You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your ReverbNation experience.
Scott Ricks was a songwriter looking for a voice. After searching for three years all over the Southeast, Scott finally found the one he had been looking for and just three miles from his home in Albany, Georgia. Lead singer, Cody Smith, and guitarist, John Garrett, had been singing acoustic cover shows around Albany when a chance meeting between Scott and Cody at the Levee Studios brought the three together.
“I had gone to the Levee Studio to work on some songs,” said Scott, “when Dennis Frazier, who was helping me produce them, told me he had let a kid sing a few earlier that day and thought I was going to be impressed. Dennis had heard Cody singing in another part of the studio and thought it was the radio instead of someone taking voice lessons to try to improve their range. I had heard hundreds of singers over the years and couldn’t find the voice I thought fit my songs. I also remember sitting there running my mouth about what a front man needed to look like, act like, etc., while Dennis got the song up on the board. He hit the button on Cody singing “Corvette Dreams” and after the first few lines I turned to Dennis and asked, ‘What does he look like?’…”
After the introduction they decided to use the band name that Cody and John had been using to play around town, Highway 55. Georgia Highway 55 ran through Cody and John’s hometown of Dawson, Georgia, just a few miles down the road from Albany. The two decided on the name because of all the good times and life lessons that had occurred down Highway 55.
The first order of business was to get an album in the works and to put a band together. Scott gave Cody and John some copies of other recordings of his 200+ songs so they could pick their favorites and start learning material.
“When I slide in the CD,” Cody said, “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How were these songs not already on the radio? I bet I listened to “Little White Lines” a hundred times that first night. I could hear myself singing every single song and that was a big deal to me. I don’t want to sing songs just because I think they can sell. I want to sing songs that have something to do with my life and mean something to me. I couldn’t have found more of that in Scott’s music.”
They added band members Brandon Hosley on drums, Dave Cortez on Bass and Dwight Plymel on lead guitar and started branching out into bigger shows around Southwest Georgia including Tifton, Fitzgerald, Ellaville, Valdosta and Statesboro. Unfortunately, after only a month of playing with the band, Dwight was killed in a car accident on Interstate 75 in October 2010. Dwight had been a long time traveling musician and was just what the young band had needed. His untimely death left a big hole, but also a sense of hope when the band members reflected on his short stint with them.
“I bet he told me a dozen times,” Scott says, “how much he loved the music and Cody’s strong voice. He had been playing for 20 plus years and he would say ‘I’m finally on to something, I just know it.’ It meant a lot to know that he enjoyed playing with us that much and really believed in what we were doing and where we were headed.”
Skyler McCrary was added as the guitarist to replace Dwight and the band was again off and running. Since late 2010 the gigs and crowds have steadily increased, as has the demand for more music.
“It’s been great to see the crowds get bigger,” says Cody, “and to see people singing our songs even in places that we haven’t been before. We try to keep it simple. Just focus on the music and work on making sure the crowd has a good time. It feels like we grow stronger as a band every time we play.”
Highway 55 is an eclectic combination of musical talents and personalities. All this combines for a band that has its finger on the pulse of the growing population of music lovers of all genres. Realizing that everyday holds its own trials and tribulations, Highway 55 wants to ease those days with music that you will love to listen to and feel a connection to.
“At first look we would seem to be very different as band members,” says drummer Brandon Hosley. “Not many bands that play country music have a black drummer and a blue-eyed Mexican for a bass player! And our ages range from early twenties to early forties. But we really are all very much alike as people, especially musically. We talk all the time about how none of us, or anybody we know, only has one type of music on their ipods. I think today’s music lovers, like us, are into all kinds of music. So in our shows we cover anything from Hank Williams Jr. to Lady Gaga. I have mostly played gospel, R&B and Jazz. Skyler spent most of his time in a Christian Rock band. Dave has been in all sorts of bands and sings a lot of our 80s and 90s cover music. Scott is just as likely to write a song you’d find on a Plain White T’s album as one you would find on a Jason Aldean album. And Cody and John are just small town good ole boys who love Country and Rock music. All these influences come together and make us who we are and it keeps it fun.”