New CDs for Tucson artists: Kate Becker, Ronstadt Generations
By Cathalena E. Burch. Arizona Daily Star
May 18, 2016
Kate Becker brings some Latin-Caribbean spice to her new CD “Pirate Radio,” her third full-length album and one that has her joining voices with a veritable who’s who of Tucson musicians.
The album, inspired by an interview Becker granted to an independent radio station in Florida, has her musing on topics including the historic use of old ships for broadcasting, the importance of indie radio and the benefit of being authentically yourself. The album has a pronounced Latin vibe infused with funk, soul and the jazz of Becker’s soul. It’s music she has been singing since long before making the move from New York City to Tucson in 2002.
There also are strong Southwestern accents that feel comfortably organic in the hands of the cast of Tucson artists participating in the project.
Becker recorded the album at Petie Ronstadt’s LandMark Sound Recorders with Tucson favorites including Pete Swan and Aaron Emery on drums and percussion, Melissa Reaves on backup vocals and two Michaels from Ronstadt Generations — Michael J. Ronstadt on rhythm guitar/vocals and Michael G. Ronstadt on cello.
Salvador Duran contributed songwriting and backing vocals on three songs, including a duet with Becker. Petie Ronstadt plays guitar and lends backing vocals to the album, which he produced.
This is Becker’s third full-length CD and this weekend she is celebrating it in a pair of co-headlining CD release shows with Ronstadt Generations. They, too, have a new album, “In the Land of the Setting Sun.”
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642. On Twitter: @Starburch
Ronstadt Generations to perform at the Arizona Folklore Preserve May 14-15
Carolyn Santucci - Publicity firstname.lastname@example.org
May 9, 2016
You’re in for a treat at an afternoon concert on May 14 or 15, when the Arizona Folklore Preserve welcomes Tucson-based Ronstadt Generations back to beautiful Ramsey Canyon. Great musicianship is a given, of course, along with lots of fun interacting with the audience and an eclectic mix of songs. Where else can you hear a soulful lament about the lack of that staple in every Southwest kitchen….the tortilla?
You’re in for a treat at an afternoon concert on May 14 or 15, when the Arizona Folklore Preserve welcomes Tucson-based Ronstadt Generations back to beautiful Ramsey Canyon. Great musicianship is a given, of course, along with lots of fun interacting with the audience and an eclectic mix of songs. Where else can you hear a soulful lament about the lack of that staple in every Southwest kitchen….the tortilla?
Ronstadt Generations dates back five generations in North America and consists of Michael J. Ronstadt, younger brother of Linda Ronstadt, and his two sons, Michael G. and Petie. A few family friends often join them on stage, including Alex Flores on saxophone, Sam Eagon on bass, and Aaron Emery on drums. It sometimes gets a little crowded on the AFP stage, but the sound is out of this world. And as Michael J. says, the AFP is their favorite place to play. “Playing here is just like playing in our living room, and you all are family.” Come and be part of the family at the AFP!
Doors open at 1 p.m., with performances starting at 2 p.m. For reservations, call 520-378-6165, or email email@example.com. Admission is $15.00 for adults and $6.00 for children 17 and under.
To get there: Go 6 miles south of Sierra Vista on Highway 92 to Ramsey Canyon Road. Turn right (west) on Ramsey Canyon Road, drive 3.3 miles into the canyon, and watch for the AFP entrance and sign to the left.
Coming soon: Upcoming performers at the AFP include local musician Jon Messenger on May 21 and 22 and Arizona’s Official State Balladeer, Dolan Ellis, on May 28 and 29. For more information, including performance schedules and additional information on featured artists, visit the AFP website,www.arizonafolklore.com, or call 520-378-6165.
TWO CHANCES TO CATCH RONSTADT GENERATIONS LOCALLY THIS MONTH
Tucson’s Kate Becker fuses with longtime southern Arizona family at Bisbee Royale performance
May 12, 2016
Two new albums, one very familiar sound.
The signature sound that has come to define Sonoran music will be on display on two local stages over the next week-and-a-half. The Ronstadt Generations band graces the stage at the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Hereford this weekend, and next weekend will join forces with Tucson songstress Kate Becker in a double record release party at the Bisbee Royale presented by KBRP.
Both have grown their rich musical roots in the sound of Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. The sound is as recognizable as the desert southwest landscape, particularly southern Arizona. You know it when you hear it. Even if you can’t always define it….
Ronstadt Finds Himself in Music
Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 4:00 am
Jonathan Frahm, Special to The Explorer
Best known locally for his work as a vocalist, songwriter and cellist with internationally-acclaimed Tucsonan favorites Ronstadt Generations, Michael G. Ronstadt’s latest ventures see him collaborating with a dreamy Cincinnatian indie band, as well as developing what he calls the solo album in which he fully found himself.
Like with many artists of his ilk, including his father, Michael, and brother, Petie, who also comprise Ronstadt Generations, or in his famous aunt, Linda, the path leading him from “Point A” into his current state as a matured singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and performer was not always as straightforward as outsiders may think.
“Growing up with a musical family, I always say it gives permission to consider music as a career option and something to pursue more seriously than one might if it were just considered a hobby,” said Ronstadt. “But, it wasn’t until I had picked up the cello in fourth grade that it had propelled my musical dedication forward.”
Elaborating further on this period of his life, Ronstadt explained, “It spoke to me, and I started playing with different types of music, even with a rock band featuring electric cello at the end of middle school through high school. After that, I ended up pursuing my master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati in cello performance after receiving my undergrad from the University of Arizona.”
From there, Ronstadt decided that “if I was going to make this career work, I had to jump headfirst into it, and luckily, thankfully, life has allowed me to do it ever since.”
His career has seen him swap between Tucson, Cincinnati and Philadelphia as places where he has laid his head, but Ronstadt ultimately chose the former two and not the latter to call home.
“Cincinnati called me back after spending five years in Philadelphia, which never felt like home to me,” he said. “Cincinnati does, and I am always happy to return back to where I grew up in Tucson and be with family. I’m lucky to have two places that feel like home to me now.”
Ronstadt was recently back in Tucson for the holiday season, traveling with Serenity Fisher, frontwoman of the Cardboard Hearts, a theatrical “dream-pop” band from out of Cincinnati which he has brought into his fold performing with as their full-time cellist.
Most recently, the two performed a series of shows from Tucson back to Cincinnati into the earlier part of January. Of particular interest, both had taken part in the recording of the Cardboard Hearts’ debut studio album, Carousel of Love, released by none other than Tucson-based Ronstadt Recording Co. in late 2015.
“Serenity Fisher has an amazing and beautiful way of songwriting that tells stories in a quirky, Tim Burton-esque kind of way,” mused Ronstadt. “Carousel of Love takes you on a journey in ways that you wouldn’t have imagined, but also maintains an air of familiarity about it that I think listeners will truly engage with and relate to.”
After Carousel of Love came the release of Foolish Fox, Ronstadt’s latest solo release. On Foolish Fox, Ronstadt had duly noted, “I guess the big difference between now and my previous solo record in 2010 was that I wanted to take what was in my brain instrumentally and actually record it, so instead of just cello or guitar and voice, you are getting a full band. On this record, I’m collaborating with my dad and my brother, and Alex Flores, from Ronstadt Generations with harmonies and sax, Serenity Fisher does backing vocals, and this presents more of a fuller sound than was intended with past solo releases.”
Outside of the level of collaboration in the performances featured on Foolish Fox, Ronstadt’s intent was to “say what was on my mind and apologize later … in a series of original songs, both self- and co-written, and covers that would sound nice together as a collection of music.” Ronstadt went on to say, “Hopefully it surprises people with its wide breadth of music and takes them on a journey, as well.”
Michael G. Ronstadt will be returning to Tucson from March 17 - 20 for the educational event ‘Common Ground on the Border’ in Sahuarita, and again for two shows with Ronstadt Generations in May: one on May 12 at SAACA’s Oro Valley Concert Series, and the other on May 20 with Petie Ronstadt-recorded Kate Becker for a double-CD release concert.
For more information on Michael G. Ronstadt, Ronstadt Generations, Serenity Fisher and the Cardboard Hearts, Kate Becker, and their respective releases and upcoming shows, check their Facebook “like” pages and their official websites.
© 2016 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved.
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT RELEASES “FOOLISH FOX”
DECEMBER 18, 2015
Michael G. Ronstadt is a singer/songwriter and cello player who has a long family history in music. He has played traditional Southwestern and Mexican music with his father and brother as part of Ronstadt Generations for many years.
With his use of harmony, instrumental arrangement, and original lyrics, along with the study of classical, traditional, and other genres Ronstadt has developed a unique style.
Ronstadt’s most recent release, Foolish Fox, is a compilation of originals and covers from a variety of genres. The combination of harmonies and musical arrangements are intricately layered leading you to discover something new about each song every time you listen.
There is a song on this album for every mood, and each song leads you to think about the subject matter of the lyrics. With every listen the discovery of how relatable each song is personally, to the world or life in general makes listening even more thought provoking and leaves you wanting more.
A few instrumentals add a nice variety to the song list. One of the instrumentals included is a Bill Monroe song, Jerusalem Ridge, to which Michael brings a contemporary twist with his modern arrangement.
