Texas Songwriter Ronny Spears Passes Away
Photo via Texas Red Productions & Photography
An important and beloved member of the Texas Music Scene passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning (10-20). Singer and songwriter Ronny Spears had just played a show at Hank’s in McKinney, TX with frequent collaborator and dear friend Robby White on Saturday night, and 36 hours later fans were shocked to hear of his passing. It was White who told Ronny Spears’ many fans the terrible news this morning. “My heart is broken. My partner, my best pal Ronny Spears passed away suddenly this morning. I’m shocked and devastated. I miss him already.”
Ronny Spears was a fixture of the Texas country songwriter circuit in north Texas and beyond, sharing the stage over his career with Willie Nelson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Wall, 1100 Springs, The Dixie Chicks, Charlie Robison, Bill Kirchen, Jack Ingram, Geronimo Trevino, Donny Ray Ford, Deryl Dodd, and many more. Ronny was raised by his father after his parents divorced and Ronnie’s father took him from his mother’s custody for fear of his upbringing. Spears grew up in Frisco, TX and studied at Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University), regularly finding himself at odds with his father who didn’t want him pursuing music as a career. But Ronny persevered, playing in bands such as The River’s Edge and Liberty Valance and striking out as a solo performer and frequent collaborator with other songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Brian Burns, and later in life the aforementioned Robby White.
It was during a performance with Ray Wylie Hubbard in 1989 that Ronny Spears had his career epiphany. As they were performing on stage together, Ray Wylie turned to Ronny and said, “Quit playing copy songs,” and this is the moment Ronny Spears began to take his songwriting seriously. Spears spent some time in Nashville, but found it not to his liking and headed back to Texas. His music was always balanced with day jobs and family life. Ronny made sure to take care of his familial commitments first but the quality of his music at his night and weekend gigs did not suffer.
White & Spears was Ronnie Spears’ most recent pursuit with Robby White, playing regularly in the north Texas area. Spears once told Buddy Magazine, “The music Robby White does is Texas music, our vocals fall together, and it’s like we know each other like the backs of our hands.”
Ronny Spears album Modern Day Outlaw is considered a cult favorite, and his frequent appearances will be missed by the north Texas music community and beyond.
RIP Ronny Spears.
October 20, 2014 @ 1:56 pm
He will be sincerly missed by all cause he was a “goodern”..My heart goes out to his family and extended music family.
October 20, 2014 @ 2:07 pm
Thank you for sharing one of my favorite Ronny photos. We were shooting a video with Robby White this day and he made the day go by so humorously, but this photo was taken outside the shoot on a crisp Texas day when he was just in his own skin and could be such a warm and gentle soul. He had such a way of making those around him feel at home. I will miss his presence in this world greatly.
October 20, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
Damn shame still so young this is so sad. He was so talented and criminally underrated. I loved walking into the white elephant saloon in Fort Worth on a Sunday afternoon when he was playing accoustic great voice great writing. I never got to know him but those that did universally say he was one of the good ones.
October 20, 2014 @ 2:25 pm
So sad to hear this he played at it wedding reception 2 years ago. Prayers for his family at this time.
October 20, 2014 @ 3:48 pm
Many great memories and fun times, you will be missed ole friend, RIP
October 20, 2014 @ 3:53 pm
This has knocked me to my knees with sadness; why did God take him away from us while still in the prime of his life? I will forever consider Ronny one of my best friends. He was very talented and a heck of a songwriter. I feel blessed to have known such a super talent. I will see you again, R.I.P.
October 20, 2014 @ 6:18 pm
Ronnie is one of the most generous people Ive ever met. I remember him “giving” my son Taylor, (The Wild Feathers), an acoustic amplifier. He saw the same thing in him that I saw. I had never played Country when he asked me to play with he, Randy, Russell, and Jonny. He said: “Tom, just play your rock and roll licks, it’ll all work out”. well I did and it worked out. I miss that man but I want to send my condolences and prayers out to his family, Tyler, his Dad, Sue Sue and so many others that I don’t remember, and also to folks like Randy, Russell and Jonny, who grew up and played with Ronny for years. I knew him a short while but I always respected and admired Ronny Spears. One helluva singer/songwriter. I will see him again.
October 20, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
Ronny used to host a singer/songwriter night at the Top Rail years back, then followed him to Love & War. Fun times but a punch in the gut today.
October 20, 2014 @ 8:19 pm
I loved that Ronny. He was and had been in the passed years.we would pack up all the kids and head for the lake.Bill my heart goes out to you.I can’t know how your heart breaks.
Holly Jones Walta
October 20, 2014 @ 10:22 pm
i am simply stunned by this news. Ronny and I shared 3yrs of life together back in the early 90’s. He had an infectious personality–on stage and off–that just drew you in. My heart and prayers go out to Tyler, Tanner, Bill–he touched so many lives and will be dearly missed.
October 20, 2014 @ 11:25 pm
Very sad. May he rest in peace.
