Q&A with Virginia-based Ron Addison, personifies rhythm and blues with his soulful and rocking lead singing

"Playing is music is like most things in life. You can do your best and some people will think you are great and give thanks for your effort. But many times, your effort will go unnoticed or unappreciated. There are too many different types of people, likes and dislikes to let it change you."

Ron Addison: Ride on Life’s Emotions

From the long arm of the law to the outstretched arms of blues and rock, Ron Addison personifies rhythm and blues with his soulful and rocking lead singing. After a career in the military as a helicopter pilot and a second career as a Virginia State Trooper Addison returned to his first love, music. Growing up on country music, as a teenager he also started loving the blues and rock and roll. Ron played and sang while in the military and then, when he was in the State Police, had a trio with his brothers. The music became full time after he retired and is truly a labor of love. His music is tight and loose in all the right places, and shows a precision and maturity some artists take a lifetime of recording to achieve. "Ride On" (2022), the title of Ron Addison's new album, couldn't be more apt; it's a deeply personal testament to perseverance on a myriad of fronts. Written and recorded in the wake of the passing of his wife of 44 years, the record's 12 tracks not only celebrate and tell the story of a life together, they work through the grief and ultimately offer strength and hope.

(Photo: Ron Addison at Classic Recording Studio in Bristol, VA)

His guitar visions - masterfully executed by longtime lead guitarist Herb Olshin - convey a range of emotion evocative as any vocal could offer. Under Addison's direction, references run the gamut of guitar icons from BB King to Carlos Santana in tone and sustain, but remain wholly original in fluid soloing. Addison's strengths as an arranger come to the for front as well, as he switches things up at times with rhythms and tempos to create tropical and latin moods. No matter the inversions everything winds back around to the blues every time, and that blues core shines through as the foundation for all his songs. That, and glimmers of light in the darkness.

Interview by Michael Limnios               Special Thanks: Larry Kay / Night Train PR

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

One of the main lessons I’ve learned from the blues is Nothing last forever. No matter how bad things may seem, life will provide a way of letting you climb out of the hole and succeed. Unfortunately, the good times won’t always last as well.  But you can’t have the highs without a few lows.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I like to think of my songs as a cross of life’s emotions. I grew up on Country music so a story has always been important to me. I feel the combination of traditional Country combined with the blues and early rock I loved growing up as well. I think the older I become and more experienced in music that reflects more in my sound. I want the listener to feel many emotions.

"I think the older and more traditional blues were purer with the everyday experiences of life. People want to relate to songs about work, love, and dreams. Being able to dance while reflecting in the music is an extra touch." (Photo: Southwest Virginia based Ron Addison plays the blues- rock to make your feet dance and your heart ready to burst with emotions.)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I once performed a song I had written about child abuse and how children would be treated in Heaven. Will there be crayons in Heaven was the first line of the song. I didn’t know at the time but a grandmother of a local little girl missing and found murdered was in the audience that evening. After the show she hugged and thanked me for the message in the song. It felt wonderful to have made a difference in her time of sorrow.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I think the older and more traditional blues were purer with the everyday experiences of life. People want to relate to songs about work, love, and dreams. Being able to dance while reflecting in the music is an extra touch.

What would you say characterizes Virginia's blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

The influence of Country music and bluegrass music is heard in original blues music in Virginia. Blues musicians seem to go back to the traditional blues and then put a mix of local flavor in the pot.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I believe too many musicians try to put a stamp of some social meaning to music.  I believe it is great to bring up a social issue and make the audience think for themselves about that subject but should keep from trying to tell the listener how to feel or think. I want my audience to have questions and to feel emotions, it’s up to them which emotions.

"One of the main lessons I’ve learned from the blues is Nothing last forever. No matter how bad things may seem, life will provide a way of letting you climb out of the hole and succeed. Unfortunately, the good times won’t always last as well.  But you can’t have the highs without a few lows."

(Photo: Ron Addison)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Playing is music is like most things in life. You can do your best and some people will think you are great and give thanks for your effort. But many times, your effort will go unnoticed or unappreciated.

There are too many different types of people, likes and dislikes to let it change you. It should not matter which experience you will find but only that you did your best and stayed true to your vision. Now, that also means you can learn from the bad times and good times along your music or life journey.

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