Artie Werner, bass player, band manager and booking agent, shared these words of remembrance for his friend, Ron Murphy, who passed away yesterday.
Ron and his wife of 40 years, Lora formed The Muddy River Band in 1977, played a heavy schedule through the mid ’80s, and continued to performed occasionally over the past few years. Among some of the musicians that performed with them were Pam Gadd, Scotti Adams, Danny Cade, Joe Caverlee and original member Wayne Luessen.
Over the years Ron performed and/or recorded with many bands including The Hotmud Family, Wheatstraw, Katie Laur, and Mike Lilly and Wendy Miller. Ron also played guitar as a single folk act during the 1960s.
Citing a need for better sound at bluegrass festivals, Ron put together a sizable system in the late ’70s and for twenty years ran sound at many locations including Festival of the Bluegrass, Stone Valley, Badlands, and Carlisle, Ontario along with many other smaller festivals. For the past several years he ran sound for the instrument/workshop stage at Bill Monroe Music Park’s Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. He also hosted a radio show at WYSO Dayton during the ’80s.
He was a long time IBMA member, a graduate of the Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2013, and was named a Kentucky Colonel in 1981 for his work in furthering the acceptance of different types of country music.
A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday the 27th from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Stubbs-Conner Funeral Home in Waynesville, OH, and the funeral will be at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments along on Wednesday to play in his honor. In true Ron Murphy fashion, a big jam session is expected.
He is survived by immediate family members, wife Lora, son Lukas Murphy, and daughter Molly Murphy Gilbert.
I first watched Muddy River perform when they opened a show for J.D. Crowe in Dayton back around 1980. They had an excellent band that played more progressive music than most bands in the area were at the time, but still hard driving with excellent lead and harmony singing. Ron had a lot of great ideas and his passion for the music was readily apparent to anyone who met him. He was a true gentleman, great musician, and family man. I will really miss getting the chance to swap the bass back and forth with him at jam sessions and hearing him, Lora and Missy sing trios together.