Ron and Andy Reiss, San Francisco 1968 Whipoorwill (Ron, Don Burnham, Michael Christian, Will Fike) 1978
Ron Reiss, pedal steel guitar
Ron Reiss has been playing pedal steel for over forty years. He grew up in a musical family in San Francisco, and with his brother Andy, learned to play guitar at an early age. He switched to steel guitar after hearing Tom Brumley playing with Buck Owens on the radio as a teenager, while Andy stayed with the guitar and went on to become a successful Nashville studio musician. Ron’s first experience playing steel before an audience was at a rodeo dance in northeastern Oklahoma, in the late 1960s. He got his first pedal steel in 1972 while serving in the Navy and soon was performing in local clubs in south Florida, where he was stationed. He returned to the Bay Area to play music full-time after his active duty was finished, and became part of the east bay and south bay country music scene, also touring the Nevada casino circuit with a show band. He started playing part-time when family and career took center stage. In recent years, he moved to New Orleans and revived his musical career, recording, producing and playing in some of the city’s most prestigious venues with several bands. For nearly forty years, he has been playing on “Black Beauty,” an Emmons D-10 push-pull that was built for him in 1976. He plays through a Webb 6-14-E Steel Guitar amp, also from the late 1970s, as well as a Peavey Session 400. Ron prides himself in his versatility, and is adept at jazz, blues, and rock as well as country and western swing.
Ron in the studio, February 2013 Ron and Andy, 1968