Sometimes a person comes along that goes, for the most part, unnoticed right in the middle of a crowd. They make a difference in the world, and do it ever so quietly.
Sometimes it’s with a burst of fanfare, but usually just the everyday plugging along that is required for someone who is on a life long journey. Such a man was country music entertainer, Ross Key.
We lost Mr. Key to an accident last week. He was helping a friend work on his roof when he fell to the concrete driveway and sustained a fatal head injury. I knew Ross would be helping a friend. That’s what he done every day of his life.
Ross had a couple of college degrees under his belt, but he never made you feel as though you would have to resort to a dictionary when he talked with you. He was as serious as he could be when he talked about the necessity to preserve traditional country music. He was known all over the world and made his home right here in Lebanon with his wife, Brenda.
If you enjoy traditional country music, Ross has worked all of his life to help preserve it. Everybody knows it’s an uphill battle to try to hang onto the past.
I met Ross a few years back at a local place where a lot of musicians hung out. The “Ding Bats bar and Grill” on South Cumberland Street was filled with singers, songwriters and other creative people. Newcomers to the music scene were welcomed into the group.
It was hard for them to believe that Music City USA was only 20 miles down the road. It seemed like a million miles. Nashville has consumed a lot of dreams. Many have rode into Nashville on a Greyhound bus with an old guitar and a dream. Many have stayed with it as long as they thought they could hold out, then they would tuck their head, take the old guitar to the pawn shop and trade it for enough money for a bus ticket to get back home.
Ross Key was a step ahead of that. He made it in his own way. He shall go down in the history of country music as someone who tried desperately to save it. I believe we all know the rest of the story. It’s an uphill battle, Ross. Rest in peace, my brother.