Stories From the Road #11

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

I’m going to switch gears and share a few of the Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels Band stories. Some of them are pretty unbelievable, but they all did happen. 🙂

Rick: 

“My brother Bobby, was a fantastic keyboard player. He played guitar too but excelled on the keyboard. He was a crazy SOB. In high school, his nickname was “Nut” Sikes. So, he was always game for a prank or skit or anything else we came up with.

We used to have what we called a “prop kit.” It had all kinds of old stuff in it like a Viking helmet, some beards, floppy hats, and raggedy Hobo clothes – all kinds of stuff, and we had a lot of fun with it. I remember one time we had stopped to eat at a fancy restaurant in Waco. We had figured out a scheme or plan that involved Bobby playing the part of a sex fiend. He didn’t care. He was a comedian anyway and he loved to be a fool.

So, I went inside the restaurant first and there was a nice elderly lady sitting behind the counter. I told her, “Ma’am, I have a band and we would like to eat, but I have a brother that is in the mental hospital most of the time. I bring him out for a couple of weeks on the road with me because our parents are both dead and we don’t have anybody. But, he’s really messed up mentally.”

She said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. What is his problem?”

I was good at keeping a straight face and playing the straight guy. “Well, he is what we call a sex fiend,” I said. “He sees women and he just gets nutty sometimes. So, if you will allow us to come in, please ask the waitresses not to get too close to him.”

She said, “Well, of course. Of course, you can come in.” I said, “We’ll hold him down and confine him, but just ask them please not to get too close.”

So, I go back out to the bus and get everyone and I’m sure she’s warning all the waitresses.

We walked inside and Bobby was slobbering and growling like an animal. A couple of the guys had him by the arms leading him in. They sat him down at the end of the table and we all sit down. A guy sat on each of Bobby and kept holding onto his arms.

The waitress came to the far end of the table away from him and asked us to pass the menus down. Everyone ordered. I ordered for Bobby.

A couple sat at the table next to ours and when their waitress brought a cart with their food on it, she got pretty close to our table. Bobby jumped up and lunged at her growling. The waitress screamed and knocked her food cart over spilling food on the couple.

I ran up front to the elderly lady and apologized. “I will pay for that couple’s food and for anything that got broken. I am so terribly sorry.”

She just shook her head and clicked her tongue. “That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”

So, I went back to our table. In the meantime, the other guys had dragged Bobby back to his chair and held on to him.

When the waitress brought our food, she stayed at the far end of the table. Bobby started crawling across the table right in the middle, slobbering and making goofy noises. The guys yanked him back and that waitress screamed. She sat our food down and took off.

I don’t remember what we had ordered for Bobby, but I do remember it had mashed potatoes and gravy and Bobby started eating with his hands and getting it all down the front of his shirt.

Of course, everyone in the restaurant was watching all of this. And that just egged him on. He played it up heavy.

Finally, we got finished and washed him down the best we could. The guys escorted him out and all the while, he was still carrying on.

I went back to the lady at the front and said, “Ma’am, I want to pay for everything. Any damages or anything else he caused.”

She said, “Oh, no, no, no, no. Don’t worry about that at all. What on earth do you do with him when you go to play someplace?”

I said, “We just chain him in the bus. We have to lock him up or else he’ll get out.”

She clicked her tongue and asked, “And, you take him out two weeks every year so he can be with you?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” I replied.

She said, “You know you are one of the most compassionate men I have ever met. You are certainly a good man and I admire you. I know it’s terribly humiliating for you.”

I played the straight guy all the way. “Yes, Ma’am. Yes, Ma’am.”

So then we all get back on the bus and everyone cracks up and has a blast.

It was a crazy stunt to pull, but it helped break up the monotony and boredom on the road…”

 

 

Rick and Bobby
L-R Bobby Sikes, Rick Sikes

 

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

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#RWISA Rising Writer, D.L. Finn

Each month at RAVE WRITERS INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA)  a Rising Writer is recognized.

Congratulations to November’s Rising Writer, Author, D.L. Finn!

She has written children’s books, poetry, a memoir and now a paranormal romance.

Check out a one minute video clip showcasing her work HERE

D.L. Finn is an independent California local that encourages everyone to embrace their inner child.

