City Winery Pittsburgh Presents: Ron Pope: A Drop in the Ocean Tour Live in Concert on February 19th, 2024 at 8pm
About Ron Pope - Platinum recording independent artist, Ron Pope, made a name for himself in the early days of music streaming with the viral success of his song, “A Drop in the Ocean” - which has now been streamed over 1 billion times going platinum in the US and double platinum in Sweden. Once a die-hard New Yorker, Pope ultimately landed in Nashville where his songwriting is a natural fit for the Americana, roots, and country communities. His last full album, Bone Structure (March 2020), received praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, CMT, Relix, The Tennessean, and more. In early 2022 he landed in Nashville Scene as 12 artists you need to watch. His next full length album will be released in June 2023.
New Album “Inside Voices” Out June 2 -Standing helpless in a hospital waiting room, Ron Pope got a major dose of perspective. After complications from an ectopic pregnancy, his wife’s life was at stake. He didn’t know if he would ever bring Blair - the mother of his child, his business partner, the center of his universe - home, or if he was going to have to plan her funeral. After the emotional upheaval from pregnancy loss, this near death experience, and recognizing the long road of healing ahead, the Popes were mired in heaviness and overwhelming pain. For a year, Ron, ever the prolific songwriter, found himself unable to create - all of his emotional and physical energy was used to keep his family afloat. His ability to craft music in an effort to process life's experiences had been a constant, something that unfailingly kept him tethered to this plane. Now, it was gone. Life was so dark, the Popes were unsure if they’d ever get a glimpse of the light again. In an effort to find relief and some sense of normalcy, Ron suggested a trip to the beach. He packed up his family, and the three headed to the shore. Days were filled with long walks along the water, evenings brought starry skies and quiet, cool breezes in from the sea. The beach was the first place Blair seemed to find joy and rest in a very long time. Ron wished he could bottle it up and give it to her every day like medicine. The calmness and peace from the simplicity of life by the water began to resurrect the spark of creativity. It was time to make another record, but the “normal” grind of 18-hour days in the studio, locked away from his family, having too much caffeine and too little sleep was out of the question. “I needed to be there, to participate in the days with my family,” he recalls. “Blair and I were both still far too fragile to run the gauntlet that my usual recording process put us through.” Ron made a suggestion - he wanted to create this new album at the beach. “But, you don’t write songs anymore,” Blair said. So, he sat down and crafted a song called “Body Language,” as his baby napped in the next room, to prove he could still do it. Longtime friend and collaborator, Paul Hammer, agreed to the plan. To rent a house suitable for living and working required the bulk of the album’s budget, so Ron and Paul decided to tackle the recording process - playing all of the instruments, painstakingly building each track layer by layer, as well as mixing and mastering it - by themselves. Ron found the perfect setting - a secluded, seaside cottage on the Peconic Bay, in a rural area of the North Fork of Long Island. From September to May, he wrote 75 songs, chasing down the muse and wringing out every demon - explaining the depth of his love for Blair, his feelings about family, fear and hope. These brand new experiences changed his perspective and made everything feel brand new.
Ron and Paul worked in a spare bedroom-turned-recording studio that housed a stash of instruments and two chairs. Work would stop in the late afternoon, and big, family-style meals were cooked and enjoyed on the deck. Some nights, they would venture to the local ice cream parlor for a bit of mint chip, sitting outside, grateful to be together. It was the happiest Ron had ever been while making a record. “We did way more living than we usually do while recording,” he says. “Most of the time, making records is like a pause in your real life. I exit everything else and go into recording-land, not to come back to reality until I'm done making the record. This wasn't that. We were with our families, we worked normal hours, we tried not to drive ourselves to the point of breaking. We certainly worked hard (recording, mixing and mastering 27 songs in that little room) but we did it in a way that felt healthier,” he continues. “I just couldn't afford to leave my family, it wasn't an option; we needed to make a record, and this was the only way that made sense to do it.” The result was Inside Voices, 10 of the rawest, most vulnerable, stripped-down songs he’d ever recorded. The album opens with “Body Language,” an appropriate choice to set the tone for the listener's journey. “This song saved my sanity. It helped to bring a sense of focus and purpose back to my life,” Ron explains. “I've never written anything more important than ‘Body Language.’ Writing about the love that we share, after nearly losing my partner, began a chapter that I had no way of anticipating,” he continues. “It was a gift that the songwriting Gods sent to my family when we needed it most.” During the recording process, both of Ron’s beloved grandparents passed away within eight days of each other. Ron’s grandfather was his sounding board and his grandmother was always available to share a cooking or life lesson. Both were witty and hilariously inappropriate at times. Several of the songs on Inside Voices commemorate the impact his grandparents had on him. Witnessing their 60-year marriage showed him that real, lasting love is an action, a choice you make every day - a message carried throughout each of the album’s gut-punching tracks, and, very specifically, on "Love is a Thing You Do." With Inside Voices, Ron taps into his own vulnerabilities while simultaneously expressing gratitude, even in the wake of darkness.