About Ronnie Wayne Gabbard

Ron is a multi-talented musican, singer and songwriter with a musical career that spans over 35 years. His musical roots spring from the hills of southeastern Kentucky, where he learned to play the guitar and banjo at an early age. His uplifting songs of faith and inspiration are flavored in Ron's favorite styles acoustic and bluegrass.

Born in 1961 in Booneville, Ky., he spent his childhood in Owsley County southeastern Kentucky. His parents, James and Edith Gabbard, gave him a rich musical heritage, especially on his mother’s side. Ron taught himself by listening to albums and watching others play in Cow Creek Pentecostal Church. He was playing guitar and banjo by age 14, and began to learn to play bass, mandolin, and fiddle, although guitar and banjo remained his two most favorite instruments.

“I learned to play on an old Silvertone archtop guitar that belonged to the church,” Ron said. “I also played my mother’s Gibson hollow body electric guitar. I bought my first guitar from my aunt for $12.” At age 14 he began playing banjo. “I borrowed a banjo from my neighbor Estill who was like my third Grandfather,” he said. “It was very old and had a skin head. In 1977 I bought a new banjo, a Gibson Mastertone RB-250 for $800. The money saved from raising a tobacco crop. I still have both banjos today. Estill gave me the old banjo just a few days before he passed away at 98 yrs old in 2004.”

Ron played early on with family, and local bands, performing in churches, county fairs, and contests. He played with the Cole Brothers from Hazard, Ky., and appeared on played on local radio and TV programs WLJC in Beattyville and WJSN and Jackson. He later formed the Cow Creek Boys with Rob Morgan, currently of Higher Vision Band.

In college at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., Ron began to play with more established bluegrass bands and begin to tour with the bluegrass festival circuit with local bands. From 1980 to 1983 he was part of Matt Paul and the Bluegrass Express Band. In 1981, he composed and recorded “Wayne’s Chimes” with the band. The single remains a popular favorite. In 1983 he formed the Kentucky Sunrise band with college friends, and from 1984 to 1985 he was part of Lee Allen and the Lonesome Sound.

In 1986, he joined John Cosby and the Bluegrass Drifters, then in 1990 Nelson Young and the Sandy Valley Boys. He was also played in the Timberline band from 1991 to 1993, performing often in Richmond and Berea, Ky. Then, in 1992, Ron’s pastor at White Hall Baptist Church in Richmond asked him to become a part-time music minister. The temporary job became a permanent job, and Ron stayed at White Hall as music minister for seven years.

After leaving the stint as music minister in 1999, Ron began focusing on songwriting and solo work. A solid decade of writing, reflecting, and recording culminated in the 2009 release of his solo project From Where I Stand, with all original songs—reflecting a lifetime spent making music.

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