23rd Annual RAMI Awards, Composer Of The Year.
The Rock River Times
Rockford Register Star
Songs from Screw City concert series, featuring Ron Rawhoof
Read more: http://www.rrstar.com/article/20131218/News/131219503#ixzz3L9LURODE
Sock Monkey Sound
Review: Ron E Rawhoof – Too Much to Lose
Summary: Too Much To Lose is a strong first release for this local musician, and while it doesn’t blaze any new trails it does do a fine job blending many traditional influences into Rawhoof’s distinctive sound.
Too Much to Lose by singer-songwriter Ron E Rawhoof is a self released collection of ten original songs by one of Rockford’s many talented musicians. Rawhoof has become fairly well known on the local music circuit over the last few years and now he has put some of his self penned material onto this fine release. Rawhoof sings and plays acoustic guitar on all of the tracks except for “Pandora” where he plays the Ukulele. He plays guitar well, with a deceptive simplicity that blends attack with delicate finger style. He has an aged, mature voice that can easily lend itself to the different genres that he incorporates into his music such as folk, jazz, blues and country. He recruited some fine backing musicians on this collection to give the record a very professional, polished sound.
On the title track, as well as several others like “Sweet Eileen” and “Hero” Rawhoof plays with little or no accompaniment, giving the songs a warm, traditional folk sound. He is really at his best, however when he is with a band, as he is on songs like “Little Treva,” “Pennies In The Well” and “Build My Boat.” The difference is subtle, since these excellent musicians never intrude on Rawhoof’s performances, but blend into the background with perfect clarity and nuance. Of particular note is Daniel James McMahon who plays piano, electric guitar, bass and drums on different tracks on the record and really does a remarkable job of filling out the material. Michael Gilbert Ronstadt’s cello on “Children Play” and “Magda Holds Her Guitar” is brilliant in providing rich harmony with an Americana resonance.
The best thing about this record is all the eclectic influences that Rawhoof brings into both the music and lyrics. “Little Treva” has a New Orleans jazz sound in part due to clarinetist Adam Plaman, who vaguely recalls Johnny Dodds on the Louis Armstrong discs from the 1920’s. Plaman also plays on “Pennies In The Well” which has a more modern, coffee house jazz sound. “Build My Boat” has a country tinge courtesy of its use of pedal steel guitar, and Rawhoof’s protean voice adapts to the genre quite well. On “Pandora” there are times when Rawhoof’s ukulele lines border on an eastern sound. And lyrically, while many folk singers use Biblical references in their music, Rawhoof shows there are other sources of strength and inspiration. On “Auf Wiedersehen” he sings “I’ve seen the world in a book of Zen” and in “Children Play” “You will find in the Koran the souls of all our children.” The title track “Too Much To Lose” is about a disabled veteran who is rejected by a society he fought to protect. The breezy, folk sound of acoustic guitar and piano contrast sharply with the desolate lyrics about sacrifice, betrayal and redemption. It’s a strong song that illustrates a stark reality without preaching or taking sides. Like many of the other songs here, it’s a story sung by a voice that is at turns wise, humorous and world weary.
Too Much To Lose is a strong first release for this local musician, and while it doesn’t blaze any new trails it does do a fine job blending many traditional influences into Rawhoof’s distinctive sound. The album is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and on Ron’s website ronrawhoof.com.
About the Author
Todd Monahan Todd J Monahan was born and raised in Rockford, IL. He graduated from Guilford High School and Rockford College and has a Bachelor of Arts in English. His primary interests are literature and music, although he also loves baseball and classic movies. There is not a genre of music that he does not listen to. He currently lives in Loves Park, IL.
Rock River Times
Vince’s Notes: The unique music of Ron E. Rawhoof
By Vince Chiarelli
When I first started getting really involved in the Rockford music scene, I was a freshman in college. I decided to go to an Open Mic Night at the Rockford College Lion’s Den, and from there on, I met a great musician and friend. One of the hosts was Ron E. Rawhoof, and from the first time I heard him, his authentic sound blew me away.
Ron was raised in Rockford and has been a familiar singer/songwriter ever since. Ron’s music is very unique, just like Ron himself, having both Japanese and Native American ethnicity. That mix is just as authentic as Ron’s musical sound, which blends traditional folk with elements of Americana and blues.
When I am listening to an artist, the thing I look for is something that sets them apart from the rest of the large pool of musicians out there. Ever since the first time I heard Ron, while his whole persona and style on stage is unique, the one element of his performance that sets him apart from the rest is his voice. Ron has a voice that is hard to describe. The only thing I can say is that it pulls you into the song.
The other impressive thing about Ron is his impeccable guitar playing. When I hear Ron play his guitar, it makes me want to quit playing guitar; he’s that good. Ron can get up on a stage and just start playing his guitar, and the whole audience will be intrigued. Then, once he starts singing, his voice makes people not want to leave.
Ron has recently recorded and released his debut studio album, Too Much To Lose. The album is named after his song “Too Much To Lose,” which recently spent six months as No. 1 on the Living With War Songs chart at Neil Young’s website. This album is full of great songs. They are songs that I have been hearing Ron play for a few years, and I’m so glad he released this album so now the whole world can enjoy his great music.
My personal favorite song on the album is “Auf Wiedersehen,” as it truly shows Ron’s unique style and amazing lyrical ability. Another song of note is “Magda Holds Her Guitar,” which is loosely written about a character Magda from the book, For Love Of Norway, written by celebrated author Pal Epsolin Johnson. Pal has recently listened to the song and requested a copy of the CD to be sent to him in Norway. He states, “the song is so poetic and beautiful … I will do what I can to make the story about the song — and the song — known in North Norway where Magda lived.”
I truly recommend purchasing Ron’s album. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and CDBaby. For direct links to purchase his album, visit his website, http://ronrawhoof.com/index/. Also there you can find more info about Ron, upcoming show dates and more! Please support Ron E. Rawhoof and all our local musicians and artists!
Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at email@example.com.
From the April 24-30, 2013, issue
Neil Young Living With War Songs
On January 9th, 2012 my song Too Much To Lose hit number one on the chart at Neil Youngs Living With War Songs Of The Times web site. I submitted it in the fall of 2011 and watched it climb once it was accepted.
It remained number 1 of over 3500 songs for six consecutive months.