Bluegrass and country music followers have known Ronnie Reno in a number of different roles. Those of a certain age may recall him as a young lad, standing on a milk crate to play mandolin and sing with his dad at Reno & Smily shows. As a teen and young adult, Ronnie was often a full-time member of the Reno & Harrell band.
He then worked with The Osborne Brothers on guitar for five years before joining up with Merle Haggard during the 1970s. After his dad passed in 1984, Ronnie joined his brothers (Dale and Don Wayne) as The Reno Brothers for 15 years.
By the turn of the century, Ronnie was looking at ways to present bluegrass and country music in the fast-growing medium of cable television. There he worked with Stan Hitchcock and Blue Highways TV, and developed the template for his Reno’s Old Time Music program, now airing on RFD-TV.
But while gaining a large television audience, Ronnie has not had the opportunity over the past ten years to record and perform, his first love in the music business.
This will change when Rural Rhythm releases Lessons Learned later this month, a new album featuring nine new Reno originals. Ronnie is front-and-center as lead vocalist, and playing guitar, with support from his TV house band, Reno Tradition: Mike Scott on banjo, Heath Van Winkle on bass, John Maberry on mandolin, and Steve Day on fiddle.
A first single is releasing this week, a song of Ronnie’s about the enduring bluegrass theme of “lonesome.” He explains the concept in this video, which also includes a lyric video presentation of the song, Lower Than Lonesome.
Look for the full album on March 17.