Ronni...

Ronni Ward

Listening to and loving everything from pop to rock, country to R&B, and singing in her Mom’s choir in church, music was in Ronni’s blood. In the 80’s she founded the alternative music group Think Pink and then in the 90’s fronted the country-rock band Cowtown along with her bassist and husband, Ted Ward. She eventually went on to perform as a member of the backup band on a local country music show.

Throughout her musical career Ronni has sung on song demos in recording studios from Kansas City to Nashville. Managed by the legendary Stan Plesser (founder of Cowtown Ballroom) and working with record producer John Boylan (Linda Ronstadt, Little River Band, The Association), she became a published songwriter with a song she co-wrote with Larry Lee (original member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Nashville record producer.) The song, Where Are We is featured on the album "13" by The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

She also captured the attention of Vice President of Sony Nashville Paul Worley who flew out to a Kansas City venue to hear her and was so impressed that he worked for a year to develop her as a recording artist and helped open doors to publishers on music row.

Ronni went back to her classic rock roots in 2014 when she and her husband Ted founded the RONNI WARD BAND. Playing the songs they love for their ever-growing fan base, they are quickly becoming a sought-after cover band in the greater Kansas City area. Ronni is also continuing to write and record her songs and looks forward to putting out a new CD of original music and adding some of those songs to her live performances in the near future.


Ted...

Ted Ward

When Ted Ward was young he saw famous musicians Alvin Lee and Johnny Winter in concert settings. Ted was enormously influenced by Winter's bass player, Tommy Shannon. In his typical deadpan style, Ted says of his decision to choose the bass: "Everybody else was playing guitar." He saw Led Zeppelin in their first USA concert tour, The Byrds, and soul singer Al Green He also saw Oakland, California's Tower of Power, an experience which he says changed him forever. Later years brought touring stints with both Alvin Lee and Al Green.

While playing around Kansas City, Ted got to jam with Bill Payne and Sam Clayton of Little Feat when they sat in with Ted's band, Boss Tweed at the Stage Door. Experiences with well-known musicians continued to be a defining part of Ted's career when he joined Brian Setzer's band. A promising new band was cut short when contractual obligations forced Setzer to return to the Stray Cats for two more records.

With Alvin Lee, Ted played both the USA and England. Engagements at well-known venues with Lee included the Beacon Theater in New York, The Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Rainbow Music Hall in Denver, The Little Bear in Evergreen, Colorado, The Stone in San Francisco, and The Keystone in both Palo Alto and Berkeley, California. He also played at The Troubadour in Los Angeles with Harmonica Fats. He has performed with Johnnie Lee, Jack Greene, The Kansas City Blues Band, Max Groove, Plain Jane, Terry and Jerry Presley (Elvis’s cousins - no kidding!) and The John Bailey Explosion.

At one point, Ted was taken by a mutual friend to see a band called Think Pink at Adrian's in Kansas City. He looked at the singer (Ronni) and thought to himself "Wow! Who is that?" Some months later, he took advantage of an opportunity to run lights for Think Pink for a couple of nights. When he returned to England to play again with Alvin Lee, Ted took Ronni with him.

Audio engineer, bassist, builder, contractor, father, grandfather, and husband, Ted plays fretted, fretless, and upright bass. A 2010 Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductee, Ted says "Some people dance; I play bass to make you want to dance!"


Alex...

Alex Austyn

Alex Austyn has had a love for music his entire life. He started out playing guitar, and later switched to drums when he couldn't find a drummer for his band. He booked his first gigs playing at high school proms and parties, and eventually built a solid career playing in top Kansas City hot spots with bands such as Colt 45, the KC Blues Band, Nightwalker and other Top 40, rock and country bands.

