By Robyn Collins
It has been 36 years since Lynyrd Skynyrd creator Gary Rossington released music outside of the band. But Rossington and his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington, recorded Take it On Faith, and it comes out Friday.
“It was from the fans all these years talking about the Rossington Collins Band days, and would I ever do anything like that with Dale,” Rossington tells Billboard. Gary launched the Rossington Collins Band with fellow Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins and other Skynyrd members in 1979, two years after the fatal plane crash that halted the band for a decade. The group produced two albums.
“After awhile of those meet-and-greets of people asking, we had a little time off a few years back, so we went in and did it and it was just spontaneous, quick,” Rossington explains. “It only took a couple weeks of recording and a few overdubs, and we were done. It was such a fun thing to do, and our fans were asking us and some of the guys in the band even mentioned, ‘Why don’t you guys do something?’ So we went in and did it, and that was it.”
The 12-track project was produced by David Z (Prince, Buddy Guy, Etta James), with players that included the late Richie Hayward (of Little Feat fame), Delbert McClinton, Bekka Bramlett, Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Wynans and others. Songs were co-written by Gary Nicholson and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
The Rossingtons haven’t made any touring plans yet to promote the record. And Skynyrd will be back on tour in 2017, and is discussing making their own new album, a follow-up to 2012’s Last of a Dyin’ Breed.
The group had to cancel shows this year due to Rossington’s heart problems, and there was some discussion about whether it was time for this Free Bird to hang it up for good.
“He’s got several stents in his heart now, and after this last stent we really had a serious talk about just letting it go for now and being happy to be alive,” Krantz-Rossington says. “But after a few days he was just miserable, and he said to me, ‘I would much rather go out kickin’ it than sitting here in my chair,’ and that was the last time we talked about it. After that we just decided to hit the road and ask for God’s mercy, and do it ’til we drop. It’s just the way you do it when you’ve lived it your whole life. Every musician of age will tell that, I think.”