Veteran actor-musician Ronny Cox was in total command Thursday night at the Harmony Lodge in Glocester. It’s great to see an artist so comfortable with his music, with nothing to prove, and everything to offer. Behind the accomplished keyboard/accordion master Rodoslav Lorkovic, Cox spun songs and stories from his music career.
The New Mexico native, who was a teenager when rock and roll began, sings songs about topics far and wide. They are witty and serious ranging from “Sanctuary,” a gentle song about horses, to “Hot Water Corn Bread,” a tune about his Grandma’s version of fried dough (that includes the complete recipe).
Cox is proud of his award winning “Bus to Baltimore,” a song he wrote after trying to assist a confused elderly woman on a California street. The somber tune was recently chosen by AARP to draw attention to Alzheimer’s disease. He drew from the folk cannon for a classic waltz, “I’ll Waltz You Home,” a song originally written for his brother and wife, observing their relationship was like a dance.
Cox gained a step or two in his second set, with more stories and songs including a tale of the legendary Director John Huston, who played poker with Cox before his death. “Facts” was a fun lesson in astronomy, and the humorous “Portales,” was a nice song about his hometown. The loves of his life, his late wife Mary and granddaughter “Catherine,” also play a prominent roles in his songwriting.
Although perhaps better known for his film and TV roles, Cox enjoys playing his music far more these days. He’s a genuine folk artist, travelling the nation playing to large festival crowds and small rooms in the woods of RI. As such, it always feels good to close with the Woody Guthrie classic “Goodnight Irene,” an homage to those to came before him. It certainly wasn’t the first time he played it, but you sense awe in the room as he leads the audience through the classic tune. A true folkie indeed.
For more on Ronny Cox, check out our interview here.
Singer-songwriter and Smithfield native Lainey Dionne supported the main act between sets, with a pleasing five song interlude. She tried out a few new tunes, blending pop and folk sounds behind attractive vocals. Shades of Patti Griffin came through on “One More Time.” Another highlight was “Can’t Refuse,” a gentle tune from her recent debut EP. Dionne is a promising local artist, an insightful songwriter with strong stage presence. Check out the Berklee School of Music graduate when she plays locally.
Check out our gallery of photos from the show below. Photos by Rick Farrell, Mojo Photograhy.