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Playing Since: 1976
Experience Level: Expert/Professional
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Huber Kalamazoo Custom
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Last Visit 6/13/2019
A native of Huntersville, NC, Rick began playing banjo seriously at the age of 15 after starting out on the guitar two years earlier. Being in North Carolina Rick was given the opportunity to be in the heart of ‘banjo-player land’. He spent time with some of the best musicians in the area like Bob Shue (banjo player/instrument builder), Dewey Farmer (mandolin player), Lester Deaton (bass player), Jimmy Bowen (guitar at that time), and countless others.
In 1980, a year after he graduated from high school, he joined “Bluegrass Fever”, a Charlotte, NC based group that went on to win the band competition at Six Flags Over Georgia. They released one album on the Lamon label entitled “After Dark” an instrumental that Rick wrote. Next was “The Grass Strings” from Albemarle, NC. This band introduced Rick to ‘working on the road’ sort of. They frequented the larger festivals and college circuit gigs.
In the late 80’s Rick made a lateral move into Country Music for a period of about 10 years. He worked professionally performing on keyboards, guitar and banjo with several east coast club circuit groups before being asked to join the Old Dominion Opry in Williamsburg, VA in 1991. This job allowed Rick the ability to perform music everyday and be home every night – which thrilled his wife and two young sons to no end. He went through 2 different stints with ‘The Opry’ due to management changes and finally became their performing Musical Director, writer and Assistant General Manager until leaving in 1997.
Rick returned to his first love, Bluegrass, in 1999 when he joined forces with Boston based ‘Southern Rail’. He has earned quite a few frequent flyer miles as a result of being a member of this touring group that performs around 50-80 shows a year. Southern Rail’s gospel recording ‘Glory Train’ was nominated for IBMA’s ‘Gospel Recording of the Year’ and their latest cd, ‘Coal Tattoo’ has received excellent reviews from major music publications and trade magazines.
In January of 2005 Rick joined former Country Gentleman, Nashville based "Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe". Rick had Jimmy had known each other more years ago then either of them care to count and happened across each other at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival in Gettysburg, PA in August of 2004. Several months and a few zillion phone calls later Rick was 'commuting' back and forth to Nashville. JB&SF latest release is "Stone Fences". Audio samples can be heard on Santa Fe's website.
In February 2011 Rick signed on with Bill Yates & The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band.
Rick has always enjoyed helping to keep the music alive by teaching the banjo whenever his schedule permits. He is a staff member at Acutab’s Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend every November in Roanoke, VA. His background in the printing industry came in handy when he assisted with the cover art and photography for the “Team Flathead – The Huber Banjos Sessions” recording in 2003. This recording was nominated as IBMA’s ‘Instrumental Recording of the Year’ for 2004. Rick’s personal banjo was even used on the recording played by both Sammy Shelor and Ron Stewart.
Rick considers himself lucky in that his family supports his musical career. He knows that it’s been rough at times, but they always seem to do just fine. His dad, Jud Briggs was instrumental in instilling both the values of family and of music into Rick’s adolescent hardhead. Though his dad never had the chance to perform for a living, he certainly passed the desire to do so on to Rick.
'Deering Vega #2' 3 sec
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'Dave Cava' 2 hrs