All Over You
Lyrics/Music/Guitar: Rick Denzien
A Price On My Head
Lyrics: Stan Shawnee Boyd / Music: Michael G. Ronstadt
Lyrics/Music: Roxy Dawn
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt Get Up Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt
Lyrics/Music: Craig Bickhardt
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt
Lyrics/Music: Rick Denzien, Michael G. Ronstadt, Debra Lee Andreyko
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt
Jerusalem Ridge / Minor Swing
Music: Bill Monroe / Stephane Grappelli, Jean Reinhardt
Mountains Of Japan
Lyrics/Music: Michael J. Ronstadt
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt, Rick Denzien
Page In Life
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt
Check out the album and let me know what you think in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Connect with MGR Buy Foolish Fox iTunes Buy Foolish Fox (Physical CD) Official Website
Lyrics/Music: Michael G. Ronstadt Cello/Guitar/Lead
Vocal: Michael G. Ronstadt
Harmony Vocals: Petie Ronstadt, Michael G. Ronstadt, Michael J. Ronstadt
Bass: Sam Eason
Drums: Aaron Emery
HUDSON VALLEY FOLK GUILD CONCERT IN POUGHKEEPSIE ON AUG. 23
POSTED: 08/19/15, 10:44 AM EDT | UPDATED: ON 08/19/2015
The Hudson Valley Folk Guild will present a concert titled “Beyond a Simple Folk Song” on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Cunneen Hackett Arts Center, 12 Vassar St., Poughkeepsie.
The Hudson Valley Folk Guild will present a concert titled “Beyond a Simple Folk Song” on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Cunneen Hackett Arts Center, 12 Vassar St., Poughkeepsie.
The event was conceived to be an annual concert of newly created or arranged music that challenges acoustic singer/songwriters to venture out of their comfort zones and stretch their craft beyond the constructs of a song. This year, a new dimension has been added to the annual concert by reaching out to include artists beyond the immediate Hudson Valley. Michael G. Ronstadt will headline this year’s concert.
Ronstadt has been offering his music to audiences on cello, guitar and voice for over 17 years. Conversant with a wide range of styles, he has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with artists like David Bromberg, Linda Ronstadt and Muriel Anderson. His playing can be found on over 60 albums from the last 13 years.
Ronstadt will be playing some selections solo and some with Sergie Nirenburg for an instrumental performance of jazz and tangos for cello and accordion. Nirenburg has pumped accordion bellows for over 50 years. Having started as a classical musician, he has turned to modern and jazz music, playing with The Hot Club of DC and “The Classical Revolution” of Philadelphia.
The concert will also feature Terry Champlin, a professor/guitarist and prolific composer from Vassar College. He was named the winner of the 2015 Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Awards in the Individual Artist category and also appeared on Pete Seeger’s last CD recording, “Storm King”. His ensemble will perform his original song cycle based on the “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters.
Additional performances will include a string quartet made up of State University of New York at New Paltz music professor and cellist Susan Seligman, and students Allyson Tomsky and Gabrielle Bouissou on violins and Shayna Skibinsky on viola. The quartet will premiere Kevin Becker’s new work, “The Brahms Blues.” Evan Mason, also a student at SUNY New Paltz, will perform a multi-genre set on guitar. In addition, Phil Miller, a well-known Hudson Valley singer-songwriter, will present a set merging the idioms of folk and jazz in a unique and seamless way.
Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, Hudson Valley Folk Guild members and students. For more information on the concert or the guild, contact Kevin Becker by phone at (845) 229-0170 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available online by visiting hudsonvalleyfolkguild.org/
THE SOUND OF A TUCSON LIVING ROOM IN THE HOLLAND
July 21, 2015
Written by REUBEN MEES
A group of Arizona musicians plans to transform the Holland Theatre into the living room where their own musical heritage blossomed.
The Ronstadt Generations musical trio of Michael Ronstadt and his sons, Pete and Michael G. Ronstadt, along with saxophonist Alex Flores, take the stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“I grew up listening to all my elders play music in our living room; everyone would sing and play guitars,” Pete Rondstadt said after playing two preview songs at the Monday meeting of the Bellefontaine Rotary Club.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. Wednesday show are $10 or $15 per person and are available at the Holland Theatre the night of the show or online atwww.thehollandtheatre.org.
ONE ON ONE WITH MICHAEL G. RONSTADT
(http://visualvictoria.com/one-on-one-with-michael-g-ronstadt/) APRIL 27, 2015 TORY GALLERY INTERVIEW, MUSIC, MUSICIAN, ORIGINAL MUSIC, SINGER-SONGWRITER 0 I sat down (over Skype) with my good friend Michael G. Ronstadt to talk about being a touring musician with several different groups, what inspires him, what he looks for through music, and what projects he’s working on now. Check out our interview below! The Whole (S)tory (TWS): What sparked your life long musical passion? Michael G Ronstadt (MGR): I guess what initially sparked that is music in my family and it’s still prevalent throughout the generations. Hearing my dad play with his trio and my Aunt and the whole family singing together at gatherings and the fact that a lot of the Ronstadts play music professionally I think showed me that’s a way of life. I took that to be a good indication that I should explore that route. The second thing that probably sealed the deal would be the fact that even though we didn’t have a general music class, my dad came and played music to our elementary school classes when I was little, the combination of that and being offered to play in orchestra opened the doors to allow me to learn music. TWS: Did you start out playing cello? MGR: My parents tried to get us to play guitar when we were little but the teacher wasn’t very good, I didn’t really take to it, cello was the first thing I really got into. Later on I picked up guitar more and really took to it. TWS: I think it’s really nice when you have people that you can look up to starting out in anything you’re doing like music. I know when I first started out no one in my family really played music and I didn’t really have anyone to inspire me to play so it’s definitely nice to have that connection. MGR: It’s definitely nice when you’re surround by it; it’s kind of like going to a concert and being inspired that way when I was a kid. TWS: Who have you worked with in your career and how have they influenced your playing? MGR: I’ve worked with so many people that I can’t really name them all, but I feel like I’ve been surrounded by musicians who are humble, nice, kind and want to make real music and communicate with people. When I run into musicians who are genuine about their craft and that’s what they do and they just put their whole heart and soul into it, I like to be surrounded by that and it inspires me to try to communicate better on the stage when I play and hopefully I‘ll continue learning that craft for many years. TWS: How do you think your playing style has changed over the years? MGR: When I was younger I didn’t know quite what I was doing; I was just aiming for a lot of different things. When I listen back it seemed like I just played whatever came to mind and would see what happens, when I listen back I didn’t realize I was doing something so complex and then in the middle I got really careful about what I was doing. Now I think what’s happening to my playing is that I’m getting more comfortable, I feel like getting to be 30 years old I know what I want to do with my expression and try different things; I’m experimenting emotively rather than just with the technical stuff. TWS: You kind of just answered my next question, which was how do you go about writing music? MGR: To expand on that side, when I write music sometimes I calculate it and decide I have something instrumental that I’m doing and I put words to it or I like to haphazardly layer a bunch of cello parts on top of each other, if I get 12 cellos parts that sound really neat together I look at that and see what I did and that way I can re-create it later. Sometimes it takes me a long time to write something and have it ready for performance, occasionally it takes 30 minutes and I have a complete song. Sometimes hard moments in life inspire some of the best music. TWS: What are some of your favorite music making memories? MGR: Family gatherings where there are 40 of us in one room, maybe 5 guitars. I love sitting on cello trying to just follow along. Especially when I was younger I kind of had a moment, those moments are just lets see what’s happening where you’re not being forced to figure out or perform super well, you are just there enjoying yourself and those are my favorite moments. Something very similar to that would be Common Ground on The Hill’s late night jam sessions in Susan’s trailer, no one would ever perform in that situation we are just there having a good time and to me those are the memorable moments. TWS: What kind of qualities do you look for in people and their musical styles when you decide who to play with? MGR: If I had the power to decide who I could play with, and I guess I could pick and choose, if I hear someone and they move me in performance, then its really exciting and I think, “I hope to maybe be able to play music with them someday” and I always have that subconscious business plan in the back of my brain, I say if you have the intent you might actually get there someday. That’s how I got to play with Aaron Nathans, who I did an album called Crooked Fiddle with and released last September. I have been playing with him for about five years and in that situation I got to work with him because I called him up, he opened up for Ronstadt Generations five years ago. I really liked his kind of innocent approach, it was kind of like a shy confidence that he had on stage that was purely himself and I felt like I could really learn a lot from his music and I feel like he’s learned a lot from me, its been a beautiful benefit. I just look for that communication factor. TWS: I think that’s great when you can work with people who inspire you and you feel like they make you better in a way. MGR: That’s kind of the fun part, if you’re not a little nervous and if the other person isn’t inspiring you it’s not as much fun, its gotta be fun. TWS: What are the groups you are playing with now and what are the differences between the groups? MGR: I have a few different projects that I’m focusing on. One of them, pushing pretty hard with is with Aaron Nathans from the album Crooked Fiddle and we’ve been doing well on the Folk DJ charts with this cd release, it hit number 12 or something like that for 2014. I’d say all 30 people heard us because it’s the Folk DJ charts. (laughs) It’s still really good because we are getting radio play, that’s one thing that’s going really well. Everything is either based on my instrumental thing, I do classical crossover stuff or I have my songwriting and that kind of permeates through the different groups depending on the players I’m working with. Aaron Nathans, he’s more of a songwriter/lyricist, I’m more of the lead guitar style cello player, I play bass, and I use a lot of my songs and we sing harmonies. With my family (Ronstadt Generations), my dad and my brother, my brother and I are both lead players along with my dad so we pass it around; it’s the same type of thing except more people up front. TWS: In Ronstadt Generations do you do mostly traditional music or more variations of things? MGR: We do a lot of variations. We play a lot of Traditional Music we collect during our travels, we also play a lot of Traditional Mexican music that has been in our family for a lot of time as with a lot of peoples family traditions who live in the Southwest and Mexico area. We play a lot of original music which is inspired by our various backgrounds in music. My brother kind of has the Emo/Hardcore/Punk/Rock n Roll/Bob Dylan/Jazz Band influence and I’ve got the Classical/Experimental Music/Radiohead/Coldplay/a lot of other varieties, Latin Music I’ve done a lot of that/Bosanova and my dad has a lot of the Old Time Cowboy music mixed with the Mexican Music and a lot of the Traditional Mexican and Southwest Cowboy music makes it into all of our styles. TWS: It must be nice to feel like you can pretty much play whatever you want and not be limited to a certain genre or style of playing. MGR: David Bromberg said it in one of his concerts, he said he committed “a career suicide” when he stuck to his want to be multi-genre. At the same time he’s’ David Bromberg, he’s respected for being who he is, he’s unique, you can’t mistake him for anyone else. It’s like Neil Young, you can’t mistake Neil Young for anyone else. It’s not our choice whether we become famous or not, but David Bromberg has a career doing what he does and it’s just amazing. I feel like if someone like that who I respect has done it and can laugh it off saying oh I “committed career suicide” its okay because he still enjoys making music in life. As long as no ones saying what I can do, I like when you can play what you want and what speaks to you because then you can speak to an audience and if we are hard to define its okay. TWS: That’s a great story. This is kind of a fun question; it doesn’t really have to do with music, if you weren’t a musician what kind of career would you want to have? MGR: It would have to be creative. I think I would like to design album covers for musicians, doing photography. I had an early childhood desire to be an architect. I think it would be so fun to design your own buildings. TWS: What’s coming up that people should know about? MGR: The biggest thing that’s coming up would be a big Ronstadt Generations summer tour, that’s going to start in southern Arizona, in Tucson and they are going to drive up to meet me in Ohio all of June and through the end of July we’ll be going up and down the east coast and back down to Ohio. Keep up to date with Michael’s work on his website.
