Ronnie Keith Owens, inspired and encouraged by his jazz drumming uncle, was beating the skins by the time he was 8 and gigging in local bands by the age of 13, where he picked up the nickname Li'l Ronnie. Ronnie was weaned on the sounds of swing jazz, R&B, and early rock & roll; but it was the post-war urban blues coming through his transistor radio on those late-night airwaves that really spoke to him, especially the deep blues of Muddy Waters with the wicked harp of Little Walter and all the great Chess artists. It wasn't long before he was soaking up all the different styles the genre had to offer. Years later, Ronnie put down the sticks and concentrated on the harmonica and vocals. With close to 100 original songs, he has been leading his own band for over 40 years.
Li'l Ronnie and The Grand Dukes are, to quote one reviewer, "the real deal! Superb talent well versed in traditional blues." While Ronnie and the band are well schooled in all styles of blues, they also use elements of 40's and 50's R&B, soul, vintage rock & roll, and swing in their unique blend of American roots music. The band has performed with and opened shows for some of the biggest name in the blues world: John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Taj Mahal, Gatemouth Brown, Carey Bell, Anson Funderburgh/Sam Myers, Pinetop Perkins, Johnny Johnson, Delbert McClinton, Johnny Winter, and many others. They have earned the reputation a an exciting, must-see band. Ronnie has released nine records as a band leader and performed on and produced several compilations including the much heralded "Blues for Big Walter". His most recent compliation features a who's who of great blues artists who donated their time to this project, the proceeds from which will benefit the Blues Foundation's Hart Fund.
Blue & Lonesome Duo consists of Ronnie performing with renowned guitarist/singer Gordon Harrower. Their debut release, Pacing the Floor, was released June 15, 2018. From the Gulf Coast north through the Delta and Piedmont to the rowdy streets of Chicago ... "Two blues veterans share their vision and souls on original and classic blues. The duosetting finds them deep in the blues, playing it the way they feel it. Drop down to the bottom with some extremely strong, raw electric/acoustic duets reminiscent of early John Lee Hooker. Ronnie and Gordon team up for a joyful journey through some deep, lowdown country blues. In the tradition of great guitar/harp duos like Sonny and Brownie and Cephas and Wiggins, these two explore the roots with a blend of original and classic material ... this is what Big Llou on Sirius XM calls the Front Porch. This is music to crack a couple of cold ones on a Saturday evening." - Mark Wenner, The Nighthawks