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Ronnie Burke – BIO

Ronnie Burke
Birthdate:  June 1, 1951
Home town and current:  Grand Rapids

Other towns Ronn has lived in:  Tuscaloosa Alabama, Mobile Alabama, Ft. Worth Texas, South Pasadena Ca., San Fernando Valley CA.

Genres:  Country, Country Rock, Acoustic classic rock, electric classic rock, pop

Singer/songwriter, easy listening.

Bands played in:
The Combos:  1960
The Layman:  65
Tanglewood: 1966
The The JuJus:  67-68
The Boyfriends:  68-69
Hyde Park: 69
Ronnie Fray:71
Natchez Trace72
FoxFire75
Dirk Rivers- 76
Natchez Trace

Venues:  Lowell Showboat (1960 & 2008), 2009 WLav Raft Race, Summer Celebration, 4th of July Celebration at Aba Nabwen Park, Muskegon Summer Celebration, Art Prize, Festival of the arts, Fennville winery

Instruments:  Tenor and baritone Ukulele, Piano, 6 & 12 string electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums

Inspiration to play:  4th grade schoolteacher, Mr. McClain

Musical family, ect:  NO

Ronn was self taught

Songs recorded:  Single 1968 – You can only be just what you are (Powerhouse label)
(This song was listed in Billboard Magazine with a bullet, Pop music chart)  Flip side:  It’s so strange.

1972 with Natchez Trace:  Ole 55 and I Miss Mississippi (Ultra Promo label) Re-recorded again in 2009

Famous bands opened for:  Rick Nelson, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Paycheck, Asleep at the wheel, Leo Koetke, Leslie West and Mountain, Dick Wagner and the frost, The Box tops, Foghat and Grass roots.

Favorite instrument:  Ephiphone Texan acoustic guitar

Fan club:  Facebook fans

Favorite Artists:  Beatles, James Taylor, Dan Fogelburg, Jelly Fish, Klaatu, CSN, Emmet Rhoads

Newspaper ads:  yes

Musicians Union:  Once belonged to the union and didn’t get paid for a Union gig so quit.

Largest crowd:  appx. 20,000 at the LAV Raft Race

Thoughts about musical future:  continue to write songs and record.   Solo Cd and form a new band in 2012.

Website:  www.ronnieburke.com

Side story:

Ronn moved to California in 1972 Natchez Trace: with Billy & Buddy Chrysler, Dan Parsons, Kevin Radeki and Ed Kettle (Manager) the bands mission was to sign with a major record label.  Asylum records was the goal, which were carrying, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Brown, ect at the time.  Martin Coen, the attorney for the record label liked the band but there were too many acoustic vocal bands at the time:  CSN, America – act.

The band stayed with some friends (Mike and Evy) in South Pasadena then moved to the San Fernando valley, lived next to a nice guy named Bill who was buddy’s with the actor James Caan.  Most of the people in the neighborhood would take care of the band, bringing them food, ect.

The band would play at showcases for a lot of movie stars who were opening clubs at the time.  The band was trying to get influential people to float them money to record, ect.  Family and friends were sending care packages from home.  The band wasn’t gigging a lot; Kevin moved out and was hard to get a hold of for gigs.  John Fogerty was starting a new record label and liked the band but they held out for a bigger label and ended up running out of money and coming home.

Places they played in California:  The troubadour, Palomino, Ice House, Red onion in Long Beach (owned by Glen Cambell) and the Red Onion in Brentwood on Rodeo Drive.  The Coral in Topanga Canyon were Phil and Don Everly hung out.

Dan, Bob Riley, Buddy and Ronn came back to Grand Rapids and put Natchez Trace back together with Buddy on drums, Ronn and Dan on guitar and Bob Riley on Bass, this was the first incarnation of the electric Natchez Trace.

Before California – jumping back a bit:  Before moving to California, we had gotten quite popular in Grand Rapids.  We had a great following; we were booked into a lot of clubs in town.  Our manager Ed Kettle and his partner Greg Koopris were the owners of Ultra Promo, a promotion Co.  Ultra Promo had two bands signed; they were Xebec and Natchez Trace.  Xebec was the premiere rock band doing Yes, Genesis, Straubs, ect.  Natchez Trace was doing all acoustic stuff like:  CSN, Eagles, Kenny Loggins, ect.  We all got along pretty good.  We had charge accounts at restaurants, clothes stores, ect.  We got chauffeured around in limousines.  Natchez trace got to open for Minskies follies; it was a burlesque show at the thunder chicken dinner theater, that was great!  One of the highlights for me at that time was when we played a midnight concert at Studio 28 with Xebec.  You see we started the show with our acoustic stuff and our last song was “seen all good people”, by YES.  We did the acoustic part and behind the curtain was Xebec and they took over the rock part of the song, and that’s how they started their show.  That night was Electric!  It was the first and only time we did that so the people who were there got a special treat.  I’m sure they will remember that night for ever!

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