Singer-guitarist Ronny Cox was just another dusty folk picker from New Mexico with big dreams until fate intervened and he landed his debut big-screen role in 1972 backhills shocker Deliverance. That break, of course, handily showcased not only his innate acting talent but also his six-string prowess in the classic “Dueling Banjos” scene (the soundtrack instrumental not only became an inescapable radio fave, it also ended up in court when it became known that folk revivalist Eric Weissberg had hijacked, note-for-note, Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith and Don Reno’s 1955 “Feuding Banjos”)—and, long story short, it launched Cox on a non-stop film career.
While Cox’s affable, highly entertaining bandstand presentation of tall Tinseltown tales, old-timey favorites and his own originals may not be the most Halloween-appropriate show, don’t forget he’s also toiled in the horror field (with The Car and The Beast Within) and played some of modern sci-fi’s bitchenest bad guys (in Robocop and the Schwarzenegger blow-out Total Recall). But the real salient point of it all is the rather extraordinary way that Cox has remained true to his musical self, steadily increasing the amount of time and energy devoted to recording and club dates, rather than lapsing into the odious morass of egocentric self-aggrandizement that so many of Hollywood denizens luxuriate in. Expect a low-key, well-crafted and thoroughly engrossing evening.
Ronny Cox at The Fret House, 309 N. Citrus, Covina, (626) 339-7020; www.frethouse.com. Sat., 8 p.m. $15.