Moorestown's Laura Dishong to Celebrate CD Release With Free Concert
(http://patch.com/new-jersey/moorestown/moorestowns-laura-dishong-celebrate-cd-release-free-concert-0) Laura Dishong will perform at the Moorestown Community House on March 22. Moorestown, NJ By ANTHONY BELLANO (Patch Staff) - February 26, 2015 11:57 am ET Mary E. Roberts Elementary School Music Teacher Laura Dishong will perform in Moorestown in honor of the release of her latest CD. Dishong, a former harpist at Caesars Casino Hotel, will perform at the Moorestown Community House on Sunday, March 22, 3:30 p.m. Her new CD is titled Little Green Apples, and features 11 original pop folk songs. It was released on Sept. 23. Laura Dishong’s husband Mark Dishong is a music teacher at Kirby’s Mill Elementary in Medford. Her daughter Ellie is a sixth-grader at Moorestown Upper Elementary School. Mark Dishong is a keyboardist in the backup band, and Ellie Dishong plays the fiddle in the band. Michael Belay plays the drums and Michael G. Ronstadt plays the cello. Ronstadt is the nephew of Linda Ronstadt. The Dishong family performed at the Moorestown STEM Festival in October. Laura Dishong also performed at the Autumn in Moorestown Festival and the former Caffe La Bella Restaurant, where she worked as a harpist for eight years. The concert is free and open to all ages. For more information, visit www.lauradishong.com. The attached images were provided by Laura Dishong.
ACOUSTIC LIVE MAGAZINE
Richard Cuccaro November 01, 2015 Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt By Richard Cuccaro The best art takes us to a place of deeper understanding — of ourselves, the passage of time and of life itself. I found myself in such a place as I listened to “Cars Don’t Keep,” a song by Aaron Nathans, recorded with Michael G. Ronstadt on their album Crooked Fiddle (2014). Aaron’s expressive baritone, paired with Michael’s clear-voiced harmony, gave the song a sense of poignancy. Michael’s cello added gravitas to the otherwise silly notion of a young man falling in love with a motor vehicle. I swore I would not fall so deep / but I am only human … Those lyrics echoed in my mind as I contemplated my own youthful automotive follies. Aaron’s writing skills seep through the song as he wends his way through the years: In you I brought home my new son / kids grow up but they live on / Now I clear out your back seat / I know cars don’t keep. Finally: I send you off you for one last ride … I think I left my youth inside … Michael and Aaron share tracks on the album. Michael’s compositions are brilliantly complex melodies, as would befit a classically trained musician. The combination of the two players, as this profile’s title suggests, weaves gold. While the history of each musician has its differences, there is one common denominator: Each family has a prominent female figure. In Michael’s case it was his famous aunt Linda. For Aaron, it was his mother who was a choral singer (and still is —with the Columbus Symphony Chorus). Born to Make Music Michael G. Ronstadt was born in Tucson, Ariz., in 1984, into five generations of musicians. That’s as direct a path to a musical career as it gets. The Ronstadts have been pillars of the Tucson community for decades. There was a pioneer pharmacy and a wagon-making business that led to the Ronstadt hardware store. Every family gathering had perhaps 10 guitars and about 40 people singing. Michael decided to study cello in the third grade and studied guitar in a mariachi program in sixth grade. His father (Michael J.) came and played music for his elementary school classes. Early pop influences were Paul Simon, Tom Petty, The Beatles and mariachi music. He was into new age music like Deep Forest and Enya before liking rock ’n’ roll. In high school, he was in youth orchestra and had a rock band with his brother and some friends. He played cello with distortion and a wah-wah pedal. His father (who had his own trio) was the sound man and helped book local gigs. During that time, Michael liked ’90s rock like Radiohead, Muse and Coldplay. Throughout high school and college, he played guitar and cello in both classical and non-classical settings (the classical cello gigs brought in the money). He studied undergrad cello performance at the University of Arizona and received a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. Post-college, Michael became a much sought-after studio musician who has appeared on more than 100 albums in the last dozen years. Michael’s newest solo album,Foolish Fox, his fourth, was released in October. He appears regularly with Ronstadt Generations (with his father and brother, Petie) and in a number of side projects, the most prominent at the moment with Aaron. Michael heard Aaron when Aaron opened up for Ronstadt Generations five years ago. Michael joined him on one song and liked his shy but confident approach. He later telephoned Aaron, asking to play together. Thus, a friendship and musical partnership was born. The Journalist The path to a musical career for Aaron Nathans, by contrast, was labyrinthian and anything but direct. He was born in Paterson, N.J., in 1973. His family moved around a bit and settled in Bexley, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, when he was 11. He finished high school in Bexley. His mother sang to him and he took lessons on piano, which he studied for eight years. While there was no rock music in the house — strictly classical — his father liked listening toPrairie Home Companion while driving and Aaron got acquainted with roots musicians like Greg Brown. He also took clarinet lessons and joined the marching band. Aaron’s early heroes were newspaper journalists, such asChicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene, who was a Bexley native. Aaron visited the Soviet Union in his senior year of high school in 1990 just as Iraq invaded Kuwait. Auspiciously, a fellow exchange student played guitar and sang “Masters of War.” When Aaron got home, he delved into Bob Dylan’s discography. Aaron went to American University to study journalism. After graduation in 1995, during a stint with The Associated Press in Vermont, he wrote poetry during “down time.” The cadence of the poetic work led him to buy a guitar and take lessons. He pursued creative writing at a weekly writer’s group where he met his wife, Debra, a playwright (“She’s the best writer in the house,” he said). Following a job offer, they moved to Madison, Wis. — a nine-year stint. Aaron continued writing songs and started playing open mics. A cancelled open mic where he played a set of his songs in front of an audience became his first gig. In 2002, he started attending the Madison Songwriter’s Group to further develop his craft. He learned from everyone, but especially from Eric Hester, the group’s president. Another friend, Dale Kidd, widely known in Madison, put new music to one of Aaron’s songs and they became friends and songwriting partners. Sadly, Dale died in 2009. Aaron still misses Dale, even today, despite already having moved back East in 2006, where he continued as a business reporter. In 2005 he released his first CD,Same Old You. That same year, during summer vacation in Vermont, he met singer/songwriter Phil Henry, who introduced Aaron to the Northeast singer/songwriter scene and produced Aaron’s second CD, Alchemy of Memory (2011). This led to a showing at Kerrville Folk Festival where, in 2011, he was a finalist in the New Folk competition. We think Aaron’s journalistic storytelling skills, paired with Michael’s unique instrumental (and songwriting) chops, will continue to spin gold for as long as they choose to work together — a lengthy time, we hope! websites: michaelronstadt.com | aaronnathans.com
THE READING EAGLE
Larissa Kubitz February 03, 2015 Voices: Larissa Kubitz, senior at Oley Valley | Michael G. Ronstadt and Aaron Nathans perform on Jan. 16 at The Historic State Theatre of Boyertown. Down-home delight in Boyertown Tuesday February 3, 2015 12:01 AM Larissa Kubitz Jan. 16 brought two musical marvels to Boyertown, as Michael G. Ronstadt and Aaron Nathans took the stage at The Historic State Theatre of Boyertown to delight folk music fans. The evening concert garnered a decent audience of about 50 and was kicked off by a short set by "Wordplay," a charming duo of Charley Farrell and Amy Forsyth. The pair sing and play the guitar and fiddle. They played a lovely variety of original tunes, ranging from the slow, lilting "Josephine's Waltz" to humorous and lively "Man at the Sink." Ronstadt joined in the opening act, accompanying Charley and Amy on the cello. After a brief interlude, headliners Ronstadt and Nathans launched into "Doing the Best I Can," from their latest album "Crooked Fiddle." Both young men are avid songwriters in addition to their penchant for performing, and have amassed a unique collection of songs. The audience was treated to "Old Joe's Chair" and "Thirteen," the latter being a charming tune about growing up and embracing maturity. A standout was "One Step", a song that Ronstadt said was written for the guitar but adapted for the cello. And indeed, Ronstadt's skill on the cello shone through the spirited tune, especially paired with the lead vocals and solid guitar rhythms of Nathans. As someone who appreciates the unusual sound of the cello, I was thrilled to see such a seamless combination of classic guitar and lively cello. Even familiar songs such as "Another One Bites the Dust" had a different sound in the hands of the two performers. Ronstadt and Nathans delivered a few more songs from their eclectic repertoire, one being based entirely off of the poem "I Stood Upon A Hill" by Clarence Dan Blachly. They really brought the musical arrangement of the poem to life. Another impressive factor was their stage presence and consistency. They were at ease onstage, even after a string on Ronstadt's cello broke. He continued to play, working around the blemish. Ronstadt switched to the guitar, and Amy Forsyth rejoined the men on stage to wrap up the show. I was pleased with the overall dynamic of the performance, as it left little to be desired; the selections were varied and interesting, and the execution near flawless. Ronstadt and Nathans exemplify the folk music genre with their originality and clear cut talent. - See more at: Down-home delight in Boyertown | Reading Eagle - VOICES
Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup January 28, 2015 Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonensis "Epilogue" Own label, 2014 www.ronstadtgenerations.com Linda Ronstadt's younger brother Michael J. Ronstadt (vocals, guitars) and his two sons Michael G. (vocals, cello) and Petie D. (vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo) are the Ronstadt Generations. Together with Los Tucsonensis, Alex Flores (vocals, tenor saxophone), Sam Eagon (bass), Aaron Emery (drums, percussion) Tom Hampton (lap steel) and Richard Katz (B3 organ), they returned to their Tucson studio to finish 8 songs that didn't make it on their 2012 album Prelude. The songs are kind of journey through America and it's musical history, starting off in Los Angeles with Jackson Browne and his melancholic ballad "For a dancer", hauntingly beautiful singing accompanied by guitar, cello, bass, drums and saxophone. Robert Johnson was one of Mississippi's most famous Blues musicians, they chose "Come on in my kitchen", lap steel, saxophone and cello play stunning solo parts and the singing is awesome. New York City's alternative Country singer Gillian Welch wrote "Annabelle", a mid tempo song brilliantly brought forward by the band. "Sixteen tons" is a classic Blues by Merle Travis from Kentucky and one of my favourite songs and the CD unfortunately ends already after 36 minutes with another evergreen, "Riders in the sky" by Arizona's Country legend Stan Jones. The new album of the Ronstadt Generation presents 8 cover versions, skilfully arranged for the band, the accomplished musicians leave their marks on each of the well known songs. © Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup
