Iconic Musicians Honor Songwriter Ron Davies With Tribute CD To Benefit W.O. Smith Music School

ron-davies_unsung-heroProlific songwriter and musician Ron Davies wrote over 600 songs in his lifetime and has been called “the quintessential poet” and “the songwriter’s writer” by his peers. One of his best known compositions is the 1970 hit song “It Ain’t Easy”, recorded by David Bowie, Three Dog Night, Long John Baldry and more recently, Jack White’s Raconteurs. Produced and arranged by Gail Davies, this soon to be released tribute album contains 22 heartfelt recordings of Ron Davies’ finest compositions performed by some of his favorite artists, including: Alison Krauss, John Anderson, Dolly Parton, Jim Lauderdale, John Prine, Crystal Gayle, Vince Gill, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell and a host of others. All proceeds from the album will be donated to The W.O. Smith Music School. Unsung Hero: A Tribute To The Music of Ron Davies is set to be released on March 25, 2013.

Along with the aforementioned acclaimed country artists, the tribute also includes contributions from Delbert McClinton, Shelby Lynne, Jimmy Hall, Bonnie Bramlett, Jonell Mosser, and jazz legend Benny Golson. Gail Davies hand picked the songs that she felt were right for each artist, John Prine even remarked that he felt the song he performed had been written just for him.

Unsung Hero’s stand out tracks are Crystal Gayle’s rendition of “True Lovers and Friends” with the talented Benny Golson providing the saxophone solo and “Good Love After Bad” recorded by Alison Krauss accompanied by Ron Davies’ nephew Chris Scruggs on the George Harrison-esque slide guitar. Other A-list musicians included on the album are Pat Bergeson, Andy Reiss from the Time Jumpers, Richard Bennett from Mark Knopfler’s band, Chris Nole on piano, Bob Mummert on drums and Rob Price from Crystal Gayle’s band on bass guitar. Crystal Gayle will also be among those performing at the album release concert at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley on March 29.

The production for Unsung Hero began in October of 2004, but due to personal upheavals and financial restraints, the album has been in process for nearly a decade. The project started gaining traction in 2012 when the Nashville music community started to assist. “Nashville has one of the most generous music communities in the world.” Gail Davies states, “Give people a cause to support and they will rally around it like ribbons around a maypole.” While most of the tracks were recorded at Curb Studios, GRAMMY award-winning country artist Crystal Gayle offered the use of her recording studio, Audio 51, which was used for overdubs and finishing touches.

Gail Davies has partnered with The W.O. Smith Music School and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the album will directly benefit the school, providing instruments and music lessons to underprivileged children. “All children, regardless of their family’s income, should have access to a music program.” Davies says, “Having grown up disadvantaged, I know how important music was to my brothers and me and I hope this tribute will be an encouragement to some of our future musicians.”

Ron Davies passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 57 in October of 2003. He is best known for having written “It Ain’t Easy” for David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and “Long Hard Climb” for Helen Reddy and Maria Muldaur. He also penned “Dark Eyed Gal” for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Good Old Song” for Dobie Gray and “Steal Across The Border” for the GRAMMY nominated Joan Baez album Play Me Backwards. Ron Davies’ songs have been recorded by a host of iconic artists including Three Dog Night, Dave Edmunds, Anne Murray, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Long John Baldry, Glenn Yarbrough, Joe Cocker, Mitch Ryder and Steppenwolf’s John Kay, to name just a few.

Gail Davies is credited as being one of country music’s most influential artists and for becoming the genre’s first female record producer. Encouraged by her older brother, Ron Davies, Gail Davies began writing songs and became a country star in her own right. She was nominated for an Americana Award in 2002 for her production work on Caught In The Webb, a tribute to the late Webb Pierce.

W.O. Smith founded The W.O. Smith School of Music in 1984 in Nashville, Tennessee. Born in 1917 to a low-income family, Smith used his passion for music to change his life for the better. He became a noted jazz bassist playing with the great jazz players of his day, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He then went on to earn a PhD, become a professor of music at Tennessee State University and a member of the Nashville Symphony. He had a dream that by offering guidance and musical instruction to low-income families that these children could change their lives also. The W.O. Smith School of Music has introduced thousands of interested and deserving children to the world of music.

To learn more about Unsung Hero: A Tribute To The Music of Ron Davies, please visit rondaviesunsunghero.com.

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