PLYMOUTH—George Schricker, popular local singer, songwriter, musician, storyteller, will introduce his new band, ‘Wild Rose Moon’ and freshly birthed CD, ‘Precious Time’ this Saturday. Music in the Park will break from the traditional Friday affairs and offer a leisurely Saturday night concert under the stars.
The album title was the perfect choice and a tribute to one of his favorite songwriters, John Prine, who’s still going strong.
“I had written a song called, ‘Precious Time’, and the title just sounded like it was out of Prine’s song book, so I thought: Why not do an album that addresses a lot of these musical influences?” Schricker said.
He had recently put a new band, Wild Rose Moon, together with musical friend and regional guitar legend, Gene Ley, and harmonica virtuoso, Jim Yocom, and knew both of them would be perfect components for such a project.
Schricker’s eclectic songs sprout from a wide variety of musical influences including Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Tom Paxton, John Prine, and Loudon Wainwright—something for everyone. He credits his love of songwriting to Indiana musician and songwriter, Ken Gilliland, who encouraged him to sing-along with him when he was a boy growing up in Plymouth. Schricker’s songs are inspired by a wide variety of subjects such as old-time dances, Native American stories, early dinosaurs, rivers, books, short stories, films, and even learning to ride a bike. Nothing escapes his creativity.
“I called up my friend, Bruce Bartlett, who had made ten other music albums with me, and asked him if he would be interested in doing one more—and if he would help me produce with Gene. When Bruce signed on, I knew it was a go.” Schricker began writing more songs and gathering old ones, until he’d amassed 14 songs that he thought would combine well to promote his idea. “Soon I had a bundle of songs that reminded me of Leonard Cohen, Pete Seeger, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, and even ex-Monkee, Michael Nesmith.” The audience is in for a real treat with these unique pieces as well as many others not on the CD. He’s put together a program of the two-act concert comprised of 16 old and new numbers with a vignette of how each came about. Everyone will know George a lot better by the time the concert concludes.
The other members of the group in addition to Gene Lay on both acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo and vocals include Jim Yocom on harmonica and conga and Dan Ley on bass. Special guest musicians for this concert include Bob Lichty on keyboards and sax, popular folksinger Liza Woolever on fiddle and percussion; Branden Eifrid on drums; Pam Huffer on cello; and Schricker’s wife Michele on vocals and signing.
Come prepared to enjoy a variety of songs and see if you can spot the influences behind the music. The band will perform songs off four albums: ‘George’s Brother’, ‘The Space’, ‘Back on Track’ and, of course, ‘Precious Time’.
Without a doubt, the song Schricker says he enjoyed working on the most was the novelty song, ‘Banks of the Nile’. Inspired by the late, great Country singer, Roger Miller, the song was perfect for embellishment. “My dad and I used to sing ‘King of the Road’ on family road trips and I collected Roger Miller albums when I was just a kid. His songs always had a kind of easy delivery and cute melody that made them fun to sing and quick to learn. In studio, we just went wacky with it. First, Gene put in some conga, bass, backup vocals, and funky slide guitar, and then Steve DeFord, who did studio work in Chicago, put in some keyboard marimba. I came up with the bottom part, which Gene sang, which is just incredibly low—it all came out so funny—we were rolling on the carpet laughing at it. I think, later, it was Steve who said we ought to call it ‘Down on the ’Banks of Denial’, based on the lyric itself. I promised him I would adapt the line in performance.”
Schricker’s favorite song, however, is what he refers to as a “simple country ballad” at the end of the album, called ‘The Gift’ which he will perform. It has special meaning for him, especially this year. “I wrote this one for my wife, Michele, and it means a lot because we’ve been married 30 years, just this June. It’s the song I wrote to propose to her. She had gone out to Boston to work. I took a train out there, with my song and my guitar, to see if I could talk her into coming back. When I got there, I sang it to her on the steps of her apartment. I guess it must have worked.”
All Music in the Park concerts are in beautiful Centennial Park in the Young Amphitheater. Bring a lawn chair, your favorite beverage and a picnic to enjoy this special music in a delightful setting. If you don’t want to cook, Delta Theta Tau will once again be offering refreshments—each performance with specials that reflect the group performing.
Encore is sponsoring a food drive to help the Neighborhood Center. If possible, attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable item.
Gates open at 6:00 with the performance begins at 7:00. All tickets are $10 for adults and children and K-12 students are free as well as college students with an ID. Tickets are available at the Encore Office, A.S.K. for Flowers, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Park and Recreation Department and WTCA.
For more information, contact Debi Gidley at Encore Performing Arts, 1305 W. Harrison Street, Plymouth at 935-4987 or the website at www.encoreperformingarts.org .