The month of March brings many things to Russellville.
The start of spring, longer days and blooming flowers arrive on schedule each March. The month also brings the annual benefit concert by Ronnie McDowell.
McDowell will perform for the 26th time in 27 years on Saturday March 25th at the historic Roxy Theater, with a 7 p.m., show that will feature local artist Joseph Baldwin as the opening act. Balcony seats, $15 each, remain for the concert and may be purchased at Abstract & Appraisal on North Washington Avenue or by calling 256-415-3270.
McDowell will perform on his 67th birthday and will be joined by his fan club for a special birthday party prior to the concert.
McDowell's show includes a variety of his 13 top 10 hits, mixed with some tributes to other artists and this year will also include tracks from his new album, Songs I Love.
The new release features McDowell's twist on 10 classic hits of artists including Eddie Rabbitt, B.J. Thomas, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard, along with two new songs.
“I remember these songs from when I was a kid as music I really liked on the radio. It includes songs from Ricky Nelson and I always told my good friend Eddie Rabbitt I would record I Can't Help Myself,” McDowell said.
McDowell will also perform his brand new single, Two Step Boogie Woogie, a toe-tapping homage to George Michael's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
With a successful songwriting career as well, McDowell has penned hits for Porter Waggoner, Eddy Arnold, Tanya Tucker, George Jones and others.
“That's my first passion—writing songs,” McDowell said.
McDowell said he's excited to return to the Roxy, the type of venue he prefers to sing at.
“Those old time small theaters are my favorite venues to work. If those walls could talk,” McDowell said.
A native of Portland, Tennessee, McDowell makes his home in Hendersonville, Tenn., these days, although his travel schedule keeps him from extended stays in his hometown.
“I'm still enjoying being on the road and as long as the Good Lord allows me to, that's what I'll do,” he said.
The annual McDowell concert is the primary fund raiser for the Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council, which operates the Roxy Theater. Wanda Myrick, a member of the council, serves as the president of McDowell's fan club and is instrumental in arranging the event each year.
In addition to performing and writing music, McDowell's talents include painting and writing. He penned a book, Bringing It To You Personally,last year. The book is his autobiography that sees the star open up about his illustrious music career.
“It's not something I thought I was ready to do, but it became one of the most gratifying blessings I've ever had,” McDowell said. “I kept it positive. There's nothing negative against anyone. It's about the life lessons I've learned and endured.”
McDowell's first hit he recorded, The King is Gone, has sold more than five million copies worldwide and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
“It's humbling that people not only bought the recording here in the United States. It's done well in Japan, Canada, Germany, France and all over. That shows how much Elvis Presley touched folks all around the world,” McDowell said.