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Published:April 11th, 2011 11:52 EST

'McKinley & Beggs' Phenomenal Performers Destined for the Country Music Hall of Fame!

By Tom Ski

There was once a place in this world that was all about country music.  In this sanctuary located in the ultimate home of all things country - Nashville, Tennessee - writers would spend their days and nights creating lyrics and notes that, when combined, would go down in history as some of the absolute best songs ever written.  In this place - a room located above a brilliant man`s garage - these artists ate, slept, and breathed music.  The four walls surrounding them as they worked were covered in black marker.  These were the signatures of the absolute `greats` who had once inhabited this unknown world. 

For the people who sat inside this room over the years, the place was seen as Heaven on Earth.  Inside these four `autographed walls` lightning struck again and again, and from these powerful strikes came true and utter creation.  The people inside were songwriters of the highest caliber, and the combination of their hearts, minds, and souls produced sheer brilliance.  And was the beginning of a superb pairing called, McKinley & Beggs.

This location was owned by the incredible Hank Cochran.  If that name doesn`t ring any bells with you, than perhaps you`ve been asleep for many, many years.  "Hank Cochran was a legend in the world of songwriting, who worked with other legends like Patsy Cline, and was the mastermind behind I Fall to Pieces," which is still one of the most played songs in the annals of country history.  

Ronny McKinley is one of the men who ate, spoke, dreamt, and slept country music in that room above the garage.  Many sleepless nights occurred within those four walls.  Sometimes those precious hours were spent creating, while other times those sleepless nights were caused by gazing up at the signature of Keith Whitley located right above his head.  One can only imagine the power of that signature.  How it must have felt to know that a man whose stellar - yet, brief career - which included nineteen singles on the Billboard country charts, including five consecutive Number One hits, had sat in that very same room following his destiny. 

Ronny McKinley was a part of history inside that room, and his phenomenal talent as a songwriter made him become Hank Cochran`s right-hand man.  Ronny was living his dream in Nashville, and throwing his heart and soul into the amazing lyrics that came to him time and time again.  When Hank decided to travel - which was a great deal of the time - Ronny joined him.  Flying out to different areas, these songwriters would escape to a new locale and surround themselves with new `looks` on life, that they then composed into yet another hit for the airwaves.    

Ronny McKinley was the person who `hired on` Jody Beggs - a fellow Floridian who`d crossed paths with Ronny at a venue called The Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park.
Jody soon became an integral part of the writing `team` in Hank`s room above the garage, and was also given the title of Hank`s left-hand man when the right-hand picked up and decided to move back home.  Parenthood outweighed the 24/7 songwriting dream at the time for Ronny McKinley, so he headed back to Florida leaving Jody Beggs and Hank Cochran behind.  Before leaving however, Ronny and Jody struck a deal.  If and when Jody decided to return to their home state of Florida he should look Ronny up, and they would get together to create McKinley & Beggs.

Thankfully for all the fans, followers, and devoted lovers of country music around the world, that`s exactly what happened.  Ronny McKinley & Jody Beggs are not only amazingly talented, but they put together a class act.  With their grace, respect, and absolute love for their music and their lives, the power they create when McKinley & Beggs take the stage truly affects listeners.  Not only are the lyrics fun, entertaining, and memorable, but it is extremely rare and intoxicating to see someone living their dreams.  And that is exactly what McKinley & Beggs are doing.

The members of McKinley & Beggs are a diverse group of men who have interesting back-stories of their own.  Bobby Dodd (pedal steel) is an old friend of Ronny McKinley`s; they used to play music together when they were only eighteen years of age.  The other band members include Joe Trainer on bass who, according to Ronny, is also a fantastic vocal talent - joining in with McKinley & Beggs on various songs. (A little `fact` about Joe`s life is that he also performed a one-man show at Disneyworld in Tokyo, Japan for about a year).  Rounding out the band are Matt Menard on the fiddle and Chuck Church on the drums - a pool of talent that readers will get to know better over the next few months.  

From the beginning of their partnership McKinley & Beggs were like a gourmet meal - with each artist bringing his amazing ingredients to the songs they played.  And, as so often had happened with both McKinley & Beggs, lightning struck yet again in the form of Smiley Garcia.  Smiley is a bass player whose name really fits.  According to Ronny McKinley, the man ALWAYS has a smile on his face.   One day this `happy` man walked through the office doors belonging to the record label of Mel Tillis - one of the biggest and best country singers ever to grace this earth.  With him, Smiley carried a demo in his hand and gave it to a secretary in the office, telling her that Mel HAD to hear this fantastic band.  That demo by McKinley & Beggs was a true gift - an introduction to the next country music stars!  And Mel Tillis loved them, signing a contract for his record label to `press` two albums of the highly talented McKinley & Beggs. 

This is no idle chatter.  McKinley & Beggs are a duo like no other that should be heard by all.  Country music fans will fall in love with these phenomenal performers, launching them to the status of others` like Brooks & Dunn.  McKinley & Beggs first album - By the Fire - is a compilation of tracks that are absolutely unforgettable, and will make fans chomp at the bit for their next album to appear.

The Country Music Association of America`s Hall of Fame should already begin clearing space for the inclusion of McKinley & Beggs into their echelon of country greats.  And the world needs to jump on the bandwagon fast, and follow these two amazing artists straight into the stratosphere.

Ronny McKinley said it best when he told me, I love my life! And the music McKinley & Beggs gift to the world shows that love in spades!





McKinley & Beggs will appear at the:

m-m-Mel Tillis & Friends

5th Annual Fishing Tournament
April 16, 2011

The Plantation Golf Resort & Spa
Crystal River, Florida
The evening of April 16th McKinley & Beggs will take the stage! 

And the legendary Mel Tillis will join them to perform some Mel Tillis fan favorites!



Contact Tournament Director for information regarding the actual Fishing Tournament.
Gary Mitchell, Tournament Director

Phone Number 352-362-6691

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