She shares that she has always best expressed herself in the written word. She explores what is going on inside herself and her characters–how things aren’t always what they seem. She learned that lesson a long time ago with a difficult childhood. She applies this to her work. She believes a message of courage, hope, and wonder is needed in a world where there seems to be less acceptance of it; when it’s easier to embrace fear, hate, and anger, instead.

Her latest book, “This Second Chance” is proof of how diverse D.L. Finn is as an author.

The Blurb:

Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way. Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness. Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?

This Second Chance eBook Cover

Take a peek at ALL of D.L. Finn’s Books on Amazon!

Follow D.L. Finn

Twitter:  @dlfinnauthor

 

Sweet Faces

My daughter and son-in-law took a much needed short vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico.

So, I am taking care of my granddaughters, Sydney, age 6 and Samantha age 2. 🙂

I seem to need a lot more energy than I have to keep up with them. BUT, that being said, we had an art project that went well…

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EXCEPT, we got a little paint on the bean bag chair. OOPS! And, I cannot figure for the life of me how to unzip the cover to throw it into the washer. So, I scrubbed it the best I could.

Then we went to a Candy Canes for Kids event designed to raise money for the Collin County Advocacy Center for children. And, that was fun. Cold and windy, but fun nevertheless.

Another sign of my age – When we got into the van to come back home, I buckled them both in safely, got in and drove away, leaving the stroller sitting in the parking lot. Yikes!! Thankfully, my older daughter was there with her family and she went and rescued it.

So, now today, after gymnastics, I have promised that we will play beauty shop.

If I miss your blogs, fail to return emails or other such important matters, I promise I’ll catch up. But, I am going to remain totally immersed in the moment with these two because I know how precious this time is.

Can they be ornery?? Heck yes. But, it usually passes pretty quickly. 🙂

Happy Sunday, everyone. Hug someone today.

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Stories From the Road #10

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Wow! We are already in Episode 10 of “Stories From The Road!” To celebrate, I will give a $10 Amazon Gift Card to someone who leaves a comment. Winner will be picked at random.  Today’s post is probably Rick’s favorite story of all time and he loved to share it.

Rick:

“Over the years, I was fortunate to get to play with some great entertainers – legends, in fact. I guess the most outstanding for me personally was when, in 1964, Sam Gibbs Booking Agency from Wichita Falls, Texas, called and asked if my band would like to do a tour with Bob Wills. I immediately said, “Hell yes!” before he told me how much we’d be paid, where we’d performing or any other details. Growing up in west Texas, there was no bigger star than Bob Wills. He was the ultimate Texas superstar, in my opinion.

Shortly before World War II, Dad bought Mom a Zenith console radio. It was really beautiful and had all the short-wave bands, as well as excellent AM radio reception. There was no FM radio back then. I recall that radio blaring out “San Antonio Rose” over and over. That was the hottest song going for months on end. It was recorded in 1940. Bob eventually recorded twenty-two #1 hits. In 1968, Bob was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “early influence.” Bob died in 1975 in Fort Worth, Texas at the age of 70. He had begun to play the fiddle professionally at the age of ten.

Anyway, this tour with him was the epitome of my dreams – me playing with the legendary man himself. Tag Lambert was driving him around and playing guitar for him. Bob had just sold the “Texas Playboys” name to Leon Rausch but had decided to do another tour anyway. The posters just said, “Bob Wills and the Boys.” I’d give anything if I’d saved some of them. I can only find one picture of Bob and myself together, but I know there were dozens more.

We were with Bob when Tommy Duncan died and people would come up to the stage and ask Bob if we were going to Tommy’s funeral in California. Bob handled it great. He’d say, “No, regrettably we can’t make it.” The majority of the public didn’t know that Bob and Tommy had become bitter enemies.

At the time we were backing Bob, I had a drummer who was a good drummer, but he had a problem. He’d done some bad acid, I think they called it STP. Anyway, he’d sorta’ slip into another zone now and then and start banging a drum solo with cymbals and all crashing, right in the middle of a song. I’d have to scream at him to snap him back into the real world. He did this two or three times on the first gig with Bob. Bob said, “Just give me a plain ol’ country shuffle; none of that fancy stuff.” I told Frenchy (the drummer), “Man, hold it down. Be cool.” He would say, “Ok.” Well, on every show, he’d go off and I’d have to holler him down. Bob was really nice in the way he told me, “Son, I don’t have anything against the drummer boy, but you sure do need to get you a country drummer.”

