Sloan’s Secret Stash- Lynyrd Skynyrd
This week we’re headin’ back down to Dixie for a tune that is held close by blue-collar workers, the military and rock-dogs such as myself and our afternoon driver Kevin Key. Our track comes from the band many consider ‘America’s Band'; Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We’re all familiar with Skynyrd’s story up to the devastating crash that ripped our hearts out and signaled the end of an era of Southern Rock dominance, but out of the ashes, rose a new Skynyrd.
Many were skeptical when they decided to continue on a decade later with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny Van Zandt, as his voice was still young and some felt it was too smooth.
As they continued through the 80’s and 90’s, and weathered several personnel changes, their core sound began to return and Johnny’s vocals became more mature and heartfelt. In fact, I think he finally found his voice in the Mid-90’s with the release of ‘Twenty’ in 1997. Even though he had the pedigree and the heritage, I think he was trying too hard to mimic his brother.
They were still without a monster comeback single or even album at that time. But they continued to tour hard and pack every venue they played through the end of the 90’s and the Early 2000’s.
But one event, not only changed the future of our country, but changed the future of Lynyrd Skynyrd II – The September 11th attack on the Twin Towers evoked song from many, from Country music writers who seemingly had a one ready to go in case of an emergency such as this, to singer/songwriter/emo kids looking to make a buck in a coffee house decrying the government’s complicity in the event.
The events had an eerie effect on the band, as they could all relate with the loss of someone close in a plane crash. They began to become distraught at the ensuing disharmony the event created, feeling that America was coming apart at the seams. Johnny and middle brother Donnie got together and decided they would write a song that would bring us together.
After completion, they made it their lead track on the 2003 release ‘Vicious Cycle’. It came at the right time for both America and the band, as it roared to Number One on the Rock charts and was adopted by entire battalions of servicemen and women. It’s one those songs that hushes the crowd when performed live and still brings a tear to my eye when I sing it in the privacy of my basement music room. Kick back and grab a smoke, cuz Skynyrd’s gonna hit you with ‘Red, White And Blue’. Now I’m not sure if this is a band licensed video. I searched and found no performance or produced video from the band. There were quite a few live videos, but the sound quality on most were sketchy. This was well done and had great sound.