October 21, 2014 @ 4:24 am
What beautiful, smooth 2 step music he played for Tanner and Holly’s wedding reception, a sound we also enjoyed many times at the White Elephant. Our sympathy and condolences to the family.
October 21, 2014 @ 8:35 am
Just wondering when the services for Ronny are?
October 21, 2014 @ 4:34 pm
A Memorial Service has been scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Thursday, October 23rd at Longhorn Hill Ranch, 8685 FM 1827, Anna, Texas 75049. Immediately following, all are welcome to spend time with the family at Hanks Bar and Grill, one of Ronny’s most favorite venues. Here we will truly celebrate Ronny’s life and the music he dearly loved. Hanks Texas Grill is located at 1310 N. Central Expressway, McKinney, Texas 75070. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Ronny Spears Memorial Fund in care of Cheryl Borden, 109 Greeting Gate Lane, Allen, Texas 75002.
October 21, 2014 @ 4:49 pm
Thanks for the information Kristina.
October 21, 2014 @ 11:07 am
Good hearted man – will be missed. My prayers also go out to his sweet family.
I lived in Frisco during the “BrokenSpoke” days and he will never be forgotten.
Also wanting to know about the services?
October 21, 2014 @ 4:36 pm
A Memorial Service has been scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Thursday, October 23rd at Longhorn Hill Ranch, 8685 FM 1827, Anna, Texas 75049. Immediately following, all are welcome to spend time with the family at Hanks Bar and Grill, one of Ronny”™s most favorite venues. Here we will truly celebrate Ronny”™s life and the music he dearly loved. Hanks Texas Grill is located at 1310 N. Central Expressway, McKinney, Texas 75070. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Ronny Spears Memorial Fund in care of Cheryl Borden, 109 Greeting Gate Lane, Allen, Texas 75002.
October 21, 2014 @ 1:28 pm
Our prayers go out to his family. Quite shocked to hear of his passing. He was too young, and happy to share his music with all.
October 21, 2014 @ 5:37 pm
I knew Ronnie years ago when he was doing portable radiology and came to a psych hospital that I worked at. I have a CD of his and a t-shirt with his picture on it. He was an awesome musician and a terrific person. My deepest sympathy and condolences to his family. God rest his soul
Holly and Bill Rasmussen
October 21, 2014 @ 7:18 pm
We first met Ronny back in the early days of Three Teardrops Tavern, He was part of our introduction to Texas Music and became a true friend for over twenty years. Through ups and downs and many venues such as The White Elephant, The Longhorn Saloon, Love and War Texas, Adair”s, The Red Onion, and various other weddings and events, Ronny Spears remained true to what he held dear. He always had a welcome hello and hug, and made every effort to have time for those who wanted to chat and catch up on events.
I recognize many names from past events in the posts about Ronny. He was always around, if not immediately present, somewhere close in the near future, Ronny, even though your are not present in this realm, our love for you remains. It will continue in our hearts, and in the music you leave behind as a reminder to what is really important in this life!
Janet Pink Prejean
October 21, 2014 @ 9:04 pm
I am shocked and so sorry to hear that Ronny is no longer with us…such a sweet, kind, and talented soul who connected with and touched us all through his music. May God grant his family strength and understanding during this difficult time and find peace knowing that Ronny and Tommy are together at each other’s sides.
October 22, 2014 @ 8:02 am
Really bummed about the news what a great guy and good friend. He will be greatly missed. Growing up in Frisco was so much fun with RonDog being my next door neighbor. He was like a big brother to me and I learned a lot in life from him.
I love you brother and you will always be in my heart.
‘Modern Texas Outlaw’ Ronny Spears, from Frisco, died Monday | Dallas Morning News
October 22, 2014 @ 9:35 am
[…] country musician Ronny Spears died Monday, according to SavingCountryMusic.com,Â Â He played Hank’s Texas Grill in McKinney on Saturday night under the name White & […]
October 23, 2014 @ 9:04 am
My heart is heavy. As a writer, I find myself at a loss for words. I’ve added a tribute post to my blog and linked my readers to your sight. Thank you for your wonderful tribute. Country Blessings!
October 24, 2014 @ 5:00 pm
This guy was one of the first Texas country artist that I got to see in person. He was a really nice guy if you were lucky enough to talk to him. Class act…true artist in every sense of the word…#RIP Ronny! Smile On!
October 25, 2014 @ 12:21 pm
Thank you for remembering Ronny. He was everything folks say he was and more.
October 27, 2014 @ 9:15 am
Ronny was the sweetest guy I think I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. We’ve been friends since we were 3 and 4 (I believe).
I’ll miss ya till we meet again brother!
Btw: It was nice to see all the Frisco Coons at the service. Wish it could’ve been for some other reason.
November 9, 2014 @ 10:56 pm
I met Ronny at Lake Texoma. What a fun guy to be with. He and Kelly could pick those qui tars and sing all night. I have a signed copy of Ronny’so c.dOutlaw cd. May you rest in peace.