By Al Kaufman
Ron Pope writes and sings music from the heartland, both literally and metaphorically. He can play sensitive folkie or all out rocker, and does both on his recent release, Atlanta, but his songs always feel sincere without drifting into egocentric waters.
A Marietta native who currently calls New York home, Pope just finished up a successful tour of Canada and Europe and has returned to the stomping grounds of his youth for a refuel; playing both solo, acoustic sets and live, electric sets before heading back on the road both in the US and abroad.
Pope answered a few questions about playing acoustic versus electric, as well as playing to people to don’t don’t understand the language in which he is singing.
What’s the difference between playing an acoustic and electric show?
When I’m playing alone, I have the opportunity to pick anything I’d like from my catalog. Obviously, when I’m playing with my band, I’m limited to the songs we’ve prepared. Since my catalog is pretty deep at this point, we don’t learn all of my songs before we go on the road, so the acoustic shows give me an opportunity to mix it up however I’d like, which is always fun.
The acoustic performances are more intimate. I tell more stories and it often feels like we’re all sitting in my living room together. My full band shows are really energetic and exciting. I think that both kinds of shows are powerful in their own way.
How is the audience reaction different?
I think the acoustic shows make people feel a more powerful connection to the lyrics and the stories within the songs, whereas the full band show leaves you walking away thinking about the energy and the experience. As I said, I think that each kind of show has it’s own magic.
You just finished touring through Europe and Canada. Did they react to your music differently than we do in the States?
The reaction outside of the US has been unreal. It’s overwhelming to have a few hundred kids incredibly tuned in to my show in a country where English isn’t their first language. I couldn’t believe how well people reacted in places like Norway, Switzerland, and Germany. I’ll be back on tour in Europe early next year and I can’t wait.