Ronny Cox comes to Cambridge May 10

Renowned actor, singer, songwriter and author Ronny Cox to perform in concert May 10

For Ronny Cox, the show starts as soon the doors open.

The actor and musician brings his tour: “Ronny Cox in Concert,” to the Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School at 7:30 p.m. May 10.

Cox, who has appeared on television shows, like “Dexter,” and movies, like “RoboCop,” says music has always been his first love.

Ronny Cox is an actor, singer and songwriter. He will perform May 10 at the Cambridge-Isanti High School Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center.

Ronny Cox is an actor, singer and songwriter. He will perform May 10 at the Cambridge-Isanti High School Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center.

“I was calling square dances when I was 10 years old,” Cox said. “Then I put myself through high school and college with a rock ‘n’ roll band back in the day. I fell in love with folk music. Even though I always wanted to be an actor, I also wanted to be a musician my whole life. I never wanted to anything else.”

Cox grew up in New Mexico and has a career that spans more than 125 films and television shows.

If pressured, Cox describes his music as folk inspired. He enjoys playing all genres, but one of his favorite artists is folk singer and songwriter Mickey Newbury. He will be playing original songs, as well as ones from other artists.

“A lot of my songs in the show are not the songs that I write myself,” Cox said. “I think my songs are really good, but I preferred a more varied menu.”

He added that part of his job, as a musician, is to share good music with others. That means playing songs from his favorite artists, like Newbury.

For Cox, the music and performing should help to tell a story. His performance will be unique because it has an added layer of interaction with the audience. He has a storytelling element that goes with his set that pulls the audience in.

“My goal in the show is to touch on the human experience, if you will,” Cox said. “(It is) to make you giggle out loud on one song and actually weep on the next. (Some) folk artists just sing the song and shut up and let the song speak for itself, and it’s a perfectly valid point of view. That doesn’t work for me. I found through the years, that people love to know that this little disembodied idea over here on the left has somehow miraculously led to this song over here on the right. They love to know the journey that you went through as a writer.”

For him, storytelling connects him with the audience. It’s one of the many details Cox focuses on to build a rapport with his fans.

From keeping the houselights on to see the audience, to trying to greet every single patron, he makes it a point to “give his best stuff” based on the energy from the crowd. His acting skills have helped him communicate with fans and deliver a funny and heartwarming performance.

He has an extensive resume from his acting career. He was one of the four stars of the 1972 movie “Deliverance” and had another leading role in the Oscar best-picture-nominated “Bound For Glory.” He had other memorable roles in “Total Recall,” “Taps” and “Beverly Hills Cop.”

His latest acting project, “The Reach,” is a thriller starring Michael Douglas. Though picking a favorite role is a bit like picking a favorite child for Cox, he admitted he loves playing the villain. One role was playing Walter Kenney, also known as “The Tooth Fairy Killer” on the Showtime serial-killer TV show “Dexter.”

Ronny Cox will be playing guitar and singing during May 10 concert in Cambridge.

Ronny Cox will be playing guitar and singing during May 10 concert in Cambridge.

“That guy was so mean with no redeeming qualities,” Cox said. “He was so bad he was funny. … Most people don’t realize, but I love playing the bad guys more than I love playing the good guys because the bad guys are always more interesting. You can predict what good guys do. Bad guys get all this plethora of choices. I have no interest in playing myself. I love playing those guys that make interesting choices.”

He’s also starred in “Apple’s Way,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Tickets for the concert are $15 and can be ordered online at www.cambridge.k12.mn.us/~comm-ed or by calling Cambridge-Isanti Community Education at 763-689-6189.

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