[Artist of the Week is a new feature on CreativelyMusical.com. It’ll be where I share some of the artists I like and have an interest in. These articles will include a few facts and some personal thoughts about each artist, plus some of my favorite songs as well. I won’t promise you’ll hear the most famous recordings they’ve done, as I have come to love deep album cuts more than radio singles. Sources for each article will be at the bottom where available.]
Artist: Rickey Medlocke
Birth Date: February 17, 1950
Rickey Medlocke has been playing music nearly all of his life. While most famous for fronting Blackfoot and playing guitar in Lynyrd Skynyrd, he has been playing and performing since he was a child.
He got his start playing with his grandfather, Shorty Medlocke, learning such instruments as the banjo, guitar and drums. He also learned to play the mandolin and dobro, as well as the keyboards as he got older.
Rickey played with Blackfoot from its inception until rejoining Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the early seventies, playing drums on the Muscle Shoals sessions. He also wrote and sang a few songs on those sessions.
Music is a passion for Rickey; he practices or plays every day and has an energy on stage that performers a third his age can’t match. For me, personally, that energy is what has captivated me and just made me a fan from the first time I watched him live.
I will rarely say I am the biggest fan because a lot of the time I’m late to the party. I had known a Blackfoot song or two and a Lynyrd Skynyrd song or two. But in 2010, the first time I got to see Lynyrd Skynyrd live I was hooked. I had to have everything I could get my hands on. Now I had seen Lynyrd Skynyrd and Montgomery Gentry on CMT Crossroads, I remember taping it. I am a Montgomery Gentry fan. I knew of Blackfoot from Warrant covering “Train, Train.” That was about it until 2010.
In 2010, my boss opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The rest as they say is history. I was hooked on everything Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot. I bought the “Lyve” DVD before I went to New Jersey to see Lynyrd Skynyrd live and I just fell in love with Rickey and the way he played. It is one of those things you can’t explain. He’ll often say that the pre-crash version of Lynyrd Skynyrd had this “magic” about them, well he does, too.
Through interviews, articles and stories I have learned a lot about Rickey, Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the whole scene that they emanated from. I still have much more to learn, but as time goes by I learn a lot about what drives people with longevity in this business. Rickey was once asked how to describe himself in three words. Those three words were “a real musician.” That is the definition of someone who would play no matter what, they live and breathe music and it is a big part of their soul.
I appreciate that, it is what has endeared me to the musicians that I admire. Many of those are guitar players – Marty Stuart, Keith Urban, Vince Gill – and they all have a passion for music that shows in everything they do. Rickey’s passion is evident, always front and center, he enjoys himself and that makes him fun to watch.
Rickey, of Native American heritage, is also working with First American Productions on a series of documentaries about reservations and Native heritage in America. The first episode of “Homeland Nation” was about the Mescalero Apache. Rickey narrated, interviewed guests and wrote and performed songs for the soundtrack. Additional episodes are in the works as well.
The music selections for Rickey’s Artist of the Week feature are selections from throughout his career with Blackfoot, Lynyrd Skynyrd and solo pieces as well. All of the following selections, except for “Guitar Slinger’s Song And Dance” can be found on Rhapsody and links are below (and iTunes).
1. “White Dove” – Lynyrd Skynyrd’s First -The Complete Muscle Shoals Album – Lynyrd Skynyrd
2. “Gimme Gimme Gimme” – Tomcattin’ – Blackfoot
3. “Every Man Should Know (Queenie)” – Tomcattin’ – Blackfoot
4. “Rattlesnake Rock ‘n’ Roller” – Marauder – Blackfoot
5. “Fly Away” – Marauder – Blackfoot
6. “Skynyrd Nation” – God and Guns – Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. “Guitar Slinger’s Song And Dance” – Medicine Man – Blackfoot
8. “Train, Train” – Strikes – Blackfoot
9. “Bandalero” – Homeland Nation Soundtrack – Rickey Medlocke and Mark Woerpel
10. “Native Colors” – Homeland Nation Soundtrack – Rickey Medlocke and Mark Woerpel
You can also check out the following YouTube videos:
1. Native American Music Awards 2008 (Rickey was inducted into the Hall of Fame) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGmgbgB8Axk – This video contains the song “Guitar Slinger’s Song And Dance.”
2. German interview from 2012 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBUZfdXYlfw
3. Homeland Nation promo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wESBgfVupXY
5. From Homeland Nation – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jSDSSSaxqs
Various Interviews I’ve read over the last couple of years.
Photos are from my personal collection.