I asked Bob one time how he always had such a great dance band. He said, “Get you a good rhythm section and you’ve got a dance band.” I asked him how to tell if you were doing it right and he replied, “Look at the dance floor. If it’s full, you’re doing it right. They get thirsty when they dance and the boss man likes that.”

I recall an older lady coming up to the bandstand one time and saying, “Bob, do you remember me?” He smiled and tipped his white hat and said, “Honey, I sure do. It’s good to see you again.” Then he turned around to us and said, “I never saw her before in my life,” and grinned real big.

Once, we were at the Del Rio Civic Center to do a show. At that time, Bob didn’t light the cigar anymore, but he always held one. He wasn’t supposed to smoke or drink because he’d had a heart attack. Anyway, we were sitting in his dressing room (just he and I) and he said, “Son, you got any whiskey in your bus and maybe an extra cigar?” I said, “Sure. I’ll be right back.” We were in there smoking and having a shot of Jim Beam whiskey when Tag Lambert knocked on the door. I had noticed Bob locking it after I came in. Tag hollered, “Bob, are you in there?” Bob said, “Yes, what do you want?” Tag asked, “Are you drinking or smoking?” Bob said, “What if I am.” Tag said, “Open the door and let me in.” Bob got irritated and replied, “Get the hell outta here. You’re not my momma.” When we came out, Tag was really pissed and he pulled me aside to jump me. He said, “What in the hell are you trying to do, kill that old man?” I said, “No, I’m not trying to harm him in any way, but if I have anything he wants, I’ll damned sure give it to him whether you like it or not. So, don’t try to hand me any shit. You got that?” Needless to say, Tag didn’t like me very much.

Tag was a good singer and a helluva good guitar picker and I truly believe he worshipped Bob as most every picker who ever knew him did. Bob Wills was a musical genius. He could arrange music with three or four instruments or a twenty-five piece band. He knew how to put it together – really together – and he never had any formal music training. He just knew how to combine sounds in a way that few others have come close to doing. Nothing in my entire music career ever topped playing for Bob Wills.”

 

Rick and Bob Wills framed
Rick Sikes and Bob Wills

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

TIL DEATH DO US PART – A REVIEW BY @dlfinnauthor

When someone reads and leaves a review for one of my books, I am always moved. But, this review from D.L. Finn made my eyes misty.

Here is her review on Amazon:

“This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.”

Thank you to D.L. for the kind words! Please visit the original post on her BLOG.

Christmas is coming! If you’d like an autographed copy of TIL DEATH DO US PART, visit my website.

And, of course, this book can be purchased on Amazon

You can find out more about all of my books on my website

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BOOTLEGGERS – CD Review

BOO8_DIGI_EM3

BOOTLEGGERS

SOUTHERN ROADS

INDEPENDENT

 What does deep south France and Southern Rock have in common? The correct answer is a band, the Bootleggers. And they’ve recently released a new Indie album entitled Southern Roads.

In the vein of ZZ Top, the twang of electric guitars and hard rocking beat defines the Bootleggers. Band leader, lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player, Didier Cere sets the tone for their music. Point Blank’s guitarist, Rusty Burns who passed away before the CD was released, Van Wilks and Neal Black from San Antonio join in on the project.

The album kicks off with Van Wilks’ “Sometimes You Run.” Having heard Van’s original version, I have to give the Bootleggers kudos for their rendition of this hard-rocking song. You cannot listen and sit still.

“Short Change Hero” written by Kelvin Claude Swaby and made popular by The Heavy is the second track, followed by “Sending Me Angels,” a Delbert McClinton tune, which switches to a soulful tempo showing the diversity of this group.

“10 Million Slaves” penned by Otis Taylor features one of the most important American Artists on the blues scene, Neal Black on electric guitar.

The next track came as a surprise. “Negro Prison Blues,” written by Alan Lomax starts out acapella and moves into a beautiful instrumental featuring the slide guitar of Claude Zanglois.

