Industry Insider – Ricky Free

ML: Ricky, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. For those who do not know you, would you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do in our industry?

RF: Sure! I’m a drummer and producer here in Nashville. I’ve worked as a producer with Brian Free & Assurance, Joseph Habedank, The Blackwood Brothers, and several other artists. I’ve also toured playing drums with many artists including Country artists LeAnn Rimes, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, High Valley, Eric Paslay, Canaan Smith, A Thousand Horses, Dailey & Vincent, Jimmy Fortune, Pop artists World Party, Mike Viola, CCM artists Matthew West, Jason Gray, Southern Gospel artists Brian Free & Assurance, Jason Crabb, The Crabb Family, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, and many others.

ML: You are a well accomplished session drummer in Nashville, TN and have an impressive touring history as well. What musicians have inspired you personally and professionally?

RF: That’s actually a very easy question for me. My favorite drummer of all time is a Nashville session drummer named Steve Brewster. I’m very proud to be able to call him my friend as well. Not only has he influenced me musically, but also as a person. I also really enjoy listening to session drummer Matt Chamberlain as well, as drummers Taylor Hawkins and Stewart Copeland.

ML: Many of Southern Gospel fans will recognize your name from the artists you have produced (Brian Free & Assurance, Joseph Habedank, Shane Dunlap, The Blackwood Brothers and more). Many also recognize your distinct “sound”. You seem to have a heart for making music that is fresh and different, yet still recognizable in our genre. Is that true?

RF: This is true! I like to push the envelope. I feel like Southern Gospel music is like any other genre of music. It needs to grow and evolve with the times. If we do what we’ve always done, it’s hard to attract and invite new listeners into our genre. Southern Gospel often gets the stigma of being “your grandmother’s music”. I always aim to change that!

ML: What is God teaching you in this current season of life?

RF: God has been teaching me that His mercies are new every morning. He has opened many new doors for me and closed many that needed closing in every aspect of my life. He’s teaching me to look ahead instead of focusing on what’s behind. I’m privileged get to do what I love to do for a living. Music is everything to me, and I feel so blessed.

Matthew Lawson

Matthew Lawson is an up and coming songwriter with Crossroads Music Publishing and rising artist in his own right. A passion for God's kingdom and His people lights his path at almost 19 years of age. Matthew currently resides in Monroe, North Carolina.
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