Take It On Faith   « Back To List

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Artist: Rossington
Release Date: 11/04/2016

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About The Album

There’s a secret ingredient that can be found within the grooves of certain kinds of great music, and it can be summed up in one simple word: love. That’s the special elixir that fuels Gary and Dale Rossington, who have been making beautiful music together in their special union for over 35 years and counting, much of it as part of the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd family.

“We fell in love making music together in the Rossington Collins Band days in the ’80s, and I just think she’s a great singer,” Gary says of the admiration he’s always had for Dale’s vocal prowess. “To me, she’s one of the best there is, and I’m proud to play with her every night.” Dale, whom many rightly call The First Lady of Southern Rock, admits she was instantly drawn to Gary herself: “Oh gosh, I was pretty crazy about him from the get-go,” she recalls. “He’s such a great guitar player. I was singing with 38 Special when they opened for Skynyrd in ’77, and as soon as I saw them play, ohh! That made everything clear. That’s when I got Southern Rock. Being respectful of our situations at the time, we worked together for over a year before we actually got together. But I feel very much a part of this family now. It’s been quite a ride for a girl from small-town Indiana!”

Gary and Dale have further cemented their musical bonds by finally stepping out on their own again as Rossington to produce a heartfelt, soul-grabbing, and absolutely blues-tastic new album, Take It On Faith, produced by David Z (Prince, Etta James, Buddy Guy) and due out November 4 on Loud & Proud Records, and Ben Fowler (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams, Billy Currington, Sara Evans) who provided additional mixing and production for the album. From the unstoppable drive of “Highway of Love” to the gritty lament of “Shame on Me” to the gutsy guitar showcase of “Too Many Rainy Days,” Take It On Faith spotlights the many facets of Gary and Dale’s intuitive chemistry, hearkening back to the roots of fine Rossington Collins Band hits like “Don’t Misunderstand Me,” “Prime Time,” and “Opportunity.”

The thing is, for years, neither Gary nor Dale had any plans to cut another record together under the Rossington umbrella, content to share both stage and studio with their fellow Lynyrd Skynyrd brothers and sisters. Eventually, though, they realized they couldn’t ignore the wishes of their ardent fans any longer. “When we started back with Skynyrd, people said very kind things about Rossington Collins, like, ‘Gosh, Dale, we wish we could hear you do some more,’” the vocalist recalls. “This went on for a long time, and Gary and I kicked it around, but obviously, Skynyrd took priority. Years would go by, and we would go on the Simple Man cruises where everybody kept asking, ‘When are you going to do something?’ Finally, we decided a few years ago that when we had some time off, maybe it was time to do a little something-something.”

Gary shares a similar story. “We do meet and greets every night when we’re on tour, and fans just kept asking us if we were ever going to do anything again, and we kept saying no,” he acknowledges. “But even the Skynyrd band would say during those meet and greets, ‘Hey, go do something — the fans want to hear it.’ Finally, we thought, ‘Well, let’s just do it.’ Our record company encouraged us to go in and cut a few things, and see how we felt. Right now, we consider it a gift to the fans. We did it for them, and I hope they like it. They asked us to do something again, so we did it. We seized that opportunity, and ran with it. And we’re real excited it’s finally coming out.”

The 12 songs that comprise Take It On Faith are all ably supplemented by an ace studio band that was put together by the album’s prescient producer, David Z. “I have always been a fan of Southern rock music with one foot in the blues, so when the Rossington management mentioned that Gary and Dale wanted to do a more blues-based recording, I jumped at the chance,” David Z recounts. “I tried to combine a great mix of players and songwriters from Memphis, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis — artists who have made historically great records. Recording this rhythm section with Gary on guitar and Dale singing lead vocals is the reason I love making music.”

The Faith personnel roster reads like a who’s who of studio masters, including the late Richie Hayward on drums, Jack Holder on guitar, Bruce McCabe on piano and keyboards and David Smith on bass as well as some great guests including ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons who co-wrote “Good Side of Good,” Delbert McClinton blowing a mean harp to butter up some tasty guitar licks from two-time Grammy-Award winning producer, hit songwriter, recording artist and session guitarist, Gary Nicholson on “Dance While You’re Cookin’” as well as Bekka Bramlett, who has sung with everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Billy Joel to Robert Plant over the years. Marvels Dale, “David Z pulled it together really well. These guys — they just brought the magic. That made it easy to just stand back and let them all play their bits. It was such a delight, and so much fun. We knocked it out real quick. Of course, we did our homework first, but oh my goodness, they just made it very easy for us. They were the best studio cats you could ever hope to have. They just went out there and nailed it.”

