2009-10-09 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Lynyrd Skynyrd Comes To Westbury 10/18

Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform at the Capital One Bank Theatre at West - bury on Sunday, October 18 at 7 p.m.. Known for combining the over driven power of blues-rock with a defiant Southern image and a hard rock swagger, the group had many hit songs like "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Ala bama," "What's Your Name," "Smoke stack Light ning," and "Good Lovin's Hard To Find." Skynyrd just released their brand new album, God & Guns, this past Tuesday, September 29. With a catalog of more than 60 albums and sales beyond $30 million, Lynyrd Skyn yrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations, and God and Guns is a fitting addition to the canon.

Lynyrd Skynyrd first came together in high school. They got their name from a gym teacher name Leonard Skinner who was famous for punishing students who had long hair. The group received a record deal in 1972 and a year later released their debut album Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin- Nerd. The band soon became notorious for their triple-guitar attack which was introduced in their first hit single "Free Bird." The song was a tribute to the recently deceased Duane Allman and gained them their first national exposure. After touring with The Who in 1973, the group earned themselves a devoted following.

In 1977, three days after Lynyrd Skynyrd's release of their sixth album, Street Survivors, a privately charted plane carrying the band crashed outside Gillsburg, MS. Three of the band's members were killed; the remaining members were injured. In the wake of the tragedy, the album became one of the band's biggest hits, but unfortunately, the group disbanded. In 1987, Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited for a fullscale reunion tour with some original members and other new faces. The group went on to release seven more albums and in 2004 were ranked #95 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Beyond the tragedy, the history, the raging guitars and the killer songs, ultimately, Lynyrd Skynyrd is about an indomitable will. With their first set of new studio material since 2003's Vicious Cycle, legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd returns with God & Guns, released Tuesday on Loud & Proud/Road runner Records. The title track, along with the unmistakable Skyny rd bite of the first single "Still Unbroken," form thematic songs for an album laden with attitude, heart and purpose. Recorded in Nashville in 2008-2009, the project was interrupted— but, tellingly, not ended—by the deaths of founding mem ber/key - boardist Billy Powell and longtime bassist Ean Evans earlier this year. With a backbone of South ern rock and country, passionate Van Zant vocals, and trademark layered guitars, God and Guns manages to maintain the iconic Skynyrd punch while sounding completely contemporary. Sure to attract attention in these politically divided times is the title track, which harbors a sense of menace and unwillingness to back down that hearkens back to Skynyrd's earliest days. The band knows the song, and others like "That Ain't My America," will have their critics, but Medlocke says listeners should get beyond the title.

Current group members include Gary Rossington on guitar, Johnny Van Zant on vocals, Rickey Med locke on guitar, Mark "Sparky" Matejka on guitar, Michael Cartell one on drums, Robert Kearns on bass, Peter Keys on keyboards, and Dale Krantz Rossing - ton and Carol Chase on backing vocals.

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