Niagara Gazette — There was too high a demand for Lynyrd Skynard music for the surviving band members to ignore, and in 1987 a tribute band led by Ronnie’s brother Johnny was formed.
That is the group that led to the current incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and sadly the music tradition wasn’t the only thing revived, the band continued to deal with tragedies and lineup shifts.
Guitarist Allen Collins was involved in a car crash that left him paralyzed, he died in 1990. Bassist Leon Wilkeson, whose arm never healed properly from injuries sustained in the 1977 plane crash, died in 2001. Keyboardist Billy Powell died of a heart attack in 2009.
Through it all the group has defined the term made famous by their last album with Ronnie Van Zant, they are “Street Survivors.”
Perhaps more importantly they remain a viable and vibrant group, still recording and performing with the same type of vigor that helped make Lynyrd Skynyrd hugely popular.
Their newest album, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” came out just last year. The song titles say it all, “One Day at a Time”, “Nothing Comes Easy”, “Life’s Twisted”, “Nothing Comes Easy” and “Start Livin’ Life Again.”
On Tuesday, the band will be performing the songs that defined their legacy, including “Freebird,” one of rock music’s most beloved songs. One can only imagine that as those familiar notes drift towards the sky, a few former members are smiling down on the current lineup and appreciating how they have kept their music alive, even after “Tuesday’s gone with the wind.”Thom Jennings covers Artpark and the local music scene for the Gazette.