Rockie Lynne Talks The Art Of Songwriting & Bartending For Charity

Rockie Lynne Talks The Art Of Songwriting & Bartending For Charity

One thing I really love about Rockie Lynne is that he didn’t let a little bit of fame go to his head. His main focus is on helping people in need. From all of his work with and for the troops that we discussed in our last interview, with Operation Build and Tribute To The Troops, to his stint bartending at D’Laney’s Sports Bar for charity this week, he is one of the first to pitch in when an opportunity to help presents itself. Tonight, you can catch Rockie live in Statesville at a really cool venue, The Twisted Oak.

Rockie Lynne Talks The Art Of Songwriting & Bartending For Charity

Rockie Lynne: I don’t really know how to bartend, but I did it once before and I really, really enjoyed it. I don’t really know how to make any drinks at all but they have a guy there who is like a master, he can make anything. So he teaches me, of course I’ve forgotten now, I have no recall whatsoever other than I really enjoyed it.

Some drinks are self explanatory, like Jack and Coke. That’s simple, so those I enjoy and I like making the fancy ones too because it’s fun and it’s a side of the world I have never seen before so I really enjoy going there and doing it.

EPR: I’m not good at mixology either but it is fun, especially if you’ve got someone there helping you.

Rockie Lynne: Oh, it’s a hoot! It’s for Tribute To The Troops which is really super cool. So many of our tribute guys come out and 90% of the time when we see each other it’s serious. We are standing in somebody’s yard or we are visiting some family who’s parent’s have been killed. So this is the exact polar opposite of that. We are in a bar drinking. I mean it’s fun. We are putting our heels up a little bit so it’s nice.

[All tips that are made during one of Rockie Lynne’s charity bartending events is donated to Tribute To The Troops.]

Rockie Lynne: The folks that work there donate their tips as well. It was their idea. They wanted to do it. The regular bartenders and the food waitresses – they all are making those sacrifices to help us help those families. It’s a cool thing and it’s a great community effort to do something good.

EPR: What else is going on with Tribute To The Troops lately?

Rockie Lynne: The whole season of rides kicks off in April. This April is Florida, which is going to happen in Tampa this year. We are going to visit 6 families. I am in the process of researching those 6 heroes and learning about their lives so that when we stand in the yard we will know stuff about them.

Throughout the whole year, everybody is planning their rides and we just wrote the scholarship for the 58th child. In 15 years, we have provided college scholarships to 58 children. And, Dawn, I just cannot believe that I am fortunate enough to be part of something that noble in the world.

EPR: That is amazing, but you really are a part of a lot of things that help people. You really have gone above and beyond, I feel, what you need to do to help others.

Rockie Lynne: I feel very fortunate for all of the things that are going on. We are about 3/4 of the way through a new album. Without any doubt in my mind, it’s the best work that I have ever done. What’s great is that I am using my band. It’s just my guys, not Nashville guys, not all me banging around on stuff. And what we decided to do, we are all decisively middle aged now and we have been doing this thing for our whole lives. Let’s make the record of our dreams. We own the studio, so let’s just sit here and let’s not leave until it’s right.

Normally, what’s interesting about the way that I have done records for a living in Nashville for so long is that I would write a song, and then I would chart it out, make a music chart of the song, which would have the chords and any sort of syncopated places in it. Then I would maybe even make a work tape and then I would play the band the work tape and give them the chart and they would go in and read the chart and that’s how you would record a song. And you would record maybe 2 or 3 bed tracks, which is base, drums and keyboards, a night. That kind of thing. But we come here, we’d have dinner. We sit around. We talk for a little bit and then I’d play them a song I had written. No chart. No work tape. No reference. Just play the song. And then each person puts their input into it so it’s very, very much like a band in the 70s or the way the Eagles or the way Jackson Browne or the way some of those people would have made records.

So then we all go in the studio and everybody kind of has in their head how it goes and we just play that song until we get it, basically learn it, because there is no chart of anything. And then we record it. And what has come out has been the most spontaneous things. And I am so proud of it.

Rockie Lynne Talks The Art Of Songwriting & Bartending For Charity

EPR: So it’s definitely more of a collaborative approach to song writing.

Rockie Lynne: Without a doubt, yeah. Our drummer is such a great drummer. And I think that on all of these records I might have hampered him by pointing him in a direction as opposed to just playing the song on acoustic guitar and he hears something else in his head that I wouldn’t have heard or approach it in a different way and I end up liking that a lot better. It’s kind of like I’m the quarterback, I guess.

EPR: Your studio – is that where you do your radio programming as well, for Uprising?

Rockie Lynne: Yes. Well, I have a portable recording rig that sometimes I will take out when I go to Nashville. I will take it with me and it has a couple of lapel mics on it and I have a couple of tabletop mics, too, if I am able to set up for a while. And it’s a 4 track recorder, I think. And I can record a radio show there and I bring it back and I edit it here. Actually Susan [Rockie’s wife and business partner] has been editing for the last couple of years because I haven’t had the time. I edited the first couple years of it and then she started editing the programs.

EPR: I have to say that she is a really hard worker because every time I email, she is on it. Fast.

Rockie Lynne: She is the hardest working human being that I have ever met in my life. And not just hard working. She is someone that believes in the things that we are doing. And she believes in Tribute [To The Troops], she is on the national board.

Rockie Lynne Talks The Art Of Songwriting & Bartending For Charity

EPR: So I have seen you a few times and it seems to me like you have a photographic memory or something. You seem to know everybody and you remember everyone’s names. I am so bad with that. So it’s kind of funny that you can’t remember how to make the drinks, though. You just can’t be a mastermind at everything I guess.

Rockie Lynne: [laughs] Well, I don’t drink. I occasionally have a drink now but I didn’t even have a sip of alcohol in my life until I was 43 years old. And it was weird because I was in the Army and then I played in bars. I made a living playing in bars and casinos. For decades, that’s what I did. But, I usually would be the only sober guy at the end of the night to drive the van home with the band in it. So I just never did drink. And when people come to see me sing, if they take time out of their lives to come do that, or to send me a message or to have one of my records, it’s very important to me that I acknowledge that. The fact that one human being would ever care about something that I wrote really means a lot to me so it’s important that I try to remember that. And maybe I don’t really care all that much about drinks so I don’t put my effort into it. I guess if that is what I was going to do for a living I might. It’s interesting that you mention that. I try to always talk to everybody that comes if I can. I try to meet people. I try to remember their names. If there’s a certain story that they tell me, I try to commit that to my memory so that maybe it will register. That really means something to me.

See Rockie Lynne tonight at the Twisted Oak in Statesville. Be sure to check out Rockie Lynne’s full tour schedule and his online store.

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

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