After a few gigs with Nashville singer/songwriter Larry Good, Alex decided to move to Nashville to take his musical career to the next level. He eventually landed a house gig as the studio drummer for Polyfox Studios, where he honed his skills playing with a variety of artists. As he built a reputation as a skillful pocket player and brought his mix of KC jazz, rock and funk to the country scene, Alex found himself working with artists such as Wayne Jackson and the Memphis Horns, Pam Tillis, Peggy Lynn, James Brown's Famous Flames, Lorrie Morgan, Sheb Wooley, and Elvis Wade, one of the first Elvis impersonators of that time. Many sessions and gigs later, Alex became an in-demand session drummer who could pretty much play any style of music, and give the artist a great groove to play to.

Family concerns brought Alex back to his hometown of Kansas City in the early '90s, where he returned to the local scene playing with artists such as DeLisa Dawn Jones, and pop rockers Big Richard. As a hired gun, Alex has kept busy in the KC local scene.

His experiences as a Nashville session player left Alex with a lasting interest in recording, engineering and production. In 2006, he opened Digital Pulse Studios and immediately began developing a diverse musical clientele ranging from hard rock to country, R&B, metal, contemporary Christian and alternative rock. His passion is for getting the perfect sound, the ultimate mix and producing a finished product that makes an artist sound the best they ever have. Working on both sides of the recording fence has given Alex not only the experience behind the controls, but also the understanding of what every artist needs to truly find their sound.


Mike...

Neon Leon

Michael English sings and plays guitar with the Ronni Ward Band. Mike has performed on guitar with Mickey Rooney, Bob Hope, Lee Greenwood, Danny Thomas, Maria Muldaur, Joel Grey, Herschel Bernardi, Dave Brubeck, Tanya Tucker, Little Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner, Rusty Wier, Gary P. Nunn and many other performers. He has opened shows for Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Neal McCoy, Toby Keith, Shania Twain, Steve Wariner, The Gatlin Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Bellamy Brothers, BR5-49, and President Jimmy Carter. He also performed for President George Bush to keep the Republicans happy! He has performed in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Only 17 more states to go! He has also performed in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

While serving as guitar player, bandleader, and road manager for Dino Lee and The White Trash Revue in Texas, they won Band of the Year in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll (1986). In Nashville he performed at Opryland USA and played many pickup engagements and recording sessions. His most recent recording session in Nashville was a sweetening session for a single released by The Dixie Cadillacs. In the Kansas City area, he has performed at Worlds of Fun, Glen’s Opry, Annie’s Country Jubilee, the North Towne Opry, the Union Mill Opry, the Big Creek Opry, and the Middle Creek Opry. He has played on numerous recording sessions, and toured the USA and Canada alongside X-Factor contestant and recording artist Tate Stevens as members of The Dixie Cadillacs.

Mike studied guitar with Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Tommy Tedesco, Joe Diorio, and Ron Eschete. He graduated from GIT with Vocational Honors, the highest certificate offered. While in California, he played many pickup engagements and recording sessions. He also played video games with guitarist Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, The Electric Fence) and bowled with guitarists Scott Henderson (Tribal Tech, Miles Davis) and Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson). His greatest thrill was meeting Chet Atkins in Nashville. He listened to Chet's recordings including "Yestergrooving" and "Chester and Lester" and was deeply influenced by them. In 2001 he traveled back to Nashville to attend Chet’s funeral. After that sad occasion, Neon turned his attention to the piano. A chance reunion with Jon Glaser, a bandmate from California, provided an opening into the world of Dueling Pianos. For a number of years, Mike traveled across the USA playing in piano bars such as Pat O'Brien's in San Antonio and Howl At The Moon in Kansas City.

Using the stage name Neon Leon, he released his first CD titled “Haircut” which is available on Amazon.com and iTunes. His latest single, an instrumental called "Mark's Breakdown" is available here. You can usually find him playing on beat-up guitars and ruined amps and he plays piano and harmonica, too. His musical instruments are usually in and out of various pawn shops, depending on his particular financial situation at the moment. When not performing with the Ronni Ward Band, Neon Leon spends his time with his lovely wife and a whole bunch of dogs.





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