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Ron Block
Banjo, guitar player and vocalist of Union Station
Thursday October 5, 2000 Paramount Theater Rutland, Vermomnt
Interview by William Bolton

I've heard it said (as a matter of fact I've heard myself say it) that country music artists are the most genuine and down to earth of all celebrities. Ron Block not only backs up that theory but makes me believe it even more. Before The Alison Krauss and Union Station show in Rutland, Vermont I had the privilege of meeting and spending some time with Ron, the very talented banjo, guitar player, vocalist and song writer of Union Station.

C.C.C: What genre of music do you consider the band to be?

Ron: I consider us bluegrass at times, folk-pop at other times, and occasionally countryish. If I have to define what we do Iíd just say itís acoustic music. Each cd weíve done has a little bit different emphasis; Everytime You Say Goodbye is more along the lines of a bluegrass recording. The Collection is just that - a Collection from the previous recordings. So Long So Wrong, in its non-bluegrass portions, begins to take a step further away from bluegrass. Forget About It, while it is Ďgrass influenced in a few places, is not a bluegrass cd at all.

C.C.C: How long have all of you been together?

Ron: Barry Bales (bass) has been in the band for 10 years. I joined in 1991 (banjo/guitar), Dan (guitar/mandolin) in í93, and Jerry (resonator guitar) joined us two or three years ago. We brought Larry (drummer) out just this year.

C.C.C:You say that you are not a celebrity, so what is it like to see yourself on C.M.T. and to be asked for your autograph?

Ron: Itís still pretty cool to see one of our videos on CMT, though Iím used to it by now. The focus of this band has always been on the music and not as much on the peripherals. When music is the main focus of a band thereís a lot more potential for satisfaction, so while itís nice to see our videos on television I donít consider it a defining element in what I think of as success. I do always enjoy talking to people after shows.

C.C.C: Do you gauge your success by what other musicians are doing, what the public thinks, or How you feel yourself?

Ron Iíve been through all three of those versions of myself. When starting out as a musician the first thing I did was compare myself to my heroes. I was striving to play like they did, with the timing, tone, and feeling. Later it became somewhat important to me what other musicians thought of my playing. In the past six years or so Iíve learned to just play the best I can and leave the rest of the comparisons alone.

C.C.C: Is this stop here in Rutland part of a tour?

Ron: We normally tour throughout the year. Itís pretty sporadic; weíll be out a week, in a week, out two days, back for two weeks, out for ten days, etc. When we record we usually donít tour.

C.C.C: Dan is from West Rutland. Where is everyone else from?

Ron: Iím originally from California, though Iíve lived in Tennessee for the past ten years. Barry hails from East Tennessee, Alison and Jerry are from Illinois and Ohio respectively and they both live in Tennessee also. Larry is from Canada and currently resides in Nashville.

C.C.C: How is the band's new album doing?

Ron: It seems to be doing well. We have a new video coming out soon for Maybe, which we filmed in Los Angeles with a great view of the city skyline.

C.C.C: You said that you are married. Is being out on the road difficult on family life?

Ron: We donít tour as much as many bands. Iíd say we cap it at around 80 dates per year, something we decided to do because every one of us has a family life. The best thing when I am off the road is that I donít get up in the morning and go to work; I get up and spend time with my wife and kids. When Iím there, I am fully there. And being gone sometimes teaches me to fully appreciate that.

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