Justin Smulison of Music Interview Magazine interviews legendary front-man Ron Keel. RON KEEL BAND has released their new album SOUTH X SOUTH DAKOTA, a celebration of southern rock classics featuring the music of Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Outlaws, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, .38 Special, Creedence and more, on the HighVolMusic label. During recording sessions for their 2019 original album release FIGHT LIKE A BAND, the band warmed up each day by ripping through some of their favorite southern rock classics; what started as a fun way to loosen up in the studio has now become a powerful musical statement.
What song do you feel lends itself most naturally to Ron Keel Band’s style and sound?
The songs on SxSD are all very comfortable for us. Playing them live or in the studio is like hanging out with an old friend. I think the listeners are hearing and feeling that same comfort like we are. RKB is right at home cranking out the 1980s Keel classics: Steeler, Black Sabbath, music from last year’s Fight Like A Band album, as well as these southern rock anthems from SxSD.
Why do you feel southern rock has such longevity?
Because it is a true American art form, built on a solid foundation by the bands we’re paying tribute to on this new album and because there’s a new generation of important artists perpetuating that art form. These are bands like Blackberry Smoke, Blackstone Cherry, Every Mother’s Nightmare, Whiskey Myers and the Ron Keel Band.
You have publicly stated that you like playing covers to draw people in at live events. What songs do you feel represent RKB best?
I like giving the audience a great show, period and many of these huge events we play, the big bike rallies, state fairs, casinos and local festivals, if we’re playing for 20,000 people, 19,000 of them may not know who I am and they don’t know that I sold a couple million records back in the day. So we’ve created these 10-12 minute medleys, like a tribute or a showpiece, that let us include these classic iconic songs into the context of the show.
“Red White & Blue” is the first single from the new Ron Keel Band album “South X South Dakota” just released by HighVolMusic/HVM Entertainment. The song was a Top 30 hit for Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2003; written by Johnny Van Zant, Donnie Van Zant, Brett Warren and Brad Warren shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Keel feels the song resonates just as loudly now as it did then.
The music video premieres Thursday May 28th at http://ultimateclassicrock.com at 10 AM EST.