Event date: March 5
Vilar Performing Arts Center
Born blind (his family thought it was retribution for sin), Ronnie Milsap’s grandparents gave the boy over to the North Carolina State School for the Blind hoping for a better chance. There, Milsap discovered music – deviating from the school’s classical curriculum to explore the nascent realms of race music, rock & roll and jazz. Being the brilliant kid he was, it wasn’t long until he’d found his way into the local clubs and the tiny indie labels.
Suddenly, he was sharing bills with Ray Charles (who took the Ashford & Simpson-penned B-side to Milsap’s Scepter single “Never Had It So Good” and scored his own hit with “Let’s Go Get Stoned”), and James Brown on a circuit that included the Howard Theater, the Royal Peacock, and more. It was Ray Charles who told the young pianist when he was offered a scholarship to Young Harris College’s law program, “Son, I can hear the music inside you…”
Forty #1s. Five decades of charted singles. Creating a new way of recording (being blind his hyper-attuned hearing led him to create/build what is now known as Ronnie’s Place, where the new album, the Duets, was captured), he broke genre rules and became one of the biggest pop/AC and even R&B artists of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Six Grammys. CMA Entertainer of the Year and four Album of the Year Awards. The first country video played on MTV (the ironic “She Loves My Car”). An early champion of NFL star Mike Reid, who wrote many of Ronnie’s #1 hits and who’d go on to write Bonnie Raitt’s second most enduring classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
Purchase tickets at vilarpac.org.
Tickets starting at $68