The Bootleggers interpretation of “John The Revelator” by Blind Willie Johnson is simplistic and organic. Didier Cere shines on the vocals.

Neal Black penned “Hangman Tree,” and in the truest depiction of southern rock with a heavy drum beat and slide guitar, it is an easy favorite.

“Spirit in the Sky,” topped the charts worldwide in 1969. Written and released by Norman Greenbaum, it became one of the most recognizable songs on the radio. The Bootleggers did a rocking version in the spirit of the song with some outstanding harmonica work by Nico Wayne Toussaint. Dick Burnett’s “Man of Constant Sorrow” brings this album to a close in a surprising way. I have to say I am impressed by the vocals on this album and the versatility of the musicians. For more info visit https://www.reverbnation.com/bootleggers

Watch a Video of the BOOTLEGGERS Performing live! Video Link

I hope you enjoyed meeting a new and unique group of artists. It’s not often I get a chance to review a CD from a band in France. 

 

Stories From the Road #9

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“I had the pleasure and honor of doing a few gigs with Little Jimmy Dickens. What a ball of energy he was and could charm the heck out of a crowd.  Once in Houston, we were playing a place out on Airline Road,  called “Dancetown USA.” It was a big place, one of the hottest joints on the circuit back then, and I played there often. Little Jimmy had a terrible cold that night, so we went on out to set up while he stayed at the motel because he was feeling really bad. I was on the stage hooking up equipment and this dear lady stumbled up to the stage (she was in her cups) and said, “Are you Little Jimmy Dickens?” I said, “No, Ma’am, I work for him.” She said, “He gave me something over twenty years ago and I’ve never forgot him. Will you tell me when he gets here?” I said, “Yes, Ma’am, I sure will.” When Jimmy came in and I stood beside him, his cowboy hat came just under my armpit. I said, “Jimmy, there is a lady here who thought I was you. She may be just a little bit drunk.” The little rascal looked up at me and said, “Son, if she thought you were me, she’s a hell of a lot more than a bit drunk.” Jimmy was a great showman and one of the few old-time acts working into his eighties. He was truly one of the greats in traditional country and it was a pleasure to work with him. ”

 

Rick and Little Jimmie Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens and Rick Sikes

**Little Jimmy Dickens, was an American country music singer and songwriter famous for his humorous novelty songs, his small size (4’11” [150 cm]), and his rhinestone-studded outfits (which he is given credit for introducing into country music live performances). He started as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. Before his death, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.**

 

Rick_Sikes_Dancetown_USA
Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels along with Dean Beard at Dancetown USA

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

 

 

Satin and Cinders

SATIN AND CINDERS – A SHORT STORY

For many years, I’ve stood in the protection of the forest watching, longing. She is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen with her satiny white coat, long silky mane, and tale.

The humans care for her, brush her and feed her only the sweetest hay in the glen. But, me, I live wild and free in the forest. I nibble grass and weeds. My dark coat doesn’t glisten or shine and I’ve never felt a human touch.

There is something about her that I can’t explain. When the rest of the herd moves south, I stay, year after year. I can’t stand the thought of being so far away from her. And she knows.

Now, with winter approaching, I stand at the edge of the forest and shiver. I watch until the cottage sits cloaked in darkness before I approach the barn like I’ve done hundreds of times before. The sweet smell of hay tickles my nostrils. I stamp my foot and whinny. She answers from within the warmth of her shelter with a high pitch reply. I toss my head and draw closer.

More than anything, I want to be inside the warm barn nuzzling against her softness. I edge my way to the corral where she’s spent countless hours frolicking. There has to be a way in.

I trot back to the barn door. Determination rises inside and I have to give it a try. I back up and run at full speed and slam into the door with all my strength and a loud bang.

Instantly, lights appear in the cottage windows and the back door swings open. “Who’s there?” calls the human.

I shrink into the shadows and shake my head. I wait. Once again the cottage falls silent in the darkness.

Back at the barn, I paw at the wood. She answers with a soft nicker.

What? Did she say there is a back way in? I lose no time galloping to the north side of the corral. She is right. A stallion like me can easily clear that fence. I back up and run at a full gallop, clearing the fence and coming to a skidding stop. Satin meanders out of the barn, prancing and pawing the ground.

