ith an incredible world tour.
Work tapes of Rick's songs had found their way to ATLANTIC RECORDS president, Doug Morris through bandmate Stevie Nicks, and as a result, Rick was signed to his first solo recording deal. In 1992 his CD, ""KING OF HEARTS"" was praised in GUITAR PLAYER magazine for it's ""...dazzling collection of fiery, slide guitar-driven songs..."", and featured the single, ""DESIREE"", a smoldering duet with Stevie Nicks.
In 1994 Rick accompanied Stevie on her ""STREET ANGEL"" tour, and during this time, made a decision to relocate from Los Angeles to the Nashville area.
""I'd been wanting to live somewhere green again. When we visited Nashville, I realized that not only was it a music town, but it was also some of the prettiest country I'd seen, so eventually I found some land, moved the family, and we built our own house. It turned out to be a dream come true in many ways.""
Rick devoted much of 1995-96 to family interests, but in 1997 he began recording his second solo CD, this time one firmly rooted in a Blues vein. Recorded both in LA and Nashville, the CD, entitled ""PINK AND BLACK"", features nine Vito original songs plus solid treatments of others by OTIS RUSH, EDDIE CLEARWATER, and PETER GREEN. ""PINK AND BLACK"" is both a reference to Rick's personally designed Art Deco guitar, and also to a style of an era in music where Blues and Rock& Roll made a passionate connection. Originally released in Summer 1998 on the STREAMLINER RECORDS label, ""PINK AND BLACK"" was soon picked up by the LA based WILDCAT RECORDS, receiving worldwide distribution in 1999.
During 1998 and 1999, Rick also participated in a highly visible world tour with singer/guitarist BONNIE RAITT in support of her CD, ""FUNDAMENTAL"". During this time he appeared on ""OPRAH"", ""DAVID LETTERMAN"", ""THE TONIGHT SHOW"", ""ROSIE O'DONNEL"", ""CONAN O'BRIEN"", VHI STORYTELLERS, as well as the LILLITH FAIR TOUR and the ERIC CLAPTON EUROPEAN TOUR. Rick was featured both in duet with Bonnie and also performing songs from ""PINK AND BLACK"".
In 2001 Rick's CD, ""LUCKY DEVILS"" was released in Europe on the German-based HYPERTENSION MUSIC label. Containing eleven original cuts, ""Lucky Devils"" picked up where his previous CDs left off. Reviewers found it it to be ""an exciting and innovative continuation of Rick's devotion to his blues dominated stylings"" (Hamburg Music Review). ""Lucky Devils"" (also the name of his new band) then kicked off with a critically acclaimed solo tour of Germany and Switzerland where he also appeared on the much heralded ""OHNE FILTER"" TV concert series. Rick managed to squeeze in yet another tour during 2001 with rock icon, John Fogerty, appearing on TINA TURNER's epic Farewell Tour.
2002 saw Rick in the producer's chair, this time for 'rockabilly filly', ROSIE FLORES. The result was the much heralded ""SPEED OF SOUND"" on Eminent Records. Also released in 2002 were several cds featuring Rick's guitar work including ""FAST GIRL"" by the TRACTORS, and DELBERT MCCLINTON bluesy ""NOTHING PERSONAL,""
A new DREAMWORKS film, ""THE LAST CASTLE"", starring ROBERT REDFORD featured Rick as a captain of a commando team leading a mission to capture a U.S. Army general. Rick also was the recipient of the W.C. HANDY award for ""BLUES SONG OF THE YEAR 2001"" for his composition, ""IT’S 2 A.M."", as performed by the incredible blues shouter, SHEMEKIA COPELAND.
Rick’s next cd, ""CRAZY COOL"", was released in September 2002 in Europe, again on Hypertension Music. Including a reworking of ""LOVE IS DANGEROUS,"" (cowritten with Stevie Nicks) and a tribute to JOHN LEE HOOKER (""MR. LUCKY""), Crazy Cool showcased Rick's slide guitar work and songs with a fresh excitement, with perhaps just a little more emphasis on rocking out.
