The message is simple: “I Want To Be A Blessing.”
That’s the title of Ron Clevenger’s first Christian country CD.
His first paid performance was when he was 4 and an uncle gave him some money to sing “Three Nickels and a Dime,” by George Jones.
Clevenger and his brother, Glenn, began playing music when Ron was 10 years old.
Ron and his brother played mainly bluegrass and country music – even performing in Dog Patch USA, Ark., when Ron was 11. After that, Ron was hooked on music.
“If I wasn’t hooked before, I was by then from playing in front of a big audience,” he said.
He’s played the Country Hayride in Excelsior Springs and the KC Opry before it closed.
Clevenger also played with Ronnie Millsap when he worked at the Forum at Worlds of Fun during his high school years. He graduated from Excelsior Springs High School in 1981.
When Glenn died unexpectedly in 2004, Ron grew stronger in his faith and started working more on his music. He feels there is a higher power guiding his songwriting.
“I Want To Be A Blessing” is dedicated to Glenn.
He says he will probably make a bluegrass/country CD someday, but “that’s not where my heart is.”
“Music is a ministry to me,” he said. “It’s about the message that’s in the music.”
Clevenger has his own local heroes too; they include Daryl and Martin Siegel, who let him play with them when he was just a kid.
“When older people let you sit in, that’s really great,” he said.
So far, Clevenger has gotten a lot of good reviews on “I Want To Be A Blessing,” receiving calls from listeners as far away as Wyoming and Alaska.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of people,” Clevenger added.
He has a few irons in the fire and may be playing at the Jubilee in Branson or joining a USO tour to entertain the troops with gospel music. Recently, Clevenger performed at Cedar’s Coffeehouse on Thompson Avenue in Excelsior Springs with his old friend, Shane McCoy. He and McCoy have been playing together since they were kids. After about 28 years apart, they had gotten together to harmonize once again.
Funny and engaging, the two picked up where they left off all those years ago, like they never stopped singing – the message that’s in the music.
– This article was written in collaboration with Cress Hewitt of the Lawson Review
By Liz Johnson • firstname.lastname@example.org