Ron Young may be 'Under the Texas Radar', but he's living right
Published: July 3, 2012
It began with a woman, and ended with one too. But isn't that always the way? It's certainly the case for one-time San Antonio journalistic fixture Ron Young. "All my co-writers in Nashville would say to 'get in really quick when Ron breaks up with the next girlfriend or she leaves him, because he's got a lot of great songs coming out,'" Young laughs.
You can't argue with the history. Young stopped making music in the '70s because of a woman, and started again in the '90s when she left. He moved to Nashville and, after humping it for 14 years in the publishing game, came back to San Antonio as another relation concluded. Once again, out of a breakup, new music bloomed — Young's debut LP, Under the Texas Radar.
"I gave up on the dream and came back to San Antonio," Young said. "Then, lo and behold, since I landed back here, all my old buddies started hanging out with me, I got a little band together, and I started playing. I got back in the swing of it and thought this is really what I'm meant to do, so I'll just continue doing that."
Young's first taste of musical success came as a finalist in 1974's Kerrville Folk Festival songwriting competition, but he got married and gave up the life of a vagabond songwriter to become a music critic for the San Antonio Light and other local outlets (he has contributed to the Current as well). Then, in a short timeframe, the Light closed, his father died, his wife divorced him, "and everything kind of domino-ed." His life back in chaos, he decided to jump back into the game.
He moved to Nashville and landed a publishing deal with Buckhorn Music, whose first big writer was Kris Kristofferson. He wrote over 400 songs for them and other publishing companies. Some were recorded, but none became hits. He supplemented that income by making use of pawnshops, writing for MusicRow magazine, and managing the legendary Ernest Tubb Record Shop. At some point he gave in and came back home. But music wasn't finished with him. Friends-turned-bandmates Hank Harrison and Mary Ann Cornelius talked him into doing some of his originals.
"Hank was really the one to egg me on," Young said. "We were doing lots of covers and he says, 'You've got plenty of great songs … Why don't we do them?'"
So they leaned on songs that Young began writing when he returned to San Antonio, such as the lighthearted, loping C&W "(I've Got) Memories Older Than You," the humorously wanton "Waitin' On Willie," and his bluegrass ode to his time in Nashville, "A Long Ride." His music's a very Texas blend of country and folk that evokes artists like Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Wills, and John Prine.
"I'm giving myself a second chance at myself," he says. "I'm not trying to be a star.
I just want the songs to get out there; that's why I do it." •
Ron Young CD release party
6pm Sun, July 8
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