Ron Fetner's songs combine southern roots, soulful songwriting with contemporary folk storytelling. This musical path led to wins at the prestigious Kerrville (TX) NewFolk, 2x Gold Winner Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (Songwriter Association of Washington, DC), and awards at Merlefest’s Chris Austin Song Contest, and Austin (TX) Songwriting Group. Performances at Kerrville, MerleFest, South Florida Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Festival, Blue Bird Cafe and the Tucson Folk Festival, among others.
Along the way Ron released 6 CD’s with the latest release in 2017 when he revisited his musical roots, with “BlueHouse Project”. According to Roots Music Report Charts, Ron’s BlueHouse Project reached #4 (June, 2017) with “White Cotton” and #25 (July 2017) with “Piece of the My Heart”.
“…This irrepressible guitarist and singer draws on traditional folk, southeastern roots music and early blues and jazz to create his own earnest brand of Americana” Connect Savannah News, Savannah, GA
“…truly was phenomenal, overwhelming…a unique blend of New England folk and the soul of the South.” – Barry Graham, “Acoustic Highway”, WHRV
“…One of the greatest songwriters I’ve ever known. Ron is able to bring out the old movie projector and I settle in with the popcorn. He will take you there…Brenda Barkley, Talent Buyer-TFAM
Born along the southern shores of Lake Erie, Ron’s first interest in music was sparked by the instruments in the back of one of his grandparents’ closets. Turns out Ron’s grandfather was a drummer/banjo player in the 1930’s playing in popular dance bands throughout Western New York (which Ron documented in his song “Midnight Revellers”). By the time Ron was 8, his family relocated to Northern Virginia. The move south brought on piano and saxophone lessons, then guitar. He was drawn to what now we call the Roots, with its combination of rock, blues, country, and folk. “I was just starting to learn guitar, so it was all very inspiring.”
After high school Ron headed off to Berklee School of Music. While attending Berklee he had the opportunity to join a full-time working band. After 3 years of road work, Ron then teamed up with some DC area musicians to work on original material. That band caught the attention of ABC Dunhill. “Our demo made it all the way up the ladder before they passed on us. It was disappointing, but we knew we were on the right path”. Next, Ron was invited to join Cherry Smash, one of DC‘s top bands. Smashs’ management also worked with New England folk artist, songwriter Randy Burns. After hearing Randy perform live as a solo acoustic artist, Ron knew his musical path was set.
In 1997, after a move to the Tidewater area of Virginia, Ron finally had enough original songs under his belt to release his first solo CD, “This Box I'm Looking Through”. “This Box” caught the attention of Public Radios’ “The Folk Sampler with Mike Flynn” and WHRO/Barry Grahams’ “Acoustic Highway”. Shortly, other stations began playing Ron’s music. Ron was named a “Gold” winner in the 6th Songwriters Association of Washington’s Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.
Ron released “Turning for Home” in 2001. That same year, Ron won the prestigious Kerrville NewFolk competition and songwriting awards at Merlefests’ Chris Austin Song Contest. “Defying Gravity” was released in 2004 and followed “Sunday Morning Blue” in 2009. More songwriting awards from Falcon Ridges’ Emerging Artist Showcase, and the Austin Songwriter Group. Performance stops include Nashvilles’ Bluebird Café, South Florida Folk Festival, Tucson Folk Festival, Gamble Rogers Music Festival, plus numerous coffeehouses and house concert venues.
In 2011, Ron and harpist Tom Dikon teamed up to release EP “Watch Your Step” and win the Tidewater IBC Blues Challenge. Next in 2012 Ron was offered the opportunity to play and sing on blues great, Eddie Shaws’ award-winning CD, “Still Riding High”.
“BlueHouse Project” was released in 2017. This collective recording circles back to where it all started, some funky southern blues, acoustic blues, even a dash of folk. The BlueHouse Project enjoyed strong radio and media support throughout the country. According to Roots Music Report Charts, Ron/BlueHouse Project reached #4 (June 2017) with “White Cotton” and #25 (July 2017) on the Contemporary Blues Charts with “Piece of the My Heart”.
Ron’s down time is spent bugging his wife of thirty plus years and breathing in the Virginia tidewater salty air.