Seasoned singer-songwriter Ron Keel is bringing his “Alone Acoustic” tour to South Carolina July 28-31, joining forces with non-profit organization Guitars 4 Vets.

Keel’s South Carolina Siege will begin at outdoor venue Awendaw Green July 28, followed by a show at the Roasting Room Lounge in Bluffton July 29. Next, Keel will perform at The American Legion Post 166 in Goose Greek July 30, where he’ll team up with members of the South Carolina Guitars 4 Vets staff. He’ll finish off his tour in Myrtle Beach, performing at local store Retro Active’s 16th anniversary celebration July 31. 

The artist, who had hits in the ’80s such as “The Right to Rock,” and “Tears of Fire,” and who has toured with musicians like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, Van Halen and others, considers himself something of a “metal cowboy.”

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The moniker represents the dual nature of his current musical style: “That’s who I am. I had a big career in what they call heavy metal. The restrictions of that format really hit home in the early ’90s. We thought it was going to last forever, but nothing does. All I had left was my desire to create and entertain, and write songs and perform for people,” Keel said. He then discovered that he also possessed a talent for a different genre.

“I picked up the acoustic guitar and I started writing songs and they came out sounding like country music. So I developed a really successful career in the ’90s. I realized there’s two sides to my personality — one being the excitement, the electricity, the energy, of hard rock and arena rock. I also love the aspects of country music that allow you to tell a story about real life. And these songs are based upon the melody and the voice more than the glitz and the smoke and all the showmanship. So I tried to combine those two,” he said.

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It’s a sonic mash-up that has earned him a loyal fanbase, with concert-goers following him to venues across the country. He’s looking forward to taking this act to South Carolina. Though it’s been over ten years since he’s toured with any of his bands in the state, it holds a special place in his heart — Keel lived in Charleston as a first grader.

The show will follow his typical Alone Acoustic format: an intimate, campfire-style show filled with songs from the musician’s past and present.

It’s a solo performance, but don’t expect Keel to sit sleepily on a stool, strumming his guitar.

“The Alone Acoustic shows are really special to me,” Keel said. “It’s kind of like skydiving. I have to walk on that stage with just my guitar, my songs, my voice. I’ll take you on a musical journey throughout my life and tell the stories behind the song. I have to hold the crowd with just those elements, so it’s a huge challenge.”

This series of Alone Acoustic shows is particularly important to Keel because of his passion for the Guitars 4 Vets program. The organization provides an alternative therapy for veterans suffering with PTSD, giving them a free guitar as well as free lessons, which often results in what Keel referred to as a “state of transformation.” 

He first heard about the group in 2014. “I have a deep connection with Guitars for Vets,” he said. “When I saw what they were doing, I immediately knew I wanted to be involved.”

He quickly became one the program’s celebrity ambassadors. “We put guitars and the healing power of music into the hands of our heroes.” 

Keel is grateful to Lee Burns, the Charleston division coordinator at the South Carolina chapter, for collaborating with him to coordinate a show that will support the organization. The Guitars 4 Vets staff will be his opening act for the June 30 performance at the American Legion in Goose Greek, helping him put on a celebration of veterans that will raise money and awareness for those suffering from PTSD.

To Keel, “music is the universal language,” and he is grateful to share it at every possible opportunity. He encourages concert-goers to stick around after the show  — meet and greets are always free. f

Tickets for each of the South Carolina Siege performances are available through Ron Keel’s website.

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