NO DEPRESSION - THE ROOTS MUSIC AUTHORITY SINCE 1995
John Apice December 22, 2014 Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt – Crooked Fiddle by John Apice December 22, 2014 With the opening strains of a cello and the dual vocals of Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt – the adapted poem – "I Stood Upon a Hill” by obscure poet Clarence Dan Blachly unfolds as a brilliant lyric. Discovered in a used bookstore a 1939 chapbook it contained words that warranted music and deserved it. With the permission of the Blachly estate, the duo molded the words into an Irish-type folk song. Their Lowen and Navarro type vocals stitched together into a uniform voice and a perfect introduction to the music of Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt. This is not dynamic music in the complicated arrangements of progressive bands, alternative rock or contemporary music. It’s not about showboating and dramatics. It’s a difference between a comfortable white sheet of linen and cashmere. Nathans and Ronstadt are cashmere. Music you would want to get closer to and not be overwhelmed by. Aaron Nathans - Photo from the Aaron Nathans website The well-thought out approaches here are smooth with poignant tales filled with sincerity. Perfect for late night glasses of wine. “Cars Don’t Keep” is not a country rollick song about automobiles – instead, it’s about saying goodbye to a vehicle that had been reliable the way a good friend is. This is the songwriting creativity that I admire. While the duo are not old men the mystique of the barber’s chair is obviously strong in their memories. Decades ago, as perhaps still today, old codgers sat in the big wind-up seat, with the leather strap for a straight-edge shave and knew it was a place where the barber was the equal to a therapist. “Old Joe’s Chair,” revisits the comfort of that relationship. Maybe it’s the ambience of the walls with the ornate paintings. Or, the old radio station music that permeated the soft paint peeling walls of the parlor where other men sat and waited with their faces buried in National Geographic magazines and political gossip. The smell of hair tonic and powder. The breath of Old Joe on your neck as he clips away expertly with scissors and comb, then dabs that talc all over your neck so good you could fall asleep in the chair. He’s the man you confided in – even more so than a bartender. A bartender’s advice was usually what you wanted to hear. A barber…he was closer to a priest. You could confide in him -- he offered a philosophy. This is what makes a great folk song, episodes that made up something about life that left you with a memory. “Crooked Fiddle,” is an amazing track. The lyrics sung with such ingenious speed it reminds me of the jazz tune The Monkees – yeah you heard me right -- did so brilliantly in the 60’s when Mickey Dolez fired out his vocals as fast as Lucas McCain of The Rifleman fired his modified Winchester on “Goin’ Down.” That was jazz-infused frenetic and this new one by this duo -- is beautifully frantic as well. In the hands of Nathans and Ronstadt it’s layered with such cool overlapping lyrics – yet, the music is spare and never intrudes. This tune is already on replay. While some songs are sung with deep serious vocals and they’re clear enough to understand every word the tunes may be too adult and polished for some. Is that a problem? Not at all. The duo balances the songs that are well-intentioned even in their impeccable starchy clean presentation. But this is not always the case. So don’t get put off. After hearing Bob Dylan perform his classic “All Along the Watchtower,” on John Wesley Harding -- and then the endless plays of Jimi Hendrix who elevated it to another stratosphere, the ability to interpret that very same song with cellos shows the diversity that Aaron and Michael can conjure on an age-old song. This takes skill and they pull it off. “Tongue Stuck in Ice,” has an infectious acoustic guitar melody and is edgy. This approach reminds me of the surreal / folk driven style Dave Cousins’ utilized with his band The Strawbs -- especially on their classic album “Grave New World.” This is a winner. A real favorite. You may have guessed by now that Michael G. Ronstadt is related to another Ronstadt – but, make no mistake -- this fellow is his own man. Nephew of legendary female rocker Linda Ronstadt, Michael is the son of musician Michael J. Ronstadt – Linda’s younger brother. The acorn doesn’t fall too far from the tree does it? He is a real contender and along with Nathan -- not afraid to push the envelope. Michael G. Ronstadt - Photo: Karl McWherter While the track “Thirteen” has a wonderful, memorable melody, the song “Doing the Best I Can,” is the real ear candy. Many unfamiliar with the progression of folk music through the decades would be easily re-educated if they patiently listen to how the cello – used as a lead instrument on many of these songs – is hauntingly good and does in fact render these little stories into a revitalized modern-day folk showcase that is catchy. There is nothing here that is stale, and nothing that would be stale 20-years from now. The CD package is like the music – nothing flashy, just confident in what it displays, simple and attractive. It exudes what you will find in the production. Nothing is over-stated, and the songs are well paced. I am impressed with the “sound” these men pull out of their instruments without the addition of so many in your face instruments. They simply don’t need the added blare. Their talent and fine arrangements are what’s attractive and the project was produced and engineered by Michael himself. “Drop of a Hat,” is the last track -- written by Aaron and the late Dale Kidd in 2004 – and appearing for the first time on this album. It confirms that they would have been a viable songwriting team. The duet is emotional and the instrumentation is chillingly good, as well as, tear inspiring. Like many Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits songs – these tunes can linger in your ears and follow you into bed where you will be looking up at the ceiling with your eyes closed in the dark and the melodies still partying into your sleep. There is nothing here that is of a high brow lecture, nothing heavily political or offensive. It’s what makes for great songwriting and a few minutes of content listening that just may chase your stress away. And the good thing is – you can take it generously and you won’t overdose on it. Aaron Nathans website: http://www.aaronnathans.com/ Michael G. Ronstadt website: http://michaelronstadt.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathansronstadt Sample Tracks: http://www.rdio.com/artist/Aaron_Nathans__Michael_G._Ronstadt/album/Crooked_Fiddle/ Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this review / commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of No Depression. All photography is owned by the respective photographers and is their copyrighted image; credited where photographer’s name was known & being used here solely as reference and will be removed on request. YouTube images are standard YouTube license. John Apice / No Depression / December 2014
Michael Tearson December 16, 2014 AARON NATHANS and MICHAEL RONSTADT: Crooked Fiddle Dec 16, 2014 Michael Tearson AARON NATHANS and MICHAEL RONSTADT Crooked Fiddle Nathans Ronstadt 001 This is an engaging, warm and intimate collaboration between songwriter Aaron Nathans and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Michael G. Ronstadt (cello, guitar, mandolin). Following and getting to know Michael, I have developed a strong respect for the adventurousness he brings to everything he does. He produced and engineered this project with Ernie Tokay, and they have created a lovely album with smart, inventive production that never gets busier or denser than absolutely necessary. I like it sparse. Aaron is the principal songwriter here, as he wrote or co-wrote nine of the twelve selections with the title track a collaboration with Michael. For his part, Michael brought two of his songs to the set. And they cover “All Along the Watchtower” with an arrangement more along the lines of Dylan’s original than the famous Jimi Hendrix cover. Michael’s cello brings something fresh and new to the oft played song. The songs are often contemplative and thoughtfully constructed. Opener “I Stood Upon a Hill” adapts a Clarence Dan Blackly poem first published in 1939. This paean to nature sets the table nicely for what follows. Michael’s “One Step” is about persevering, encouragingly so. Aaron wrote “Old Joe’s Chair” with mix/master engineer Phil Henry as an ode to the comfort of a long loved barber’s work and company. “Thirteen” is a light hearted remembrance of going through his Bar Mitzvah. “Crooked Fiddle” is a meditation on frustration and getting nervous. His “If I Had an Axe” is essentially an elegy for Pete Seeger told in scenes from Pete’s life. The title refers to the possibly apocryphal legend of Pete wanting to sever the sound cable at Newport Folk Festival 1965 as Bob Dylan was playing electric. Throughout the songs are stirring and they leave you thinking. A thoroughly satisfying and stimulating effort. — Michael Tearson
ACOUSTIC LIVE NYC
Richard Cuccaro December 19, 2014 Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt - Crooked Fiddle The collaboration between singer/songwriter Aaron Nathans and cellist Michael G. Ronstadt expands considerably on earlier efforts with their recent release, Crooked Fiddle. The opening track is a musical adaptation of a poem by Clarence Dan Blachly, “I Stood Upon a Hill.” I found that the interweaving overlays between cello and vocals invited favorable comparison to The Goat Sessions album with Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan. Track two, “Cars Don’t Keep,” is an unforgettable ballad, a bittersweet memory of the irrational love between a young man and his first (and subsequent) vehicles: … in you I brought home my new son / kids grow up, but they live on / Now I clear out your back seat / I know cars don’t keep / I send you off on one last ride / I think I left my youth inside / I swore I would not fall so deep / but I am only human / I know cars don’t keep. “If I Had an Axe” takes the legendary myth of Pete Seeger’s attempt to cut a sound cable during Bob Dylan’s set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and pairs it with Dylan’s severing his ties with early protest singers. It then effectively slides into an allegory about the schism between a father and son. The Dylan link is explored further in the next track, a cover of “All Along the Watchtower.” Aaron’s vocal gives an expressive reading of this classic and Michael’s cello work adds some wonderful melodic improvisation. The combination of Nathans and Ronstadt continues to yield impressive results.
