(CelebrityAccess) — After a career spanning 60 years, Bluegrass legend Ronnie Reno announced that at the end of 2019, he plans to retire.
“It’s been a great run, I’ve been truly blessed to get to travel around the world and make a living playing the music I love! I wouldn’t change one minute of it…but the road just doesn’t call me like it used to,” Reno said in a press statement.
“At this point in my life, my wife, Debby, and I are blessed to be active and healthy. So, we just want to take time to enjoy life, love on our grandchildren and do the things we’ve never had a chance to do,” he added. “It’s a bittersweet moment for this ole’ road dog. I’m excited about the next chapter of my life, but I would be pleased if Reno’s Old Time Music plays forever.”
The son of banjo pioneer Don Reno (of the Hall of Fame duo Reno & Smiley) Ronnie started his career as a professional musician at an early age, joining his father’s band. providing vocals and playing utility, both on the group’s television show and their recordings, which were released through King Records.
Reno went on to perform with the Osbourne Brothers in a similar role, playing utility and providing a third of the group’s distinctive three-part harmony for half a decade.
Reno then signed on with the great Merle Haggard, and performed with Bonnie Owens & The Strangers throughout the 70s and 80s, appearing on 10 different albums with the group. As well, Reno served as an opening act for Haggard, allowing him to sharpen his chops as a solo artist.
Reno went on to release a solo album under MCA Records and continued to work as a session artist with artists such as Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson and Leona Williams.
He also was recognized as a songwriter, penning hits for artists such as Merle Haggard, Sammi Smith, Vassar Clements, and Conway Twitty, who took Reno’s song “Boogie Grass Band” to number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country chart in 1978.
In 1993, Reno returned to television when he began producing and hosting what may be the only national television show focusing on Bluegrass music, “Reno’s Old Time Music Festival,” which could be seen in 28 million households.
The show, which is marking its 25th year on the air this year, has been renamed to “Reno’s Old Time Music,” and now reaches over 50 million homes weekly via the RFD-TV network.
Reno’s accolades include the IBMA “Distinguished Achievement Award,” the “Broadcaster of the Year” honors in 2013, and he is a member of the Society For The Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Hall of Greats Inductee.