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franklin county times

Ronnie McDowell returns for annual Roxy show

FILE PHOTO
At his 2016 show, Ronnie McDowell was immortalized in stone with a commemorative tile in the sidewalk in front of the Historic Roxy Theatre in Russellville, to memorialize his many years of performing in the city, with each show raising funds toward the restoration of the Roxy.

“It’s one of my favorite venues that I work because I love history and all the history that surrounds all these little theatres in these towns, especially Russellville.” The venue, of course, is the Historic Roxy Theatre. The performer is Ronnie McDowell, returning for yet another Russellville show March 25 in what has become a much-loved tradition in Franklin County.

Last year’s performance was a special one, being McDowell’s 25th year in Russellville. This year’s show will be special for another reason – it coincides with his 67th birthday. “It will be cool to come down on my actual birthday,” said McDowell, who is also celebrating his 40th year in the music industry. “I am the most blessed soul on the planet because I’ve had such a wonderful career.”

Opening for McDowell will be the Joseph Baldwin Band. Baldwin said he once opened for McDowell at the Nashville Palace, and he’s excited about the repeat opportunity – and about the chance to play at the Roxy.

“I love that venue. I’m looking forward to playing there,” Baldwin said. “It’s a great place to play music.”

Baldwin plans to focus his portion of the show on his own music, playing songs most of the audience might not have heard before. “A lot of times I will play mostly cover music, songs I like and people request all the time,” Baldwin said. But fans are starting to clamor to hear more of his personal sound. “People want to hear more of my music because they have my CDs.”

So the veteran songwriter will bring his own tunes, which he describes as primarily country ballads and easy listening country, to the stage. “Most of my songs are more ballad-oriented than dance or fast-paced,” Baldwin said. “I think you can tell more of the story in a slower song, and I’m more of a storyteller. I like to tell a story that might make you happy or sad by the time it’s over.” He will perform “I’m Alabama” – “It just tells the history of our state: what makes Alabama, Alabama,” – as well as “Today You’re On Your Way,” which tells the story of a woman going to heaven, as two his numbers.

When McDowell takes the stage, he will kick it up a notch with his usual high-energy show. He will perform several songs off his new album, “Songs I Love,” and his latest favorite, “Two-Step Boogie.” “It just makes you feel good when you hear it. Makes you feel like dancing,” McDowell said. And for McDowell, that’s a key part of each of his performances. “That’s what entertainers should do – just entertain folks.”

He will also, of course, bring all the old favorites to the stage, including “Older Woman,” “You’re Going to Ruin My Bad Reputation,” “Unchained Melody” and “The King is Gone.”

McDowell, who has performed in every state since his career took off at age 27, has also embraced a creative outlet in painting, creating masterpieces of celebs like George Jones and, of course, his icon Elvis Presley. His current work in progress, “Forever Grateful” will be an answer to what fans have wanted for a long time.

“For years, my fans kept saying, Ronnie, do a painting of you and Elvis,” McDowell said. Inspiration for the requested painting finally struck and, in collaboration with his son Tyler, it’s now in progress. “That’s going to be the most unbelievable painting I will ever do. It speaks volumes.”

McDowell said he’s excited to return to Russellville and take the stage for his 26th year. “Wanda (Myrick) has just about sold my show out again. Those people come out for a specific reason – to hear me and the boys and my music, and that’s what makes it fun.”

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. March 25. Reserved tickets ($35, $30, $25 and $20) are limited, and general admission balcony tickets are available for $15. For more information or to purchase tickets call 256-332-3270 or 256-415-3270.

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