Silver Screen Heroes & Other Legends
by Ron Christopher
Heroes, villains, losers, winners... such are the ingredients of Ron Christopher's music. His melodies are compelling, at times insistent, always alluring, delivered in a deeply resonant voice evocative of Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. When coaxed to reduce it to a word – and it takes a lot of coaxing – Ron calls it "Americana."
In his Dualtone release, Silver Screen Heroes and Other Legends, Ron explores and celebrates America's image of the Cowboy and the traditions of the West – and, more broadly, the cultural allure of the hero's struggle. To this mission he brings lyrics evocative of the best cowboy poets, and of enduring writers like Kris Kristofferson, Joe Ely, Steve Earle, and Billy Joe Shaver. If you're old enough to remember the great champions of justice who enthralled film and television audiences of all ages in the 1950's, you'll appreciate the message right away, because these are songs about the cultural values and images that shaped your own life. Ron was one of those youngsters. In his words, "We were the kids the Bellamy Brothers sang about. And we got a lot of our core ideas about what this country was supposed to stand for from our cowboy heroes of the silver screen and Saturday morning television – Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Sky King. It was all about honor, courage, respect for women, kindness to children, loyalty, justice, tolerance of others. I think that a lot of the country's history in the decades since has been driven by the different ways that each of us internalized and acted on those messages in the light of the realities around us." But there's much more to these songs than nostalgia. They have a lot to say about the cultural forces that shaped a generation, and that even today, convey a certain image of America to the rest of the world.