Roadrunner RecordsLynyrd Skynyrd's latest album is called Last of a Dyin' Breed, a title to which the band's founding guitarist Gary Rossington undoubtedly can relate. In a band that's been plagued by tragedy, Rossington is sort of the last man standing -- the only surviving original member who's still playing in the group.
Speaking with ABC News Radio recently, Rossington explains that the album's name was inspired by a phrase he's heard people use near his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
"They're always talking about wolves being a dying breed, and there's a lot of Native Americans there -- [also] a dying breed," he explains. "I just think of us and Southern bands and old blues bands and touring bands of the '70s and '80s and '60s. That's kind of a dying breed now. Everybody's into pop music and hip-hop and single-act singers that have a lot of dancers on stage with them."
Rossington says for the new album, a follow-up to 2009's Gods & Guns, the current Skynyrd lineup went back to the way the band used to record in its '70s heyday.
"We all went in the studio at the same time and learned the songs, and then did it kind of live in the studio," he explains. "We just overdubbed some vocals and lead guitars. So, it feels real good. It feels like a band instead of a bunch of people putting on parts to a track." We're real proud of it.
The guitarist also points out that where Skynyrd's previous few studio efforts may have featured more of a country-flavored sound, "we tried to make [this album] a little more rock, like we did in the original band."
Last of a Dyin' Breed features a selection of songs highlighted by all the elements that made classic Skynyrd songs memorable. The 10-track release, which hits stores on Tuesday, boasts is a bevy of heavy-pounding anthems like the title track and "Homegrown" showcasing the band's three-guitarist attack -- Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Mark "Sparky" Matejka -- and the powerful vocals of frontman Johnny Van Zant. There's also a touching, piano-driven ballad titled "Ready to Fly" that brings to mind "Free Bird" and a swampy acoustic blues number titled "Start Livin' Life Again."
"We try to keep it to our style, the style that Lynyrd Skynyrd has always had," declares Rossington. "We try to keep true to that, try to make [it] the best we can and the best songs for the people."
Skynyrd has been maintaining a busy touring schedule this summer and has U.S. dates plotted out through October.
Rossington says fans coming out to the shows will mainly hear the group's classics, but also will get to enjoy a sampling of tunes from the new album.
"We're doing the song 'Last of a Dyin' Breed.' It's just a good rock song that we kinda start out with," he reveals. "And then, we do this song…called 'Good Teacher.' It's about all the teachers you had in your life, school teachers and life teachers…or girl teachers or whatever you learn from, or whoever. And then we do a song called 'One Day at a Time.' It's just a really cool, little, good-feeling song we like to play."
In addition to the band's many upcoming concerts, Skynyrd will be making a handful of in-store appearances during the next week or so where they'll be signing copies of Last of a Dyin' Breed and meeting with fans. Visit LynyrdSkynyrd.com to find out all the details about the band's tour dates and signing sessions.
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