By Jane Holahan September 18, 2014 Music has always been a part of Michael Ronstadt's life Michael Ronstadt started an orchestra in fourth grade, and he’s been playing ever since. Actually, he was an old hand by fourth grade, since music had been part of his life pretty much since Day One. When you are a member of the Ronstadt family — yes, that Ronstadt family; Linda is his aunt — music fills your life. “Music was always in my family,” he says. “I grew up with my dad and my dad’s cousin playing music at local resorts. They played kids’ music, cowboy music, folk music, the kind of music you expect to hear in Tucson,” where he grew up. Expanding his horizons, Ronstadt took up the cello in fourth grade (for that orchestra, no doubt) and eventually earned a master’s degree in performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The Cincinnati resident will be coming to Chestnut Hill Cafe on Sunday, but not with an orchestra. Ronstadt will be appearing with guitarist Aaron Nathans. The duo, after playing together occasionally, will release an album, “Crooked Fiddle,” in October. Ronstadt first heard Nathans several years ago when Nathans opened for Ronstadt’s family group, which was playing at a coffeehouse. Ronstadt was impressed with his guitar playing, singing and songwriting, “Aaron is a genius lyricist. He knows how to tell a simple story in a unique way you don’t hear in other songs,” he says. “He can move your heart and soothe it.” They played a song together during that performance, and Ronstadt asked Nathans if he’d like to work together on occasion. “By now, we had worked together on enough material to make an album,” Ronstadt says. Ronstadt’s father and brother appear on the album. The three Ronstadts have The Ronstadt Generations, a Southwestern acoustic trio that tours throughout the country. Obviously, that classical music degree doesn’t keep Ronstadt from playing a variety of music. “I don’t care what kind of music it is, if it speaks to me, if it comes from the heart,” Ronstadt says. “I love the collaborative nature of it. It makes life joyous.” So why the cello? “It was the end of third grade, and we were asked what we wanted to play. The music teacher, Mrs. Edwards, demonstrated all the different instruments, and she stood for all of them except the cello. In my third-grade mind, I wanted to play the cello because I could sit down.” He found he loved it. “The soothing sound of the cello has done something to me,” he says, adding with a laugh, “I must have latched on to it by more than sitting down.” His family strongly supported his move into classical music, and Ronstadt earned his master’s in cello performance. “My parents were ecstatic when I chose the cello. They always wanted a cellist in the family.” His aunt is proud of him, too. On a recent interview on “The Diane Rehm Show,” she said of her nephew: “Mickey is a master’s level cellist, and he also plays the guitar really well. He can play anything with strings and is well versed in various rhythm cultures.” Having a famous aunt has opened some doors for Ronstadt. “It puts my foot in the door, but beyond that it’s my job to deliver,” he says. He considers his aunt a big influence, particularly in the way she crossed genres throughout her career. He remembers her just being Aunt Linda, who sang along with everyone else when they had family gatherings. Dealing with Parkinson’s disease, Linda Ronstadt recently announced that she can no longer sing. “She is doing OK, but it’s hard for her,” he says. Ronstadt is not necessarily looking for the kind of fame his aunt found. He just wants to play with and for folks. “We come to Lancaster not for the paycheck,” he says. “The coffee shop circuit is not where you get rich. You meet a lot of great people, you establish community.”
By Virginia Lindak, For 21st Century Media September 19, 2014 Phoenixville cellist with musical legacy set to release folk rock collaboration Phoenixville’s arts and music scene continues to thrive as native Michael Ronstadt, along with his musical partner Aaron Nathans, get ready to release their new album, “Crooked Fiddle,” on Oct. 10. The duo will embark on an East Coast tour to promote their first collaborative effort. Ronstadt, a fulltime musician and cello virtuoso, hails from a musical family. He is the nephew of Grammy Award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt and plays hundreds of shows each year, both nationally and internationally, along with his father and brother in The Ronstadt Generations group. He first collaborated with Nathans, a longtime Philadelphia songwriter, four years ago. The pair have been busy recording “Crooked Fiddle” for the past year and a half. The album features 11 original songs and one cover: Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” “It falls into the folk category, but it’s edgier,” Ronstadt says of the album. “We have cello and guitar, but I am a cellist who improvises. We do a lot of driving rhythm backing up this folk music, as well as some just beautiful ballad-style pieces.” Ronstadt, who is classically trained, says his musical influences span a wide range of musical genres from classical to Southwestern folk to classic and progressive rock. “I have a lot of classical influence because that’s my study,” he explains. “I grew up in Tucson, so my influences range from a lot of the traditional Mexican music, Southwestern Folk music, as well as bluegrass and old-time fiddle music.” Nathans is a journalist as well as a musician, and writes many of the lyrics on the new album. Says Ronstadt: “Aaron’s lyrics can grab you by the heart and pull at those strings. He has a lot of influences from literature and the journalism world, as well as just being able to tell a great story.” Ronstadt also credits his musical family as influencing his career, including his famous aunt, Linda, who has also worked in an extremely wide range of genres. “She influenced me a lot in that she is a professional musician who made a living and stuck to her musical integrity, which you don’t always see,” he says. “I cross a lot of genre barriers. I think music is music; if it is done from the heart, and you’re expressing and saying something, then you are going to make good music. “My aunt, with all of the record company stuff, she still was able to choose songs that meant something to her. She chose good music and she chose good players and she sang her heart out. That was a big influence.” Ronstadt often plays locally in Phoenixville and says he enjoys the intimacy and the ability to connect with the audience while performing at smaller venues such as Steel City, The Pickering Creek Inn, Black Walnut Winery and the Diving Cat Gallery. “I love how there are artists, musicians and a good coffee that come together on the main street,” he says. “There are really great little bars to mingle with folks. You have all of that together and it’s good energy. Our community really supports each other.” To celebrate the new album, Ronstadt and Nathans decided to book a handful of CD release shows in the Philadelphia area as well as New Jersey and Delaware. Tour dates and more information are available at Aaronnathans.com and Michaelronstadt.com. Crooked Fiddle is available at www.CDbaby.com and will be coming to iTunes soon.