Rick’s fifth solo CD, “BAND BOX BOOGIE,” marked a turning point in style for him. Accompanied this time by a small saxophone section, Band Box Boogie mixed together elements of Swing, Latin, and Jump-Blues with Rock & Roll to create what some refer to as Rick’s crowning recording achievment to date. Former Mac bandmate MICK FLEETWOOD, who lists this CD among his all-time favorites, has said of it, “...absolutely incredible, soulful, and impeccable. I love this album!”
In the Fall of 2003 a new DVD featuring Rick’s performance on the aforementioned Ohne Filter TV concert series appeared as, “RICK VITO IN CONCERT.” Featuring twelve cuts, this DVD captures much of the energy and excitement of Rick’s live shows and showcases especially well his talent and versatility on the guitar. A second DVD, “GUITAR HEROES IN CONCERT,” features one cut from Rick’s DVD along with performances by many of his personal heroes such as ALBERT COLLINS, GATEMOUTH BROWN, and CURTIS MAYFIELD.
Rick recently teamed up in 2005 with JOE NAYLOR from REVEREND GUITARS to co-produce the new REVEREND “RICK VITO SIGNATURE SLINGSHOT” electric guitar. The guitar features sandblasted images from Rick’s designs from the coat he wore on the cover of his “LUCKY DEVILS” CD, and is modified to his own specs with high-output P-90 style pickups, and many other great Reverend appointments.
You can also see this guitar on the cover of Rick’s 2006 CD release, “RATTLESNAKE SHAKE!” Besides the Peter Green penned title track, RS contains eight new Vito original songs plus a masterful slide guitar instrumental arrangement on SAM COOKE’S, “A CHANGE IS GONNA COME” that is not to be missed! This recording is currently available through Rick’s website. Another European solo CD on Hypertension Music followed in 2007, ""TALK THAT TALK,"" essentially a blues recording with a bit more of an accent on acoustic guitar and strong lyrics. Highlights include the title track, and the reflective ""TOWN THAT TIME FORGOT,"" and ""EASY DOES IT.""
In 2007 and 2008 Rick began forging new ground with old friend and bandmate MICK FLEETWOOD. The two have partnered in two ensembles, the ISLAND RUMOURS BAND, and the MICK FLEETWOOD BLUES BAND. IRB focuses primarily in Hawaii and is an exciting blend of music from Fleetwood Mac, Rick Vito, and contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music featuring also the talents of Raiatea Helm, Willie K, Lopaka Colon and others (see the IRB's exciting promo video HERE). The powerful MFBB celebrates the original music of Fleetwood Mac's blues years, blending classic tunes like ""Black Magic Woman"" and ""Shake Your Moneymaker"" with great new Vito originals. A new 2-disc ""live and studio"" CD from the band, ""BLUE AGAIN,"" ( featuring Lenny Castellanos on bass, and Mark Johnstone on keys) showcases the vitality and timelessness of this music as performed flawlessly by seasoned veterans on the genre.
2009 has seen the release of two incredible new CD's. First is ""LUCKY IN LOVE: THE BEST OF RICK VITO,"" a fantastic 19-song retrospective of Rick's seven solo CD releases. Also is ""BLUE AGAIN"" from the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, This incredible LIVE CD both recaptures the fire of the original blues music of the early Fleetwood Mac, and also forges ahead with brand new Vito compositions. MFBB recently returned from a sellout European tour, headlining Norway’s Nottoden Blues Festival and scoring legions of new fans everywhere.
JOHN MAYALL has said of Rick, “...a master of the instrument, at last getting the attention he deserves as bandleader/bluesman that is long overdue.”
BONNIE RAITT has been quoted saying: “Rick Vito's guitar playing just slays me! His style is as cool and sharp as a '59 Cadillac tailfin.”
KEB MO' perhaps says it best: “Soulful singer, brilliant guitar player, you got to check out Rick Vito, for sure!”
Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night benefits the Music For Life Alliance
Top Ranked videos
• Stu Hamm