I gotta say, I was really surprised by the stridency of feeling on both sides that the mere mention of Ricky Atkinson’s name brought up in the comments thread of a post that didn’t have anything to do with Atkinson or his group (at least not initially anyway). Beyond having heard the group a few years back for a few minutes at NQC (a performance that stands out in my mind mainly for a woman named LaBreeksa’s wardrobe choices) and Atkinson’s turn at the songwriters showcase this year at NQC, I can’t say that I’ve paid much attention to the group or its namesake. But that flame war (and the inordinate amount of time I had to spend moderating inappropriate comments related to it) really got my attention. And not, I might add, in a good way.

Which is a long preamble to the news that that Loren Harris and Greg Cook joined RAC in a new version of the group Atkinson will be rolling out on a limited basis, given the members’ other obligations professionally. It will be great to hear and see Harris back on stage again, but I’ll admit, I’m not getting my hopes up in general. It sounds like the trio isn’t exactly the first (and certainly not the only considerable) priority putting demands on these guys’ times. And songwriters who own or are large parts of touring groups typically find it difficult to resist using their group as a fast-track to cuts of their songs, whether the songs are cuttable are not. So like I said, I’m reserving judgment.

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  1. scope wrote:

    Ricky is an extremely accomplished songwriter as well as singer, Loren is one of my all-time favorite singer, and Greg is a wonderful tenor. I can’t wait to hear them singing Ricky’s songs. BTW, I know them all personally, and love them for the great Christian men and personable people they are.

  2. Jay wrote:

    I think Loren and Greg will be an excellent addition to RA&C. Ricky Atkinson is, as scope said, an extremely accomplished (and talented) singer/songwriter. Placing Loren and Greg, two more extremely talented men, alongside Ricky could result in one of the best groups in SGM today. I can’t wait to hear the new sound!

  3. James wrote:

    Avery, I agree with you. Ricky has never been a real favorite of mine, although I had nothing against him. He just never really sparked much of my interest and still doesn’t. I really do enjoy Lorren Harris and vaguely remember Greg Cook (it has been a long time) as a good tenor. I don’t really expect much of this new group, though. It sounds like they aren’t going to be doing enough dates or putting enough emphasis on this for it to really mesh well. I know Ricky is a good songwriter, but I also know he has done exactly what you are talking about in the past. He has put songs on his c.d. that I have heard other groups reject and that really weren’t very good. I really believe that is just a matter of a song always being special to the songwriter, but it still doesn’t help the album. I think this new group will definitely bring Ricky radio success and most likely he will now be on all the Ray Flynn concerts (Greg usually emcee’s for Ray Flynn’s singings anyway), but I don’t think it will really catapult him to fame and fortune. I do look forward to hearing the singles, though. Lorren and Ricky always sounded good singing together. I just won’t be buying a ticket for their performance.

  4. D.B. wrote:

    Why is it that the only people you ever hear that are die-hard Ricky Atkinson fans are people who “know him personally”? That’s not a popular singer. It’s a guy with lots of friends (or lots of email addresses) that rally when a negative comment is made.

  5. The other "Jay" wrote:

    Just wanted to be sure that people knoew that “I” wasn’t the one who posted #2. That was ‘another’ Jay. I’m the ‘other’ Jay, I’d guess you’d say.

    For the record, I consider myself a friend of Loren and Ricky. I don’t know Greg hardly at all. But, friendship aside, this announcement didn’t really do anything for me at all. I kinda went, “Well, OK. Whatever.”

    And #4, Your comment made me spew Lipton Green Tea on my screen! Not that what you said was really all that funny to me, but it made me think of something Elmo Fagg told Jim Hamill one time when they sang together in the Blue Ridge QT. He said, “Hamill, you need to quit trying to sing like Jake Hess and get your own style”. Hamill rebutted with “But I thought people were liking what I was doing”. Elmo replied, “No. You’ve just learned that fat folks make lots of friends! Now, change your style.”

  6. T wrote:

    Other Jay, that is hilarious!! I completely agree with you. I have nothing against Ricky, Loren, or Greg, this announcement is just kinda like, okay, so what. Not thrilled, not upset, not impacted. But I love your comment!

  7. T.P. wrote:

    I am anxious to see what the new sound will be like.

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    I always thought that the Gatlin Brothers could have hung with it longer if they hadn’t pretty much exclusively used Larry Gatlin penned songs. Larry has written several really good songs, but they should have picked out the best songs and if there were some better than some of his, they should have used them instead of keeping it in the family.

  9. Kaye wrote:

    You ALL are ridiculious! Why in the world can you just not let things be that are taking place or that have taken place? If changes are what someone feels God wants them to do, then shut up. Who cares what you think they should do or how you feel about them?!

  10. John wrote:

    Kaye, Do you understand what a blog is and its purpose?

  11. Tobe wrote:

    Amen to John. Why do people visit a blog if they don’t understand the purpose? As far as Ricky, I am not a huge fan and I don’t expect that this will change my opinion much. I have always thought he is a good singer and I like some of the songs he has written, but I have never enjoyed him live. I am sure their singles will be great, but that will be the only plus to me. We’ll see, I guess. I will reserve judgement too. Who knows, maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. :)

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