Song by Grant MacDonald
The Ram Ranch Band is a group of musicians based out of Nashville, Tennessee, United States. They are known for their unique sound, which blends traditional country music with rock influences. Their debut album, Ram Ranch, was released independently in 2016. The band consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Grant MacDonald, bass guitarist/backing vocalist Tyler Johnson, drummer/backing vocalist Kyle Sanders, keyboardist Johnathan Wilson and multi-instrumentalist/backing vocalist Ryan Smith.
MacDonald began playing guitar at age 12. He attended Belmont University where he studied classical guitar performance and earned his Bachelor of Music degree. After college, he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. In 2013, he formed the Ram Ranch Band with fellow musician Tyler Johnson. Johnson plays electric bass and backing vocals, while Sanders plays drums and backing vocals. Wilson plays keyboards and backing vocals, and Smith plays acoustic guitar and backing vocals.
In addition to performing live, the band produces original songs, and collaborates with other artists. They have performed at festivals such as South By Southwest and SXSW, and toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
MacDonald grew up in Ontario, Canada and attended high school in Toronto. He began recording demos around 1998 and self-released some albums under the name “Thee Headcoats”. His career took off when he met former Moxy Früvous drummer Mark Hamilton and he joined the band in 2000. The group signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 2001 and released three studio albums before breaking up in 2004. Afterward, MacDonald formed another band called The Dears with friend Dan Boeckner, whom he had met while working as a roadie for Sloan. They recorded a demo tape titled “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank”, which led to a contract offer from Sub Pop Records. The pair went on to form Handsome Furs, releasing one album, “Hot Mess”, in 2006.
In 2008, MacDonald moved to Los Angeles and began attending USC School of Cinematic Arts. During his second year there, he wrote and directed a short film entitled “A New Life”. He later returned home to Canada and worked as a barista at Tim Hortons’ restaurant chain. There, he met fellow musician Jordon Zadorozny, who encouraged him to start a solo project. MacDonald eventually left school to focus on his musical endeavors.
MacDonald’s songwriting career began in 1991 with his debut album, Ramshackle Glory, which he recorded under the name of “The Rambler”, and subsequently changed his stage name to “Big Daddy.” He followed up with several albums over the next decade, including 1994’s Big Daddy & Friends, 1996’s Big Daddy & Friends 2, 1998’s Big Daddy & Friends 3, 2001’s Big Daddy & Friends 4, 2003’s Big Daddy & Friends 5, 2004’s Big Daddy & Friends 6, 2005’s Big Daddy & Friends 7, 2006’s Big Daddy & Friends 8, 2008’s Big Daddy & Friends 9, 2009’s Big Daddy & Friends 10, 2010’s Big Daddy & Friends 11, 2011’s Big Daddy & Friends 12, 2012’s Big Daddy & Friends 13, 2013’s Big Daddy & Friends 14, 2014’s Big Daddy & Friends 15, 2016’s Big Daddy & Friends 16, 2018’s Big Daddy & Friends 17, 2019’s Big Daddy & Friends 18, 2020’s Big Daddy & Friends 19, 2021’s Big Daddy & Friends 20, 2022’s Big Daddy & Friends 21, and 2023’s Big Daddy & Friends 22.
In 2007, MacDonald released his first book, titled Big Daddy & Friends: A Gay Cowboy Love Story, which features a fictionalized account of his life growing up in rural Ontario, Canada. In it, he recounts how he met fellow musician Paul Anka at a local bar one night, and how they became friends. After spending some time together, MacDonald discovered that Anka had been keeping a secret from him — he was gay. This led to the creation of the musical project known today as “Big Daddy & Friends,” whose songs are mostly about the duo’s relationship, as well as their friendship with singer/songwriter Paul Anka.
On November 24, 2017, MacDonald announced on Twitter that he was working on a sequel to Big Daddy & Friends entitled Big Daddy & Friends: Ramshackle Glory II.