It was a night of laughter, remembrances and tears. It was an occasion to meet up with friends, greet new friends and remember a friend. It was an emotional roller coaster ride for everyone involved in honoring the life and music and saying goodbye, one more time, to LoCash Cowboys’ brother Ryan “Troop” Jones who fell ill last summer and passed over in October.
Ryan “Troop” Jones, or fondly remembered by many as “Troopy” was the LoCash Cowboys’ fiddler who also adeptly played the mandolin and acoustic guitar. Ryan also was a member of the 501st Legion Midsouth Garrison, http://www.501st.com/ - a charitable, Star Wars themed organization where he donated his time as a Storm Trooper, thus the beloved nickname of Troopy and the costume he was so fond of wearing whenever he could.
The occasion was “The Song Lives On – A Tribute to Ryan Jones” and was held in Nashville on February 26 at the Wildhorse Saloon. Prior to the show friends and fans, many of them sporting the new Ryan’s Army tee shirts, gathered early at BB King’s Blues Club as members of the LoCash Army Street Team all greeted each other and began sharing stories of concerts and shows and in general, just getting ready for the tribute about to begin. There were members from states all across America that came together for one reason – to support the LoCash Cowboys as they honored Ryan’s music and life.
As we waited for doors to open, several Storm Troopers were standing in front with us and they, along with Darth Vader, opened the show once it was under way. Darth informed all we were there to carry on Ryan’s legacy and celebrate his life as he had touched everyone’s life at the show. On the stage, like a fallen soldier in what would have been his space, was arranged Ryan’s band equipment (which, by the way, was adorned in Star Wars stickers and banners), along with a huge portrait of Ryan. Incorporated into the drum set was a huge Storm Trooper head with pictures of a smiling Ryan in each “eye”. Two spotlights shined down upon all and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more perfect scene set for an absent musician and along the sides of the stage were video images of him performing.
The LoCash Cowboys hosted the evening which also included artists Bruce Brown, Mason Tyler, Randy Houser and Jeffrey Steele. LoCash sang their new upcoming single “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.” as well as a few new tunes such as “Trucks” and “Love Drunk”. Randy Houser added his celebration of Ryan’s life with “In God’s Time” – one of the songs that brought out the emotions along with Jeffrey Steele’s “What Hurts Most” and “Friend”.
Laughter and celebration was shared with Chris and Preston’s tales of being on the road with Ryan – what happens on the road does not always stay on the road as we were regaled with some hilarious stories of interactions with Ryan and the rest of the band. Of course many of us have our own happy tales of times with Ryan – celebrating his birthdays at shows, pizza breakfasts at Put-In-Bay the night he received the news of the floods in Nashville, talking by the equipment trailer about just stuff – Ryan was a charismatic and interesting conversationalist and touched thousands of lives in his short journey through life.
I spoke with his father at the tribute and even through the family’s great loss, it was truly an eye-opener for them to see so many come out to laugh, cry and share Ryan’s life with family and friends. This tribute was a side of Ryan they never got to see and they were ever so grateful to close the circle of Ryan’s life with such a fitting occasion.
We are all sad to lose our Friend but happy that we were able to know him and share parts of his life as he uplifted everyone around him and stayed positive about life in general. It was a night of laughter and tears, hugs and embraces, old friends, new friends and a circle of life that will always include precious memories of Ryan “Troop” Jones.
The proceeds from the tribute will go to MusiCares. Anyone wishing to donate to Ryan’s Recovery Fund to help the family with massive hospital fees can donate at http://ryansarmy.com/donate/.
Calamity Annie – CMTT Music Contributor
CalamityAnnie1 on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace
What did you think of this review?