Ron Blair is a cousin, part of a long history of music in Macon, Georgia. Another relative on the Townsend side is still a musician who plays other instruments. Ron still plays the guitar on tour with Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers.
My Aunt Townsend likes the tour sometimes. She went up to North Carolina at the end of the tour in 2014. She was 90 years old but she said she felt “many decades younger”. When her husband Philip was younger and living down on Black Shear, Georgia, Ron would visit Aunt Janie and Uncle Philip. They would sit down and play their guitars. Back home, left to right is Derrick Darity, Tom Darity and Ron Blair in the photo in Macon, Georgia, playing their guitars.
When Tom was a teenager, he was in a band called the Stag. In that band was a cousin, Ron Nobles. Also in the band was Butch Horton. Ron Nobles was (second row, on the right end) an offensive tackle on our high school team. He was over 6 feet and carried about 250, I think. He is also a really nice guy. An example:
“After they beat the Albany team, they asked us to the party. Someone yelled out that Ron could play the piano, so he went up on the stage and played the Ray Charles most famous rocking song that year. Someone yelled out “Ron’s cool.”