My heart races. I am in. I am with her, my dream, my love.

She tosses her long white mane and beckons me to follow. Ah, the sweet smell of fresh alfalfa. I blow out a long sigh, nicker and join her.

I haven’t considered the human in my need to be with her. Early the next morning, I lift my head, alert, as the barn door slides open.

“What in tarnation?” The human exclaims. “I’ve had horses break out, but never in my life have I had a horse break in.”

He approaches. “Good boy,” he says. He reaches out to touch me and I back away. “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

Satin lays her soft white head across my thick neck and nickers at her human. “Yes, I see, Satin. I see this is your friend. We’ll call him Cinders.”

The End

satin_Cinders

And the moral to this story is never give up on your dream and every Satin needs a Cinders.

Stories From the Road #8

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“There was a singer back in the sixties named Warren Smith. He was very good and charted some records. In fact, “I Don’t Believe I’ll Fall In Love Today,” got to #5 on the charts in 1960. He also did some recording for Sun records. I thought he was an excellent talent. We did a lot of backup gigs at that time and we backed him up at Round Rock, Texas at the Big G Club. Then, later on that night, we found out that after he finished the gig, he had gone into Austin and robbed a drug store for some drugs. That was the last I heard of Warren Smith.”

Warren Smith
This photo was taken from Rick’s collection

Kenny Price was a musical genius. He could play almost any instrument exceptionally well and could sing at least three parts of harmony. I booked Kenny on his first gig in Texas through Jimmie Key at New Keys Talent. I booked Kenny in at Pat’s Hall in Fredericksburg, Texas. He met me in Brownwood and I drove him down to Fredericksburg. We stopped at a restaurant in Brady, Texas to eat some lunch. Well, Kenny damn near cleaned ’em out. That guy could put away some chow. We got to Pat’s Hall and they had a Lone Star sponsored band out of San Antonio to back Kenny. There were seven guys in the band. Kenny asked one of them if they would tune his guitar with them and the guy said, “What’s the matter? Can’t you tune a guitar?” Kenny said, “Damned right I can tune a guitar, you sonofabitch, and if you guys get smart-assed with me, Rick and I will take your instruments away from you and play the gig ourselves. I can play every damned instrument you’ve got on that stage and probably a damned sight better than y’all can.” The whole band looked kinda’ stunned.

We went to a table and drank a little whiskey while the band warmed up. This curvy blonde came up to the table and gushed over Kenny. She was obviously star struck. She went on and on. I remember her saying,  “I can’t believe it. I just saw you on TV last night and here you are in Fredericksburg.” Kenny grinned and said, “Ain’t it a miracle, darlin’. Here, sit down.” He patted a chair beside him and she sat. “What’s your name, darlin’?”

I can’t recall what her name was, but she sat down and Kenny laid it on strong. After a couple of drinks, he told her, “Honey, I’ve got to go up and play, but I sure would like it if you’d come to the motel tonight with ol’ Uncle Kenny.” She giggled and batted her eyelashes and said, “Oh, I don’t think my husband would like that too much.” He pulled her up real close and said, “Oh hell, just tell him you’re going with me. He won’t mind.” She giggled some more and then said she had to go.

I told Kenny, “Man, these people down here are pretty clannish and they’re probably all kin in some way or another. If you fight one, you’ll have to fight them all.” He replied, “Hell, I’m from Kentucky and everyone is clannish there. I ain’t afraid of these bastards, are you?” “No,” I said, “but I don’t see any use in getting into it with ’em.” He slung back another whiskey and said, “Well, are you afraid to get an ass whipping?”

I leaned back in my chair hoping we would both get out of there without a fight. “No, I’ve had it before.” Then we both just started laughing. The old gal never came back over.

Kenny could tell a joke like nobody else. He could imitate the male and female voices and he was funny. I booked him several other gigs in Texas over the years, but I’ll never forget that first time.”

**Six-foot tall, 300-pound Kenny “The Round Mound of Sound” Price was best remembered for his work on the long-running television show Hee Haw; he was also a talented singer/songwriter and musician who never quite made it to the big-time, despite having 34 chart singles over his 15-year career.**

 

Kenny_Price
Kenny Price

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES