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Got a pocket full of memories and my song
Got to keep on movin' and rollin' on
When I'm playin' for keeps, I always win
Don't know where I'm going, but I know where I've been
Arguably the most American of bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd spans generations of established southern-rock fans. Formed in Jacksonville, FL in 1964, the band found their first major acclaim with the debut of “Sweet Home Alabama” on their 1974 sophomore release: Second Helping. Since then, “Sweet Home” along with the likes of “Simple Man” and “Free Bird” have become iconic; almost thematic American anthems accumulating approximately 8 Million scrobbles just between those 3 tracks (which is just shy of 40% of their grand total scrobbles amongst their 1.4 Million Last.fm listeners and throughout their entire discography.) This by no means discredits the rest of their ongoing work and music. Decades later and against major challenges and tragedy the band is still going strong, recently releasing their 13th studio album late last summer titled Last of a Dyin’ Breed.
During our sit-down interview with guitarist Rickey Medlocke, Gary Rossington (the only original member from Skynyrd circa ’64) and lead singer/frontman Johnny Van Zant, the guys touched on the writing and production of their latest albums, specifically citing the work and crediting the benefits of being able to utilize Martina McBride‘s Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN. With Skynyrd’s distinct ‘home-grown’ sound it was essential for them to find a place like Blackbird where they could seamlessly blend new technologies with the vintage analog recording standards… honing in on something timeless and unforgettable.
Beyond the tragedy that took original frontman and the universally agreed ‘heart-and-soul’ of the original lineup, Ronnie Van Zant; his eternal spirit remains strong within the current formation of the group. Younger brother, Johnny often finds himself asking “what would Ronnie do?” while on the road, in the studio or anywhere else really. The guys and gals constantly remind themselves that Ronnie is still looking over them and its incredibly important to them to commemorate the “Poet for the common people” as Ronnie was known.
The band is currently looking forward to once again embracing their ‘Skynyrd Nation’ aboard the 7th annual Simple Man Cruise. Shipping out on October 20th (the anniversary of the plane crash that forever changed the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd and country music itself,) pre-sale tickets are available now for friends and fans.
Throughout the trademark guitar work, the Rolling Stone articles, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations and induction, the platinum and gold records, and all of the other claims to fame… the band keeps a level head on their shoulders. Its all about the survival of spirit for them; and unbowed, uniquely American and stubbornly resolute pursuit. Well seated as the backbone of southern rock and country music, Lynyrd Skynyrd will be a genre of music recognized for many generations to come.