazingly like Ron Leary. Whether it's him by himself, in a combo with Adam Fox and Yellow Wood's Rideout Brothers or as part of The Big 3 (which also features the stellar gifts of Kelly "Mr. Chill" Hoppe and Scotty "Shoes" Hughes), it never falters too far from the tree and Ron's songs still shine through as the star of the show.

Ron was a huge influence on The Hung Jury when we started out - he let us play with him when no one else knew who we were and he encouraged and groomed Kelly Nicholls into the songwriter and performer he is today - and I'd imagine he's had similar effects on a multitude of other performers and songwriters in this city. He's going to be a tough act to follow and an even harder cog to replace.

Ron's debut album, theroadinbetween, garnered critical acclaim across the country and parts of the U.S., and became the definitive soundtrack for summer in Windsor-Essex County for many local residents' during 2006. And as he prepares to begin work on the long overdue and highly anticipated follow-up, you can bet your bottom dollar no city will be as proud or as supportive as Windsor when he comes back for a release show.

The good news out of all this is that Ron will still be coming down to play shows in Windsor, just not as frequently as before. Which, in all honesty, may be a good thing. For him and especially for us. After all, perhaps now, knowing that another Ron Leary gig isn't right around the corner, many musicians will start to realize how much we've taken Leary's songwriting for granted and how much we actually miss it.

I know I will.

(Poster designed and created by Stephen "Earl" Nilsson)

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