Hit Songwriter Ronnie Samoset Passes

By Robert K. Oermann

Friends and family gathered in Bradenton, Florida, on Sunday (Aug. 26) to celebrate the life of hit songwriter Ronnie Samoset.

The veteran Nashville music man died at age 71 on July 29. His death was announced in The Bradenton Herald on Aug. 19. During the acceptance of her ACM Poet’s Award last Wednesday, Matraca Berg memorialized her frequent collaborator from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium.

Samoset’s songs were recorded by Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Van Shelton, Tanya Tucker, Diamond Rio, Emmylou Harris, Tom Wopat, Dusty Springfield and Highway 101, among many others.

Among his best known titles are “I’m That Kind of Girl” (Patty Loveless, 1991), “A Jukebox With a Country Song” (Doug Stone, 1992), “(This Thing Called) Wantin’ and Havin’ It All” (Sawyer Brown, 1995), “On Your Way Home” (Patty Loveless, 2003) and the Matraca Berg singles “Baby Walk On” (1990), “The Things You Left Undone” (1990) and “I Must Have Been Crazy” (1991).

The Berg/Samoset song “Lying to the Moon” has been recorded by Robin & Linda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Purely Wild, Lauren Kennedy and others, in addition to Berg.

His dozens of recorded songs also include cuts by Sammy Kershaw, The Woodys, Johnny Rodriguez, Daron Norwood, Neal McCoy, Michelle Wright, Charlie Floyd, Little Texas, Davis Daniel and Ricochet.

Besides Berg, Samoset’s songwriting collaborators in Nashville included Craig Wiseman, Dave Loggins, Chuck Cannon, Judy Rodman and Gene Nelson. He also wrote solo.

The songwriter’s real name was Ronald A. Santaniello. He is survived by his three children, Corey, Joseph and Anthony Santaniello; by brothers Michael, Andrew, Douglas and Raymond Santaniello; by sisters Diane and Linda and by numerous nieces and nephews.

His memorial gathering was held yesterday at the clubhouse of his residence, the Perico Apartments in Bradenton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Ronnie’s memory to a charity of your choice. Condolences may be made to [email protected].

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About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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