Renaud inducted into Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame
By Whitney Skeeters
Rutledge resident Paul Renaud was inducted to the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame Saturday, November 29.
"I was born with it. It is within. I can't remember not loving music," Renaud said.
It all began with a 70-cent harmonica more than 70 years ago. Add to the harmonica a $3 guitar and one local's never-ending passion for music, and you can find a story like Paul Renaud's. Renaud fell in love with music as a small child listening to his uncle and his friends play gospel music with harmonicas and spoons after church on Sunday nights. Once he could afford to buy a harmonica of his own, Renaud began practicing and playing anything he could.
When he was 17, he joined the United States Army and was introduced to a whole new mix of musicians. They taught him different types of music and he got the chance to experience what it was like playing with various bands.
When the Korean War took him overseas, Renaud bought a guitar. He had seen people who could play the guitar and the harmonica at the same time, so, with the help of friends, he rigged something up to learn on. As he became more comfortable performing in front of people, he also honed his singing abilities. Renaud joined the Navy, and remained in the Navy Reserves for 28 years.
Not only did his military experience expose him to all types of people, but Renaud has also made a home in many different areas of the country. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and has since lived in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and, currently, Rutledge, Georgia. He moved here in 2001 to be with family.
Renaud was recognized Saturday for dedicating so much of his life to music, and for all of the humanitarian things he has done with his talent. Renaud spends a lot of time playing in hospitals and nursing homes. He has been playing in churches and other community gatherings ever since he was a child. Now Renaud plays with the local group, the Kickin' Grass Bluegrass Band, led by Lamar Moss.
Renaud said that the ceremony that took place Saturday was "quite an event." There were several performances that night, and the party went on long after the curtain closed at 10 p.m.
"It lasted all night long, they were jammin' all through the hotel."
Renaud felt honored to be recognized by the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, which was started back in 1982 by Phyllis Cole and Johnny Carson.
He was honored to be in the same company as people like Chet Atkins, Brenda Lee, Bill Anderson and Wendy Bagwell.
"You can't meet any people who are nicer than the people involved in music," Renaud said. "I don't think I've ever met a person I didn't like that was in the music business."