More About Romanovsky & Phillips

Image from an early photoshoot     With over 78,000 copies of their albums sold, R&P’s 1995 release, a live recording entitled Let’s Flaunt It!, is perhaps their strongest album to date. LFI! received a 1996 GLAMA (Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards) nomination for “Best Album” and remained on The Advocate’s Bestseller List for 3 months. Unlike most live albums, Let’s Flaunt It! contains all new material, plus lots of the comic banter and spontaneous audience interaction that has endeared R&P to their fans. Let’s Flaunt It! has already helped one of their big dreams come true: Michael Musto of The Village Voice recently wrote, “Hilarious, yet trenchant, Let’s Flaunt It! proves once and for all that the Smothers Brothers are the straight Romanovsky & Phillips!” In July of 1996, R&P performed at the opening ceremonies of the GALA Choruses Festival V, the largest convention ever held in Tampa, Florida. There they shared the stage with Harvey Fierstein, Holly Near, Ann Hampton Callaway, BETTY, and keynote speaker, Maya Angelou.

     In June of 1998, after three years of hard work, R&P’s first full-length musical, Jayson, opened at the 45th Street theatre in New York. With a book by Jeff Krell, based on his gay comic strip by the same name, Jayson’s two-month off-broadway run demonstrated the strength of R&P’s considerable songwriting ability outside the confines of their own stage personas.

     A year later, after appearing at gay pride events in Detroit, Atlanta, and Missoula, Montana, R&P decided to take some extended time off the road for the first time since their 1982 debut. During this time Paul put music on hold to pursue other interests, while Ron began learning a new instrument: the accordion. Before long he became a working local musician in Santa Fe, armed with a new repertoire of European music and a particular interest in the French chanson. In 2002, after several trips to France, where he was dubbed “Dadou” (thanks to the 60’s song “Dadou Ron Ron”) by a friend, he recorded Je m’appelle Dadou (“My name is Dadou”). In addition to crooning half a dozen classic French pop songs, this self-produced disc includes original compositions penned for the accordion in a variety of musical genres. These musical explorations have resulted in his performing with Santa Fe pianist-singer Charles Tichenor in an annual cabaret show, “April in Paris”, and a regular run at Santa Fe’s unlikely bistro, Cafe Paris, where he performed regularly for 10 years as “Dadou”.

     In 2003, R&P were reunited in New York City where they were presented with the Heritage Award from OutMusic, an organization dedicated to promoting gay and lesbian music. Appearing on the bill with Alix Dobkin, Jay Spears, Amy Fix, and several new talents in the world of queer music, R&P sang an updated version of their classic “Homophobia” to an enthusiastic audience at NY’s landmark club, the Knitting Factory.

     In 2004, Ron was commissioned to write a “circus opera” for Nurses for the Rights of the Child, a group of labor and delivery nurses who are conscientious objectors to male circumcision. After two years of writing and and several workshop performances, It’s A Boy! was premiered in August, 2006 at the 9th International Symposium on Circumcision, Genital Integrity and Human Rights at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Featuring music written for accordion, violin and five vocalists, one enthusiastic listener described It’s a Boy! as “…a great touch of Germany 1920s and Three Penny Opera…satirical, delicate and very Kurt Weil.”   A recording was released concurrently.

     Immediately following up It’s A Boy! came the release of Pittsburgh to Paris, marking Ron’s return to song writing (and singing in english!).  With a generous assortment of quirky and upbeat musical gems written over a 30-year period, Pittsburgh to Paris demonstrates Ron’s characteristic ability to write in a wide range of musical styles like never before.  Highlights of the disc include “Pittsburgh, PA”, an homage to Ron’s hometown, and “Authentic”, the only song from R&P’s off-Broadway show “Jayson” that has ever been recorded and released.

     In 2007 Ron returned to the concert stage, this time fronting a 4-piece band and performing his newest material along with several updated R&P chestnuts. The year culminated in a sold-out show in Taos, New Mexico, where Ron shared the bill with lesbian comic Vicki Shaw.  His newest recording, Turn Up the Fun!, released in January of 2008, is a return to his queer music roots and features 14 rollicking and very musical tracks full of the characteristic satire, off-beat observations and poignancy that fans have come to expect.

     2008 also saw the release of April in Paris, a richly textured collection of classic french chansons and songs about France which was the result of a decade of performances with francophile musician Charles Tichenor. Sung in both French and English, the collaboration recalls the duo sound of R&P, featuring lush vocal arrangements in a cabaret style with Charles on piano and Ron on guitar, accordion and ukulele. A year later Ron followed it up with L’accordeoniste, another solo effort of well-known vocal and instrumental french music peppered with several original tunes. L’accordeoniste best represents the Euro-cafe-repertoire that has made Ron the go-to accordion guy in his adopted hometown of Santa Fe.

     Throughout 2009 to 2012, Ron performed with his quartet, Welcome To Bohemia, combining all of his different musical lives from the R&P years, the accordion tendencies, the French influence, and even some musical flirtations with gypsy, Russian and Klezmer music. The Santa Fe Reporter described WTB as “one of Santa Fe’s coolest musical projects.”

     Since then Ron has produced several original music videos including the runaway YouTube hit “Pittsburgh, PA”. He currently performs solo (and occasionally with violinist/vocalist Hilary Schacht) and is available for private parties, special events, and concerts.