Kenny Loggings jokingly told me that he takes fault for the start of Blue Sky Riders: “I have to take the blame for that.”
Blue Sky Riders started a couple years back when Loggins and Garry Burr were working on an album in Nashville that was yet to be titled. Together, they wrote the song that would become the title track and Loggins has said that the last time he experienced that kind of blend was with Jimmy Messina in 1971.
“In the process of making that record we really enjoyed writing together and when we sang together on our demos we had a really good vocal blend,” says Loggins. “I thought, ‘If this was 20 years ago we would start a band.’”
After mulling it over, Loggins called Burr back a few months later and said that if they were going to do it right: they would need to get a third and female voice for the group.
“I had a strong feeling that [Burr] knew who the girl should be and he did,” says Loggins. And then with the Kenny Loggins wit I came to expect while talking to him, “we couldn’t get her, so we got Georgia [Middleman].”
When the trio was able to write their first song together they all felt the connection and started believing that they were part of a once in a lifetime experience. Blue Sky Riders was never looking back.
Burr is an accomplished songwriter in his own right, having been named songwriter of the year by ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI. LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks and Lynyrd Skynyrd have all covered Burr’s songs. Middleman, a celebrated singer/songwriter, was opening for acts like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard when she was still a teenager. As a songwriter, her songs have been performed by Keith Urban, Faith Hill and Reba McEntire.
I won’t, however, leave out Loggins, who is one of the foremost voices in modern pop music. For him, Blue Sky Riders is another step in a career already covered with recognizable songs, which include “Danny’s Song,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “I’m Alright” (from “Caddyshack”), “Footloose” (from “Footloose”) and “Danger Zone” (from ”Top Gun”).
Together, they make up Blue Sky Riders and they will be back to grace the Belly Up stage for the third time next Thursday July 18, while they open for Kenny Loggins.
“One of the advantages we have is that Blue Sky Riders can open for me,” says Loggins, “so we are able to reach a bigger audience more quickly.”
They want to get their music out into the hands of the people, even recently playing eight shows in four days in Austin, Tx.
“Were playing like it’s the beginning of a brand new band,” Burr told me. “We will play for the opening of an envelope.”
They would like to make it clear they are not touring simply because they know people would come to their shows no matter what they played.
“One of the things I was committed to when we started this was that we wanted the public to know that this is a real band and that we can replicate what we record,” says Loggins. “To me, there is a quality to this band that feels like this is something that I should have done about twenty years ago. There is a sense of remembering something that hasn’t happened yet.”
All three members of Blue Sky Riders have been in the recording industry for a long time. They have seen it evolve to meet the demands of the digital age.
“I feel like people have to create their own success stories,” is what Middleman told me was the biggest change in her tenure in the industry. “You can’t make a living as a writer because albums are not there. We are creating our own fires and hoping that we will be able to monetize it. Musicians are being more creative than ever in trying to sustain their careers, as technology changes: we have to.”
Blue Sky Riders is a cast of tested musicians assembled by experience and their show is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer music scene.
“We like to encourage people to judge it by hearing it,” says Loggins. “Of course we are all three gorgeous people so the vision is in place, but I think the music speaks for itself.”
John Zelazny encourages people to judge his article based upon his picture. He appreciates your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org