Valsam January 29, 2013 Ronstadt Generations “Prelude” Receives High Praise with Belgium Review Posted on January 29, 2013 by Michelle Fortier Trespass Music Radio Clients Ronstadt Generations current album“Prelude” has received high praise with a Belgium review from music criticValsam of Rootstime. Valsam of Rootstime begins “A father who shares the stage with his two sons isn’t uncommon these days in the music business. Michael Joseph Ronstadt (vocals and guitars)-the younger brother of eleven time Grammy Award winning country singer Linda Ronstadt, playing for several years, is joined by sons Petie Dalton (vocals and guitar) and Michael Gilbert(vocals, cello and mandolin). They perform as ‘Ronstadt Generations‘ and they have a new CD titled “Prelude“, a CD that came about after an intensive collaboration in the studio with backing band ‘Los Tucsonenses‘ , a collective of top instrumentation from Tucson, Arizona. This family has created an album with 13 songs, six of which are original compositions and nicely divided between the three Ronstadt-men. The best tracks on the album are self-penned with the opening track “Prelude To A High Life” (see video), the bluesy “Take My Words“, country ballad “Thunder and Sadness” and the closing song “Like a River“. Additionally the band shows well, with a choice of classic cover songs:two songs by Stephen Stills “For What It’s Worth” (from “Buffalo Springfield“) “Find The Cost of Freedom” (from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young“), the Jimmie Rodgers classic “California Blues” from 1928, the more recent country and bluegrass rocker “John Law Burned Down The Liquor Sto‘” and Chris Thomas King “The Mill Was Made Of Marble” by Joe Glazer. Photo by Karl McWherte The most notable songs on “Prelude” are two ancient Mexican traditionals sung beautifully in Spanish with the delicious “Malaguena Salerosa” and “La Llorona” a song that sister and aunt Linda Ronstadt also previously recorded for her album “Canciones De Mi Padre” in 1987. The multicultural roots and traditions found in Arizona, Texas and Mexico for centuries is here in “Ronstadt Generations Prelude Y Lost Tucsonenses“, musically translated brilliantly into thirteen songs on this album, an album that repeatedly recalls the works by ‘Los Lobos.’” (Valsam) Rootstime
ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS
Danielle Switalski January 31, 2012 Cello Art Gathering kicks off with new band By Danielle Switalski - email@example.com - posted Tues., Jan. 31, 2012 Read more: http://elkodaily.com/news/local/gathering-kicks-off-with-new-band/article_4be6af5e-4c22-11e1-9cd7-001871e3ce6c.html#ixzz1l42tmmYw ELKO — Playing an instrument wasn’t a choice when Michael G. Ronstadt was in the third grade. The choice for Ronstadt, who makes up one-third of the Tucson-based band the Ronstadt Generations, was which instrument to play. “(My teacher) played the violin, bass, viola and for the cello she sat down, and I was like, ‘I like to sit down,’” Michael G. said during an interview at the Western Folklife Center. His affinity for sitting launched his career as a freelance musician. He is currently touring with his father Michael J. and brother Petie, who make up the family musical group. “I just go wherever the music takes me,” said Ronstadt, who is now based out of Philadelphia, however, frequents Tucson when he is on tour with his family. The musical trio wrapped up a three-school tour Monday afternoon before they officially kicked off the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in the G Three Bar Theater Monday night. Although Michael G. is proficient in a number of instruments, cello is where he has focused much of his attention, logging countless hours and consistently creating new music. For him, the cello is a unique instrument as he said it creates a sound closest to the human voice and can hit a wide range of octaves. “French horn and cello definitely have that human element, but (cello) has a huge range,” Michael G. said. From the fourth grade on, Ronstadt has worked to perfect the instrument. He obtained his undergraduate and master’s degree in classical music. After wrapping up his education in 2008, he now focuses his efforts full-time on the craft, performing about 220 gigs every year. He mainly tours with the Ronstadt Generations, which brought him and his family to Elko for the first time this year. With a Southwest theme for this year’s Gathering, the Tucson band was a natural fit. The theme was in light of Arizona and New Mexico’s centennial celebrations. Ronstadt Generations will be helping with that celebration Feb. 11 and 12 in Tucson before heading to the East Coast for a month-long tour. The cello is becoming more and more common in the music scene, Michael G. said. Although he has experienced drastic highs and lows each year when it comes to show bookings, he said cello is becoming more standard, particularly in Indie Rock bands. “All of a sudden, everyone’s using cello,” he said. With cello, Michael G. can play fiddle parts of folk songs, strum it like a guitar or play blues and bass lines. “That’s where cello is becoming more popular and people are bringing it to folk music, Indie, rock, metal,” he said. “You name it, there’s cello in there.” In addition to touring with his family, Michael G. also performs solo shows on cello, mandolin and guitar. He has worked with songwriters in Phoenix, Philadelphia and New York. Michael G. said he has gradually started working in Los Angeles and Nashville. “In my career, I’m really happy I’ve been able to make it almost a grassroots effort. Where a lot of people graduate with their master’s and start teaching or join an orchestra, I kind of want to travel and see where things take me,” Michael G. said. “It’s a lot of fun and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to play with some great people and I’m really happy with every connection.” Michael G.’s career has not been without hardships. Although this February is stocked with shows starting in Elko, last January and February he didn’t have any gigs. His landlord helped by cutting his rent, which Michael G. paid back slowly. “It’s kind people around to help me get through that, but like a small business owner, you have to wear about 15,000 different hats and be an entrepreneur and that’s yourself — you’re selling your musical product,” he said. The trick, he has learned, is to not be afraid to get out and go play, and not wait idle for something to happen. “As you make those connections, it will slowly start building because technology can only do so much. People still want to hear you and word of mouth is still probably the most powerful way to get things out there,” Michael G. said. Despite the extreme ups and downs of the music business, Michael G. has learned to develop tools to weather the low times. They also help inspire ideas for song writing, he said. “If I get a really high time, I’ve learned to expect an equal low, and it’s good for you to go through some hardships,” he said. Ronstadt Generations perform at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and again at 6:30 p.m. Friday for the AZ show that also features Ross Knox and Gail Steiger. For tickets to the Gathering, visit www.westernfolklife.org. Read more: http://elkodaily.com/news/local/gathering-kicks-off-with-new-band/article_4be6af5e-4c22-11e1-9cd7-001871e3ce6c.html#ixzz1l42nBrSv
MALDEF: THE LATINO VOICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA
David Damian Figueroa July 04, 2012 PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION July 2, 2012 CONTACT: David Damian Figueroa: (213) 434-4061 DDFigueroa@maldef.org Laura Rodriguez: (310) 956-2425 LRodriguez@rabengroup.com Ronstadt Generations Releases "America, Our Home," A Collection of Patriotic Songs Expressing Latino Pride in America, with Part of Proceeds to Benefit MALDEF LOS ANGELES, CA – MALDEF is proud to support the release of "America, Our Home," a new collection of American patriotic songs recorded in Mexican musical styles by the group Ronstadt Generations to express the ongoing pride of the Latino community in the United States. "Latinos have been an important part of this country for generations, with a long history of patriotic service that extends to today, when many immigrants undertake military and other public service out of devotion to the United States," stated Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF. Saenz notes that the release comes during a time when too many pundits and politicians seek to demonize Latinos despite their longstanding loyalty to this country. "This innovative collection musically demonstrates that Latinos are among those who regularly defend our nation from those who would undermine our Constitution and our nation," said Saenz. The songs on "America, Our Home," all performed in English, include "America the Beautiful," "My Country 'Tis of Thee," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "This Land is Your Land." The original arrangements include musical styles such as bolero, cumbia and son jarocho, which use traditional Mexican instruments such as the 12-string bajo sexto guitar, the Mexican harp, the jarana guitar that resembles a ukelele, and the percussion instrument quijada de burro made from a donkey's jaw. Those instruments were combined with cello, bass, acoustic guitar and saxophone to create a unique style and sound for the recordings. To listen to excerpts from the EP, go to http://www.ronstadtgenerations.com/#!audio/cemg The music will be available for digital download starting July 3 at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RonstadtGenerations, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting MALDEF. The song arrangements were developed under the musical leadership of Michael J. Ronstadt, the younger brother of famed recording artist Linda Ronstadt, whose "Canciones de mi Padre" collection of mariachi music became the biggest selling non-English album in recording history. He brought together a group of musicians to collaborate on the songs, which were arranged and recorded in just four days in Tucson, Arizona. Playing a key role in the arrangements was Francisco Gonzalez, a co-founder of the band Los Lobos, the former musical director of Teatro Campesino, and an internationally known string musician specializing in the Mexican harp. "These are truly original interpretations of American patriotic music that reflect the multicultural roots of my family and of this country," said Michael Ronstadt, who performs with his sons Michael G. and Petie as the Tucson-based folk group Ronstadt Generations. "We're thrilled to partner with MALDEF on this unique project that expresses our pride in America as well as honors our Mexican ancestry." Among the collaborators on the project was David Damian Figueroa, MALDEF's Vice President of Strategic Development and Communications, whose pride in his Mexican heritage is only matched by his pride in being an American. "I've always had faith in the power of music to unify and heal people. ‘America, Our Home’ is an expression of those beliefs." said Figueroa, a featured vocalist on the project. Figueroa was raised in in the agricultural city of Yuma, Arizona (where civil rights leader Cesar Chavez was born and died). He was part of a high school "show choir" called the Yuma High Choralairs, and traveled with the choir upon invitation for performance at the White House, at the Arizona State Capitol, and at music festivals to perform pop-style interpretations of American patriotic music. Figueroa's high school singing partner was Mary Lou Fulton, who also joined in developing "America, Our Home." “My mom is a Mexican immigrant and is the most patriotic person I know. Her closet is filled with t-shirts, tote bags and other gear bearing the American flag. She didn't speak a word of English when she immigrated. But she went on to become an American citizen, earn three college degrees, raise two kids, work as a school teacher for 