Song of the Day: Ron Block

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Ron Block has written several of Alison Krauss’s most popular songs. In 2003 the two of them were a part of the annual Behold the Lamb of God Christmas show, and played “There is a Reason,” one of Ron’s finest. I wish you could have heard the way the audience gasped when the first notes of Alison’s voice rang out–she really is a rare treasure, and there was no denying it that night. But without great songs, like Ron’s in this case, her great voice would only be that. The combination of excellent, meaningful writing, impeccable musicianship, and that angelic voice are enough to level a room.

Notice how solid and tasteful Ron’s guitar playing is. When someone like him is capable of cutting loose (see the video below, for example), it makes you appreciate the simple, intentional undercurrent his playing provides. It may not sound like it, but trust me–the simple stuff is the hardest to play. That’s the difference between a Ron Block (or a Buddy Greene or an Adam Steffey or a Stuart Duncan) and the bluegrass band in a Kentucky bar. They can tear it up, sure, but reigning it in takes work, and talent, and taste. I love this music.

I’m including the video below because it’s hard not to smile and tap your foot while you watch. That’s Sierra Hull sticking her tongue out and playing the guitar (and here I just thought she was a mandolin ninja–or ninjette). Not sure who the rest of the ninjas are–can you help with that, Ron?

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


13 Comments

  1. josh

    You know, it’s really cool how I can log on the rabbit room and rub shoulders with the musicians I love to listen to… I mean I could never do this with the huge gigantic circus acts that are around today… And while I do think it’s a shame that more people haven’t discovered the music of Ron Block, A.P., etc. I do appreciate the way the smaller fan base allows for this kind of interaction…

    All that to say this: The Rabbit Room was a great idea and i’m really enjoying it.

  2. Peter B

    What Josh said.

    I can’t truly express how cool it is that you guys/gals have come together to sharpen one another, and pull us along in the process.

  3. Leigh McLeroy

    Oh my goodness…how beautiful. This was just what my heart needed to hear tonight, and only Jesus could have known. Thank you for listening to his timely tug on your heart, Andrew P., and Ron B., thank you for the haunting, helping music that you made.

  4. brad

    i am loving this website. I love Ron Block and all his skills. I was told by an this great old timer that, “the greatest players are the players who know when not to play.” They can usually tear it up but the ability to hold back is masterful. thanks for this post.

  5. becky

    “There Is A Reason” has been a favorite of mine for some time now. Since Alison sang it on Letterman long ago. Great, simple, profound song.

  6. Mike

    Hurting brings my heart to you, a fortress in the storm, when what I wrap my heart around is gone.

    Ron, I hope you know how our Father has used your journey to minister to me. Keep writing, songs or articles, and I’ll keep listening.

    I second the great idea to post the song of the day. Thanks AP

  7. Your Most Emphatic Fans

    The comment you made that the simple stuff is the hardest to play is so true. My husband has played a Martin D-34 the majority of his life, and a few years ago picked up a mandolin. The simplicity of the strings… trying to keep sound resonating from them… what a challenge.

  8. Stacy Grubb

    I’ve shared this story with Ron before, but I want to share it here, as well. It’s my personal connection with “There Is A Reason.”

    The morning that my husband and I found out that I was expecting our now 3 year old son, you can just imagine the excitement that buzzed around our tiny Knoxville apartment. I had to go to work and when I got into the car, “There Is A Reason” was the first song that began playing. I often tie songs in with poignant moments in my life, so I made a note of the song so that every time I heard it from then on out, I would remember the joy of that morning. Little did I know how much the meaning of the song would come into play in just a few weeks.

    Long story short, I began my pregnancy carrying twins, however I lost one (called Vanishing Twin syndrome) and when the loss was confirmed, guess what song popped into my head? And it reminded me, “There is a reason for it all.” In my mind, I heard Ron’s lyrics being sung by Alison’s voice, but it truly felt as though God was the One doing the speaking. My son’s twin was our second loss. We named her Alison Faith. Without that reminder of a Reason for everything we experience, our losses could’ve really destroyed my faith. In a way, it all came full circle from the morning that I saw two pink lines, heard that song, then later lost Ali and thought of that song. That is how God uses us. This is just one testimony of how people like Ron have been used by God to keep others strong in their faith.

    By the way, sorry if this has been answered because I don’t have time to run through all the responses, yet, but the other ninjas are a band called Broken Wire. Look them up on My Space and you won’t regret it!! I used to play in a band with the mandolin player’s (Nick Keen) uncle. They are all in their teens and fine musicians as well as outstanding people. They’re just good folk all the way around. They also have other You Tube’s posted from their live shows and stuff. The lead singer, Courtney, has a voice to rival anybody out there.

    Stacy

  9. josh

    That has got to be one of the best live recordings in history… I couldn’t believe it when the crowd started cheering at the end… The guitar tone and alison’s voice just sounded way too perfect to be live… What testament to their musical prowess… Gives the rest of us something to strive to live up to…

  10. Aaron Roughton

    I thought the same thing when the crowd came in at the end…

    I am also a sucker for shredding of any type, but especially of the acoustic type. That video was like Yngvie Malmsteen does Bluegrass. I always think I’m getting better at my instrument until I see stuff like that.

    And whoever mixed the audio for the video did an amazing job of bringing down the other instruments during the solos! (Sorry. Dynamics. Poor joke.)

  11. Ron Davis

    I was in that pre-Ryman Christmas show crowd several years back. The gasp from the audience was definitely audible. She’s got such an angelic voice.

    There was another audible gasp from the audience that night. Randall was on stage in his camo pants and sang the line “sometimes soldiers die setting people free, and that’s more like Jesus than I’ll ever be.”

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