Old-time country music at the old country store

WEST NEWTON – It is Labor Day weekend at the historic Harkin General Store, and that means Lonesome Ron, The King of the Valley Yodelers, is here to play.

The music of Lonesome Ron, also known as Ron Affolter, is an annual fixture at the Harkin Store, having played the event for the last 10 years. Tourists visiting the site are treated to Ron’s rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “The Battle of New Orleans” and “Streets of Laredo.”

Lonesome Ron began his musical career playing rock ‘n’ roll and folk music. As he began branching out into the traditional country music, he grew to enjoy the genre. He is continuing in the tradition of singing cowboys such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Recently Affolter was named to America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.

For this singing cowboy, showmanship is vital. Although Affolter can play any song with sheet music, he prefers to play from memory. He knows it’s not possible to learn every song, but he does his best to learn the classics. “I am trying to learn the song “They Call the Wind Maria” from Paint Your Wagon.”

Not only is Affolter able to play the music, but he also knows the history of the genre and has a special affinity for the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.

“If anyone wants to learn how to write music, they should listen to musicals,” he said.

Lonesome Ron will return to the Harkin Store on Oct.19 for the end of the year tound-up. Until then, fans can see Ron on the cable TV Soap Opera spoof “As the Corn Grows.”

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