By Peter Cronin
Brandon Rickman’s Old Soul
For fast-rising singer/songwriter Brandon Rickman, the trip from his home in the Missouri Ozarks to the A-team writer’s rooms of Nashville was marked by several significant musical detours. Thankfully, the influences he picked up on that slow road – from mountain music to bluegrass to gospel – also happen to be the building blocks of great country music.
Growing up “50 miles due west of Branson” and a half mile down the road from the local “hootenanny,” Rickman was performing from before he can remember, but the idea of making a living as a fulltime musician took a while to sink in.
“I had a good friend, Aaron McDaris, who played in a band called New Tradition,” Rickman says. “I just had the hankering and called him.”
Next thing he knew, Rickman was on the road playing bass with the gospel/bluegrass outfit. When the band called it quits 18 months later, he made the inevitable move to Nashville and quickly landed a bass gig with acclaimed bluegrass singer/songwriter Larry Cordle (“Highway 40 Blues,” “Murder On Music Row”). When Cordle heard the songs Rickman was writing, he encouraged his bassist to concentrate on the writing and the two became regular collaborators.
After a year on the road with Cordle, Rickman was offered the frontman position in venerable bluegrass outfit the Lonesome River Band. Soon he was working with collaborators including proven hitmakers like Jerry Salley, Charley Stefl, Carson Chamberlain and Mark Irwin and was generating a sizable buzz up and down Music Row. The bluegrass world also began taking notice of Rickman’s way with a song, earning him 20 cuts with various artists.
In late 2008, Rickman got the opportunity to indulge his country side, entering the studio with producer Jimmy Metts to record Young Man, Old Soul, his first solo project. Released in 2009, the album garnered critical raves and offered indisputable musical proof of just how far Brandon Rickman has come along that road.
“If you surround yourself with better players, you’re going to play better, and it’s the same thing with writing,” he says. “Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley, they took me under their wing for some reason. So I was fortunate early on to learn the art of getting a song right. I may never make another dollar, but that friendship and experience goes a whole lot farther than a dollar does...in my book anyway.”