2018 - Individual Artist
Gary Richards listened excitedly to the Beatles first album. Thanks to his older sister Cindy Richards Hernandez, he was introduced to the music of The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jan & Dan, The Beach Boys, and many others. When Gary watched his sister’s boyfriend play “Pipeline” on a 1961 Gibson Les Paul/SG, he was amazed! After repeatedly expressing his desire, Gary’s parents bought him his first guitar, and the adventure began.
Learning by ear and watching others, Gary began performing at campouts. In 1971 he started playing with other musicians. In 1985, while playing gigs with music from the 50’s through the 70’s, Mississippi River Jam band was created. They played many four-hour shows for gas and sandwich money. Gary joined The Freeze Band in 1987 and moved into an arena of seasoned musicians. In 1991 he started The South Prairie Band which people referred to as a rodeo rock, southern fried rock, and country rock. The South Prairie Band played all around IA, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, and MO and became the official band of the tri-state rodeo. This success propelled them to record their first album “You Are Here” which sold 1,000 copies. Working with 28 radio stations and two television networks, The South Prairie Band created their concert venue promoted live on air shows and live remotes. Their genre of rock allowed them to open for E.L.O. where Gary met Jeff Lynne. They were also fortunate to open for Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, and Martina McBride, to name a few.
As a soloist, Gary performed in TN, KY, AZ, CO, NE, and OR. In 2002, he settled down to play gospel music with a praise band, All Things New. After that, he played in Christian Trio, The Brotherhood, and Harrison Lane. Gary was asked to play lead guitar with Andy Avery as a part of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Spectacular weekend in 2015. It was then that Andy Avery and The Decades was born. Since then Gary has continued to play with Andy and The Decades and Harrison Lane.
Over the past three years, Gary has been recording a selection of original compositions, continues to work with radio and TV, and has even developed his radio show. Gary continues to play and teach those wishing to learn guitar. His wife has given him inspiration, direction, and support for 43 years. Glenda and granddaughter Nissa have given him the strength to endure and love and encouragement to continue to play. Music is a big part of Gary’s life. It provides his life love, balance, and harmony.