Artimus Pyle is the last surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd who was with the band on the night of the fatal plane crash on October 20, 1977 that took the life of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister and background vocalist Cassie Gaines, along with three others.
After legendary Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington passed away earlier this year, that left Pyle as the final surviving band member who was on that plane.
And 46 years later, Pyle is still doing his best to keep their memories – and the music of Skynyrd – alive.
The former Skynyrd drummer, who left the band for good in 1991, made his Grand Ole Opry debut last night with his own band, the Artimus Pyle Band.
It also happened to be the 46 years to the day of that tragic plane crash.
But on the anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in southern rock history, Pyle and his band announced a new album paying tribute to one of the greatest bands in southern rock.
Anthems – Honoring The Music of Lynyrd Skynyrd features some of the biggest names in country music joining Pyle for some of Skynyrd’s biggest hits – including a version of “Freebird” featuring not only Dolly Parton on vocals, but also Gary Rossington performing his iconic guitar solo.
Pyle spoke about the album during his Opry debut:
“Ronnie Van Zant, he wrote hit songs and hit albums, but don’t you agree he wrote anthems?
These songs will be with us 1,000 years from now, and so we did an album to honor Ronnie, his music and his band. I’m part of that band and I’m lucky to be included.”
And he spoke about how special it was to be able to get Rossington on the album before his death:
“We were able to get Gary Rossington.
Gary Rossington passed away four months ago. We all live, we all die, it’s how you live your life. And Gary passed away. That makes me the last living member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
I’m not bragging. It’s not a good feeling. As a matter of fact it’s a bad feeling…
Being able to get Gary on the project with Dolly Parton, Gary’s iconic slide solo, with Dolly…we’re talking “Freebird,” Dolly and Gary. Pretty iconic, wouldn’t you say?”
Not only does the album feature Dolly on “Freebird,” but the first single released is their version of “Sweet Home Alabama” featuring the legendary Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn.
The 13-track album will be released on February 2, 2024.
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd. And Dolly Parton too, along with Gary Rossington? As Artimus Pyle said, that’s pretty iconic.
Anthems – Honoring The Music Of Lynyrd Skynyrd Track Listing:
1. I Know A Little – Micheal Ray
2. Sweet Home Alabama – Ronnie Dunn
3. Simple Man – Sammy Hagar
4. Needle And The Spoon – Lindsay Ell
5. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew – Chris Janson
6. Workin’ For MCA – Lee Brice
7. That Smell – Jerrod Niemann
8. Gimme Three Steps – Marty Raybon
9. Call Me The Breeze – Billy Ray Cyrus
10. Saturday Night Special – Warren Haynes
11. The Hunt – Artimus Pyle Band
12. What’s Your Name – LOCASH
13. Freebird – Dolly Parton