30 years, and teach her students to have pride in our country,” stated Fulton. Figueroa added, "I was a Mexican-American kid raised in a border town to believe that the American Dream was attainable for all who were willing to work hard for it. My dad served in the military. Three of my most valued possessions are his dog tags, his election official pin, and the American flag that draped his coffin." MALDEF: Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the “law firm of the Latino community,” MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org. # # # “America, Our Home” Album Cover Ronstadt Generations Ronstadt Generations with David Damian Figueroa and Mary Lou Fulton ALBUM CREDITS / NOTES America, Our Home Executive Producers: David Damian Figueroa, Mary Lou Fulton and Michael J. Ronstadt Producer: Jim Brady Associate Producers: Peter D. Ronstadt and Michael G. Ronstadt Arrangements by Francisco Gonzales and Ronstadt Generations, http://ronstadtgenerations.com America, the Beautiful By Katharine Lee Bates “This song really represents how beautiful our country truly is. The line, 'And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea” is a great reminder that we cannot prosper without compassion and understanding of our fellow Americans.” -- David Damian Figueroa Vocals: David Damian Figueroa , Michael J. Ronstadt, Mary Lou Fulton Jarana: Francisco Gonzales Quijada de burro and percussion: Francisco Gonzales Cello: Michael G. Ronstadt Bass: Peter D. Ronstadt Battle Hymn of the Republic By Julia Ward Howe "This song was written as a musical offering to heal the divide between the North and the South in the midst of the Civil War. We hope it will continue to have healing powers for our nation." - Mary Lou Fulton Vocals: Mary Lou Fulton, David Damian Figueroa , Francisco Gonzales, Ronstadt Generations Bajo sexto: Francisco Gonzales Cello: Michael G. Ronstadt Bass: Peter D. Ronstadt Saxophone: Alex Flores My Country, 'Tis of Thee By Samuel F. Smith "This song speaks to the amazing ancestors that came before us. It helps remind me that this country was built by the sacrifices of the Native American, European, African and Asian people to create a place where we all endeavor to live in peace and respect for one another." - Michael J. Ronstadt Vocals: Michael J. Ronstadt, David Damian Figueroa , Mary Lou Fulton Cello: Michael G. Ronstadt Bass: Peter D. Ronstadt Jarana: Francisco Gonzales This Land Is Your Land By Woody Guthrie "I first learned this song in grade school and it was the first time I realized that music can create images and emotions in one's heart and soul. I still get those same feelings I did as a child, singing in school, every time I hear and sing this song." -- Michael J. Ronstadt Vocals: Ronstadt Generations, Francisco Gonzales, Mary Lou Fulton, David Damian Figueroa Mexican harp: Francisco Gonzales Cello: Michael G. Ronstadt Bass: Peter D. Ronstadt Saxophone: Alex Flores Quijada de burro: Francisco Gonzales The Star-Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key “This song has a special place in my heart and makes me emotional each time I hear it. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be an American.” David Damian Figueroa Vocals: David Damian Figueroa Cello: Michael G. Ronstadt Bass: Peter D. Ronstadt Acoustic guitar and percussion: Francisco Gonzalez Recorded in April 2012 at Jim Brady Recording Studios, Tucson, AZ, http://jimbradyrecording.com Web design and EP cover images by Aaron Eng, Mix Revolution, http://mixrevolution.com
UNDERCOVER NEWS - FEB. 2011
By Paul Cashmere February 01, 2011 Michael G. Ronstadt Releases Solo CD By Paul Cashmere 36 minutes ago (Tue, 01 Feb 2011 16:24:13 +1100) Michael G. Ronstadt has released his third solo album ‘Bridging The Gap’. Michael is one of the legendary Ronstadt family musicians from Tucson, Arizona. He plays cello. The family group Ronstadt Generations dates back five generations and includes its best known name, Michael’s aunt Linda Ronstadt. Michael G. is the son of Michael J., Linda’s brother. Michael J. has kept the family tradition alive in Ronstadt Generations with Micheal G, his other son Petie and “adopted son” Josh Hisle. Michael G. and Josh Hisle also perform as Lost In Holland. Hisle is the American war hero who was featured in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ‘Déjà vu’ movie. ‘Bridging the Gap’ was produced by Michael G. Ronstadt and Rick Denzien and recorded in Ambler, PA. The album is available from michaelronstadt.com
Montgomery Media November 10, 2010 RONSTADT GENERATIONS in Concert in Ambler on Nov. 20 Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Ronstadt Generations, featuring the multi-talented family of legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, will be in concert in Ambler on Saturday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m., at an in-home “house concert” presented by Slot-1 Recording Studio. The concert is part of the group’s East Coast tour supporting its CD release “Lulo,” a mix of original songs and traditional Southwestern music. “My sister Linda and I grew up in Tucson, Ariz., listening to the music our family loved, which ranged from the old operas and big band to songs from Mexico and the Southwest,” said Michael J. Ronstadt, who fronts Ronstadt Generations. “Our grandfather founded the Club Filarmónico de Tucson in the late 1800s, and sang on the radio in the 1920s. Our aunt, Luisa Espinel, toured all over the country in the ’30s and ’40s, presenting the music of the Southwest.” The band grew out of Ronstadt’s desire to explore traditional roots and pass along his family’s musical heritage. Band members include sons Michael G., a classically trained cellist; Petie, trained in classical and jazz bass; and Josh Hisle, who has toured with Neil Young and brings his musical roots from the hills of Tennessee and Native American traditions. “We want to get folks interested in finding more about their own roots through their family’s music,” said Ronstadt. “Lulo,” the title track of the band’s CD, “is an old Spanish-rooted lullaby passed from my grandfather." Like his sister, Michael preserves the family’s musical heritage. “Linda’s album “Canciones De Mi Padre — Songs of My Father,” was modeled after a book our aunt, Luisa Espinel, put out in the ’40s,” he said. “Different influences that make up Southwestern music include traditional German, Spanish, African and Irish music.” Though Michael’s superstar sister, Linda, has been more widely known, it’s the entire family’s involvement that continues to ensure that the multicultural music of the Southwest will never be lost. “Our music differs from Linda’s in that we bring a whole new set of influences to the table. Having Michael G. and Petie as fifth-generation Ronstadts brings a fresh approach to the way we shape and embellish the arrangements.” Regarding the famous Ronstadt name, he said, “It can obviously open doors. I'm incredibly proud of all of the work my sister's done. She’s very supportive and helpful, but she’s never said, ‘Let me make this happen for you.’” Ronstadt Generations band members have toured the world with artists including Los Lobos, Mariachi Cobre, the Gatlin Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Neil Young, Walt Michael, Norah Jones, the Santa Cruz River Band and Guy Davis, among others. This is the second East Coast tour for Ronstadt Generations, which started touring across the country in June 2010, and “had a very warm reception,” Ronstadt said.&ht;br /> Regarding house concerts, “Home concerts have become an increasingly important venue for the independent musician. They are close and intimate and give the audience a chance to connecp with the artist,” Ronstadt said. “Many folks find that hosting a home concert is a wonderful way of connecting with friends, making new ones and having great music in the comfort of your home.” Opening for Ronstadt Generations at the Nov. 20 house concert is Lyra Project, a duo from Ambler featuring Debra Lee and Rick Denzien, with Michael G. Ronstadt sitting in on cello. To enjoy the evening with Ronstadt Generations, advance tickets are encouraged. Tickets are $20, including light snacks and beverages, and are available online through www.SongwritersOriginalShowcase.com, or by calling Slot-1 Racording Studio at 215-643-1313. For more information, visit www.ronstadtgenerations.com; www.slot-1.com; or www.lyraproject.com.
Steven Horowitz March 11, 2010 LOST IN HOLLAND INTERVIEW: SXSW 2010 Posted on Mar 11th 2010 9:25AM by Steven Horowitz Lost in Holland is a duo of acoustic musicians -- Josh Hisle on guitar and Michael G. Ronstadt on cello -- who play powerful indie alternative folk rock. Many of the group's songs were inspired by Hisle's two tours of duty in Iraq as a squad leader in the Marine Corps. The two men, who are set to appear at this year's SXSW, graciously agreed to answer a list of questions from Spinner. Describe Lost in Holland's sound in your own words. Josh: It's weird. If we had to describe it I'd say -- if Neil Young and Yo Yo Ma had a child, and that child hooked up with Graham Nash, we would be that child. Sorry, I never answer that question well. Mike: I would maybe say a folk duo influenced by rock and jazz, if I could take the more serious answer. What are the origins of Lost in Holland? J: I started Lost In Holland in Ramadi, Iraq, during my second tour with the US Marines. We had a beat up acoustic guitar and I'd just sit and play when we had time off. I wrote a bunch of songs and came home and put it out there. M: I concur. What are your musical influences? J: NOFX, Neil Young, Tommy Emmanuel, Duke Ellington, and Django. M: My family, Les Paul, cellists Nancy Green, Gordon Epperson & Yehuda Hanani, Brahms, Bach, Prokofiev, Stephane Grappelli. How did you come up with the name Lost in Holland? J: My son's name is Holland. I had a song named 'Lost in Holland' and someone said, "that is really sweet, you should name your band that". So, I did. M: I concur. What is your biggest vice? J: Cigarettes and whiskey and Italian subs. M: Water and Pastel De Tres Leches cake. What's in your festival survival kit? J: Cigarettes and whiskey and very little cash. It's our first time at SXSW, so we just went to default on the survival kit. M: Cello, voice, and my wallet -- filled with very little cash, too. Who was your first celeb crush? J: Buffy the Vampire slayer. What was her name? M: I don't know, but I'm sure it was someone maybe on a Nickelodeon show. What's your musical guilty pleasure? J: t.A.T.u.,'Not Gonna Get Us.' M: Not telling. I do like yodeling though. What musicians have influenced the most? J: Fat Mike of NOFX and Neil Young. I just love songwriters that have the nuts to say whatever they want. To me, that is a virtue rarely seen in today's music. M: My cello teachers Gordon Epperson, Nancy Green & Yehuda Hanani, family's music, and all music with contrast, variety, and purpose. Beatles or Stones? J: Gun to my head? Beatles. M: Beatles, no contest. If you knew the world would only last for two more weeks, what would you do? J: Go home and hang with Holland and Margot of course -- but, on the way home I'd spend whatever cash I had on two weeks worth of cigs and whiskey. M: Play music with my family, and record some CD's to shoot into space. If you could only listen to five albums for the rest of your life, which ones would they be? J: NOFX, 'White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean,' and 'War on Errorism'; Neil Young, 'Greatest Hits'; Tommy Emanuel & Chet Atkins, 'The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World'; Tower of Power, 'Live'; Rage Against the Machine, 'Rage Against the Machine.' M: Paul Simon, 'Graceland'; Crooked Still, 'Shaken By A Low Sound'; Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet, 'Self Titled'; Bach, 'Cello Suites 1-6' [Any great cellist]; Santa Cruz River Band, 'Volume 4.' Steven Horowitz is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.