Gary also loved working with the team David Z put together. “We really got into jamming with the guys we played with, and that was fun,” he notes. “We never really did anything on our own since the Rossington Collins Band and the Rossington days in the ’80s, so it’s been a long time coming.” Adds Dale, “We just took each song one at a time. There was not necessarily a theme to the album, but these songs were picked out, and we let each one of them do their own thing. We took every song on its own merits.”

One of Faith’s clear highlights is “Too Many Rainy Days,” a showcase for how Gary and Dale are able to channel long-resolved emotional conflicts into the here and now. “Yeah, I love that song, man. It was fun playing that one,” agrees Gary. “We started out where we were going to do a whole blues album, but then we started writing a little bit differently, and then we also came up with some sad lyrics and some sad songs. The song ‘Take It On Faith’ itself is not really blues — but then again, it is in a way, you know?”

One could even say it takes a combination of grits ’n’ guts to access a certain level of stress and strife for some of the songs that appear on Faith. “I like the drama in the music, but I don’t need it in my life anymore,” clarifies Dale. “That’s a nice distinction. But, yeah, those kinds of songs really speak to me. I love the blues side of us. The upbeat ones were a lot of fun too — but, like I said, I like the drama.”

Concurs Gary, “We could relate to that kind of feeling so much. I guess there was, with Skynyrd and with me, a lot of drama — old feelings, different people’s feelings, friends of the band’s feelings. We all had to deal with them — and we all got over them.”

As a guitar player, Gary is known as a certified tonemaster, something that’s well in evidence on tracks like “Shame on Me” and “Good Side of Good,” reinforcing the man’s expertise on his chosen instrument. “That’s how we tried to do it in the old days,” Gary observes. “In the ’60s and ’70s when we were starting out, we wanted to be different, so you created a different tone. That’s how you made it back then — you came up with a little different style than everybody else going around. I just got on my tone, and then I tried to run with it.”

To achieve that goal for his role on Faith, Gary deployed a number of different guitars. “I had a Gretsch Tennessean, a Stratocaster, and an EL35, one of those big Gibsons. And then, of course, I played my Les Paul through some of these songs. I just changed it up to be different than the sounds I get when I’m recording with Skynyrd.”

Dale’s impassioned vocals on tracks like “I Should’ve Known,” “Something Fishy,” and “Two Very Different Things” fuse the tenacity of Bonnie Bramlett and the testifying nature of Aretha Franklin with her own church-singing roots. “Well, I listened to Motown out of Detroit all my life, and I had some wonderful soul input more than some would,” she recalls. “I got to live through all of the wonderful music out of there. And I was so tickled to have Bonnie’s daughter Bekka Bramlett sing on the Billy Burnette tune, ‘Highway of Love.’ She was sick the day she recorded it with us, but she added some ad-libs and put on some harmonies with me. I just felt so honored. She’s a very well-respected girl in Nashville.”

Ultimately, the duo’s indelible bond is what keeps the Rossington team going. “We’ve been together 35 years now, and you don’t get to see that too much in rock & roll,” Gary says. “Besides our kids and grandkids, music is the only other thing we live for. We just love it. We love everything about it. We’re older now, and we appreciate everything more. It’s great to be in this business. If we just stopped, everything would kind of fade away. So as long as I’m around, I’m going to keep going.”

Concludes Dale, “Gary is my life, and nobody or nothing is gonna tear us apart. Our love keeps growing deeper, and you really, truly do appreciate every day together and all the little things, like the wind in the trees. It takes a lot of determination and a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s been a wonderful ride with him.”

The bottom line is: love conquers all, and when you have an unwavering Faith in your personal partnership and artistic collaboration the way Gary and Dale Rossington do, there’s nothing but blue skies and sweet, sweet music ahead for everyone — anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

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Players on Take It On Faith:
Gary Rossington – guitar
Dale Rossington – vocals
Jack Holder – guitar
Richie Hayward – drums
Bruce McCabe – piano, keyboards
Delbert McClinton- harmonica
Gary Nicholson – guitar
David Smith – bass
Reese Winans – organ
Kenny Greenburg – guitar overdubs
Michael Rojas – piano
Gordon Mote – piano and B3 overdubs
Shawn Camp – dobro
Bekka Bramlett & Vicki Hampton – additional vocals