Ronnie Presley writes songs close to his heart

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Singer/song writer Ronnie Presley of Caraway recorded his first CD featuring his original songs. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Ronnie Presley of Caraway is well-known in the area as he has been singing and playing guitar for 35 years in the Northeast Arkansas area as well as Texas and Oklahoma. He started his music career in the Rivervale Tavern singing and playing with a band at the age of 16.

After years of playing in cover bands, he ventured out on his own in 2005 to pursue a singing career as a solo artist and songwriter. He said he "dabbled" in song writing for about 10 years but got serious about his song writing about a year ago.

Presley grew up in Caraway and most of his songs are from his life's experience living in rural Arkansas. He said the work, old houses, fields, farms, gravel roads, and strong southern spirits have served as backdrops for many of his songs.

Presley recently recorded his first CD in Nashville. The acoustics were done in his home studio, "Gonzo Home Recordings." Gonzo is a nickname given to him by his family when he was young and it has stuck with him. He took his music to a small studio in Nashville in May where they took his songs and the session players and engineer designed his music. Songs on the CD include "Heaven on Earth," "Somewhere Up There," "My Second Home," "Did I Ever Say," "You Got the Love," "A New Life," "I Had to Tell the Truth," "Little Too Much," and "Come Home."

"I've been in studios before, but these guys knew what they were doing," Presley said.

"Somewhere Up There," is a special song to Presley as he wrote it in memory of his mother, Rose Presley, who passed away in January 2003.

His father, Lewis Presley, still lives in Caraway. Mr. Presley is in his 80s and is still very active and a big fan of Presley's music.

According to the family tree, the Caraway Presleys are a sixth cousin to Elvis Presley.

Presley said he has seen a lot of changes in Caraway. He can remember when there was a Tastee Freeze, dry goods store and many other businesses. The Western Auto store where he got his first guitar is still open in Caraway.

"It was a TrueTone," he said. "That guitar became a serious hobby with me."

Presley started playing guitar at the age of 11 and his love of music continued as he developed his talent through the years.

He currently performs his original songs mixed with his version of cover songs from the 1960s through the 90s.

His CD is a mixture of country, RockaBilly and blues.

If he had to choose influences in his music it would be John Fogerty, Paul Rodgers, Randy Owen and Vince Gill.

To learn more about Presley's music or his biography, three websites are available,;; and

Presley gave away several of his CDs at the Caraway National Night Out on Aug. 1.

He will be playing at the Sideline Sports Bar in Trumann from 8 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 25. This will be his second appearance at the Sideline as a solo artist.

He loves to sing and is very serious about his song writing. The love he has for Caraway and his roots are apparent in the songs he writes.

He and Tammy Sieling will be married Aug. 12 on a beach in Florida. He has written a song for his future bride.

Presley has three sons, 28, 21, and 13, and Tammy has one son, 18.

Presley said on his "day job" he installs floor covering. Like so many people of the area, he grew up in a hardworking family and all of his experiences has added to his songwriting.

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