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Judge for Ronnie Jones

Cookeville, TN
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Portrait of Ronnie Jones

My family was born and raised in Big Gully, Tennessee, a little community a few miles southwest of Maryville in the Smokey Mountains. My Dad, my uncles, and even my Grandmother were always singing and playing country music in the front room, porch, or in the yard under a shade tree and I would always refer to them as the “Big Gully Band”. So country music to me is part of my heritage. I actually cut my teeth on Johnny Cash album covers. My Dad and uncles performed on a local radio program called “The Kaz Walker Show” in the mid 1950’s with a few other unknown artists like Don Gibson, Merle Travis, and some little girl named Dolly Pardon. Like so many families did back then, my family moved north near big cities to find work in factories. Right after that a lot of artists in that area got discovered and maybe if my family had stayed, well I like to think so!!. Anyhow, they ended up in Belvidere, Illinois, a little town between Rockford and Chicago, and that’s where I was born in 1958. My Dad worked during the week and played music on Friday and Saturday nights in bars and Honky Tonks. Then around 1968, tired of the cold weather and needing a change (he was burned out), we moved to Gainesville, Florida for a couple of years. After that, we moved 50 miles north to Lake City. That’s where I grew up, married, and became a father to three beautiful little girls. When I was growing up, my Dad never wanted me to get involved in music. He didn’t want to see me get hurt chasing a dream, somewhat like he did. Well, that was okay with me because I wanted to be a professional baseball player (talk about a dream crusher). Yeah, that’s right. I wasn’t good enough, but I did play 25 years of city league slow pitch softball. It wasn’t the major leagues but I loved every minute of it. In 2005, tired of the hot, muggy weather and needing a change (I was burned out), I moved my family to Cookeville, Tennessee. Although I never learned to play an instrument or sing (horrible voice). I have found writing songs to be a very spiritual connection back to my family roots. That’s why I posted my songs as the “Big Gully Band”. It’s not a real band, just demos of a few of my songs. I don’t consider myself a professional songwriter and have no intentions of trying to make a living at it. Just like softball, I enjoy it. However, I was lucky enough to have a local band called the “Tennessee Outlaw Band” record one of my songs on their debut CD (www.tennesseeoutlawband.com) and it was very exciting to hear it played in front of a live audience. Thanks Matt and James. There’s a lot of great talent here on “Our Stage” and I wish everyone the best of luck. I hope to add more songs in the near future (wife won’t let me waste money on demos). Ronnie Jones (a.k.a. “Big Gully Band”)    e-mail: biggullyband@yahoo.com

 
 
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