TUCSON CITIZEN JANUARY 14, 2009
Dan Buckley January 14, 2009 Buckley: Ronstadt family music circle should remain unbrokenJanuary 14, 2009, 4:40 p.m. DANIEL BUCKLEY Tucson Citizen The Old Pueblo got a major holiday treat as the latest generation of Tucson's musical first family - the Ronstadts - teamed up in venues all over town. Back in the late 1800s when Federico Ronstadt moved here from Mexico he created Tucson's first symphonic institution - the Club Filarmonico. Later he would be a founding board member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His daughter, Luisa Espinel, would become the city's first operatic diva, and would gather the Mexican folk songs her father sang to her in a collection, "Canciones de Mi Padre." A son of Federico, Gilbert Ronstadt, would have a daughter who would be the most famous family musician yet - versatile pop singer Linda Ronstadt, who would borrow her Aunt Luisa's title "Canciones de Mi Padre" for her own mariachi tribute to Gilbert. That collection would go on to be a global smash and revive the whole mariachi culture. Linda's generation of musical Ronstadts is well represented by Bill, John and Michael J. Ronstadt (the latter Linda's brother), and it goes on with the next generation through flamenco guitarist Chris Burton Jácome and singer Mindy Ronstadt. But now the sons of Michael J. Ronstadt - bassist/singer/songwriter Petie and cellist/composer/singer Michael G. Ronstadt - have grown into fine professional musicians as well. And throughout late December and early January, the brothers teamed up with their dad for concerts back in the home city, including gigs with their dad's musical partner, Ted Ramirez, in the Santa Cruz River Band. All of the recent performances were eclectic showcases of the considerable talent that has seeped into this next batch of Ronstadts. From folkie family favorites and original tunes to Mexican standards passed down from their great-grandparents, the younger Ronstadts anchored and carried the varied fare to new heights. It's what Ronstadts do. "It's music I've heard my whole life," Petie says. "I had to learn some rhythmic patterns that were a little different from what I'm used to but aside from that it was a pretty easy jump." "Every family gathering there'd be tons of guitars," adds Michael G. Ronstadt. "Bill Ronstadt would have his bass oftentimes, my uncle Peter would have a guitar. My cousin Kiko (Jácome) always played music. If he didn't have an instrument he sang. I guess I was the only cellist the family ever had." And it's always been that way. "There's a picture that we have in an old family album that a photographer friend of my family took when I was in diapers and I was playing my father's old Martin guitar," Michael J. Ronstadt recalls. "I think it was pretty well set at that point. It's just always been something that's been around." Asked how he thought his dad and grandfather would feel seeing him playing with his kids, Michael J. says, "I think they would be very pleased and proud. Sometimes I wish my dad would have been around to see these guys. The fact that both of them are embracing that kind of music couldn't make him anything but proud and happy." The only bad thing is that it was short-lived. Petie will join his dad and Ted Ramirez in the Santa Cruz River Band for the next few months, and there will be a few dates along the way where paths will converge. But for the most part, cellist Michael G. Ronstadt returns to his own road, supporting his CDs, backing singer Lisa Biales and working in a rock project. Check out video of the trio, as well as the Santa Cruz River Band, online at tucsoncitizen.com. And while you're at it, run down Petie's Indie Rock group Goodbye Kiss' self-titled EP, Michael G. Ronstadt's "Cotton Dreams Parts 1 & 2" and the several Santa Cruz River Band CDs.
TUCSON CITIZEN NOVEMBER 19, 2008
Tucsonans offer eclectic grab bag of CDs
Michael G. Ronstadt: Cotton Dreams Parts 1 and 2
The son of Santa Cruz River member Mike Ronstadt and nephew of singer Linda Ronstadt, cellist Michael G. Ronstadt takes the family's musical tradition in a whole different direction. A student locally of Gordon Epperson, Nancy Green and Nelzimar Neves, Ronstadt earned his master's degree from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he studied with Yehuda Hanani. As these two very different discs attest, Ronstadt has learned his prime instrument (he also plays guitar) very well. Disc two is a collection of contemporary classical works, most of them written by Ronstadt, that show him to be a performer with an amazing command of the typical and exotic sounds of the cello, a true virtuoso and a man of instinctive musicality. As a composer Ronstadt is well qualified, creating moody soundscapes that reference a broad range of global and contemporary currents while generating something distinctively his own. Disc one finds him with his group, the Gypsum Ensemble - a cello- and bass-dominated (plus flute) kind of experimental pop band that pulls in an equally broad slice of the musical spectrum. Neither is easy listening music, but both discs are worth the journey, taking the listener on unexpected, worthwhile musical journeys.
Michael Ronstadt on the cello at Valatie Community Theatre
By Andrew Amelinckx
Hudson-Catskill newspapers VALATIE - A cellist from Philadelphia performed at the Valatie Community Theatre Sunday, mixing classical and contemporary works for a small but appreciative crowd. Michael Ronstadt, 24, played pieces by composers as varied as Johann Sebastian Bach, Consuelo Vel‡zquez - a Mexican songwriter of 1940s popular music and Liz Malys - a Valatie native now living in Alaska. He performed an original piece of his own as well. Ronstadt said he liked to "break down the barriers" between classical and other types of music. "Good music is good music," he said. The concert began with Bach's Suite Number One for Unaccompanied Cello. "It's great coming back to it with more Bach suites under your belt," Ronstadt said. The suite is one of six, with six movements each. It is considered the least difficult of the six. His next piece was "Idego" written by Malys for Ronstadt's senior undergraduate recital at the University of Arizona where they both studied. "I was her cello teacher for a little while," said Ronstadt. "She's a great composer." "'Idego' ... is a musical narrative of the struggle between one's id and ego," stated Malys vie e-mail. The piece contained passages that are dissonant paired with others that were melodic. "Let me know if you figure out which part is the ego and which part is the id," quipped Ronstadt during the performance. Next was another contemporary composer's work - Mark Summer's "Julie-O." "This is a lighter piece," Ronstadt told the crowd. Summer is a Southern California native who performs with the Turtle Island Quartet. Ronstadt seemed to enjoy himself as he plucked, slapped and bowed the cello while performing the piece. Ronstadt surprised the audience with his next selection. He belted out the lyrics to "B/same Mucho," a Spanish language song written in 1940 by Vel‡zquez, while strumming his instrument more like a guitar than a cello. Afterwards he said that his family played Mexican folk music and that his musical influences include mariachi, "South West folk" as well as bluegrass and jazz. "I'm also influenced by rock," he said. The final piece was written by Ronstadt and also included lyrics. "Haunted" contained elements from many musical styles with as many tempo changes. Ronstadt again used a variety of playing techniques, including strumming, plucking and slapping. Ronstadt said that when he switches gears during a performance the audience is often surprised. He has been in Columbia County for the last week for an annual week-long seminar for cellists held in Columbia County with Yehuda Hanani, an acclaimed cellist and Spencertown resident. Ronstadt is also studying under Hanani at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where Ronstadt is working towards his Masters degree. The Valatie Community Theatre, located on Main Street in Valatie, is a not-for-profit created to rehabilitate and preserve the Theatre which was opened in 1921 and is in the midst of renovations according to the theater's Web site. To reach reporter, Andrew Amelinckx please call (518) 828-1616 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARIZONA DAILY STAR (TUCSON, AZ)
Cathalena E. Burch
A Ronstadt is mastering the cello.
Article from: AZ Daily Star (Tucson, AZ)
Article date: July 27, 2006
Copyright Information Byline: Cathalena E. Burch
Michael G. Ronstadt is carrying on the family business, but his path will veer somewhat from his famous country-singing aunt (Linda) and troubadour father (Michael J.). The latest member of Tucson's musical dynasty is taking a left turn at Pop Avenue and heading east to Classical Corner, with a couple detours along the route. Ronstadt, a recent University of Arizona music school grad, leaves next month for Ohio's University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he will pursue a master's degree in cello performance. On Saturday, he and his Rillito Duo partner, pianist Aryo Wicaksono, will play what could be one ... (more online)