Red Barn Radio

We visit Lexington’s Red Barn Radio

Photo: LTTL

Ronn Crowder and Skeets Pennington

Live at Red Barn Radio – 25 September 2019

Lexington, Kentucky

GrassRoots Music Tour

Images: Jim Jacob

Words: Rob Dickens

Red Barn Radio is a syndicated weekly radio show which showcases Kentucky music and musicians and those from neighboring areas. The show is affiliated with public station WEKU FM which serves Eastern and Central Kentucky.

Its live tapings occur in the Arts Place in downtown Lexington almost every Wednesday during the year and are open to the public.

It’s an intimate and warm environment and gives the live audience a unique opportunity to experience grassroots artists up close and personal. As well, the show brings this experience to listening audiences around the world.

There’s casual, but informative, weekly conversation interspersed with performances with a diverse array of guests. The show’s host Brad Becker gives proceedings an easy, inquisitive charm. Tonight’s show reaches 670 live performances over 18 seasons and its guests are Ronn Crowder with Skeets Pennington, two talented and interesting musicians.

Host Brad Becker – Photo: LTTL

Ronn has an extensive career. He comes from a family of musicians, started singing in public at 3 years old at the corner barber shop, did session work around Memphis until 1981, working in Sun Recording Studios, American Studios and Ardent Studios. His first recording was at Sun, a reasonable place to start for sure. He has met Elvis three times and we got to hear those stories.

Ronn Crowder – Photo: LTTL

He and his wife moved to L.A. from 1981 until 1994 where he was awarded the California Country Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year and collaborated with Bonnie Bramlett among many projects. Ronn now lives in Winchester, Kentucky just east of Lexington.

As well as solo albums on Altus Records (Harp Country and Memphis Town), Ronn is currently a member of two bands, Sons of the Frigidaires, and RC and the NightShades (Snake Bit), with the late five-time Emmy winner, master pianist, Jay Flippin.

Ronn Crowder Photo: LTTL

Crowder’s many fine original songs were on display tonight as was his distinctive Taylor T5 guitar playing. Songs included “Nobody Was Smiling”, “Snake Bit”, “Reflex Action” and “Caribbean Dream” (from the album Snake Bit), Harp Country‘s “Down So Long”, “Song For The Unknown”, “South Central Belle” (with a William Shatner story), the wonderful “Honey Bee Blues” and “Hotline”. Memphis Town tracks were “Back To The Blues”, “Hollywood”, “The Wheel” and “Sliding In The Mud” A langorous take on “Sitting On Top Of The World” closed off proceedings.

Skeets Pennington – Photo: LTTL

A word regarding Skeets Pennington. Tonight he played accordion, trumpet and saxophone and apparently there is not much he cannot play. A modest fellow who was reticent to talk about himself, his playing was such a glorious adornment to the material.

Skeets Pennington – Photo: LTTL

Red Barn Radio provides a refreshing and down-to-earth program. Its mission to promote Kentucky’s musical heritage is a noble one and they do it with grace and style. The airwaves are all the better for their efforts.

We highly recommend you join a show as an audience member or listen to Red Barn Radio online at and on the WEKU mobile App.



We visit Lexington’s Red Barn Radio

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Author: Rob Dickens

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