Suzy Ronstadt’s “Red River Valley” (mini-episode)

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Nathans & Roncast
Suzy Ronstadt's "Red River Valley" (mini-episode)

The Ronstadt family has been in Tucson, AZ for five generations and the next generation is growing fast! That being said, if we rewind back to 1995, Michael J. Ronstadt, father of cellist Michael G. Ronstadt of the Nathans & Roncast, we find some music that has never seen the digital light of day. 

Michael J. Ronstadt (“Papa Mike”) closed down the Ronstadt Pump Company in the early 90’s to take $100 a week playing music at Cragin Elementary school. He sang and played guitar, bringing old cowboy music, Mexican music, Irish lullabies, and kids’ music to all the classrooms. In light of that amazing generosity and willingness to give back to young people and inspire them, he created two kids albums, the first one called “Little Song A Singing In My Heart” and the second called “Younger Generation.” 

This song is from the 1995 release “Little Song A Singing In My Heart.” It was a joint album featuring Papa Mike’s first cousin, John Ronstadt. Also featured throughout the tracks were Papa Mike’s (and Linda’s) siblings, Peter and Gretchen (“Suzy”), as well as their first first cousin Bill. The family harmonies are beautiful, full and lush, and the music arrangements are stunning. This album features a little slice of what it is like to hear a room full of Ronstadt family members play music after a wonderful meal. 

“Red River Valley” is a traditional song that our listeners are sure to know. It is in the folk tradition through and through. This rendition is truly how the Ronstadt family played it at family gatherings for decades and we are so excited to present this version featuring Suzy (Linda’s older sister) on lead vocals, Michael J. Ronstadt, Peter Ronstadt, and John Ronstadt on guitars and harmonies. This is the sound of a family tradition that will tickle your ears.

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