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Rick Strickland

(Vocals, Guitar, Songwriter, Producer)



Inspired by seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, Rick wrote his first song at the age of 13.  That moment  sparked a passion that would set him on a journey that has spanned over 45 years in the music business.  Rick has written over 3,000 songs so far that draw from a variety and wide range of musical styles, genres, and influences.  Flying under the radar for many years with limited success in college radio, it was the Carolina Beach Music community that widely embraced Rick's music and has brought him his highest acclaim so far in his career.  Now Rick is well known for penning some of beach music's most beloved hits including  Something Smooth, So Do I, One Step Closer, Nice While It Lasted, and My Heart Belongs To You, and he  is also considered one of the best voices in the Southeast.  His soaring vocals, smooth harmonies and high energy performances have delighted music fans young and old for decades. Now event goers can enjoy Rick's award winning, fan pleasing music and energy LIVE along with the outstanding musical talents of The Rick Strickland Band.


Six original songs by Rick Strickland are now in the 94.9 Surf Hall of Fame including: Something Smooth, I Miss You, One Step Closer, Party 'Til The Break of Dawn, Nice While It Lasted and So Do I. Other songs which have received heavy airplay include:Bubba White's, Love the Night Away, Winner, The Devil Made Me Do It, Weve Got It Made, My Heart Belongs to You, and Counting the Days. His songs have charted in the top ten in Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and California.

Rick is a multi-awarding winning singer, songwriter and record producer with 15 #1 songs to his credit.  A gifted musician, he plays 5 instruments and WOWs crowds everywhere with his stunning guitar prowess.  He has released 12 studio albums.  In 2011, Rick's song Something Smooth became part of the Guinness Book of World Records legacy when the Society of Stranders (SOS) coordinated an event to record the most Shag Dancers dancing to a choreographed routine at the same time. Over 500 shaggers participated.  Something Smooth was the song they chose for the dance.

 

During his career, Rick has performed with some of music's giants.  He was musical director, bassist  and background vocalist for 3 national tours with  Billy Joe Royal.  He has performed with Ray Stevens, Joe South, and Tommy Roe. He has opened for BB King in Central Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fifth Dimension, The Romantics, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynnette, Martina McBride, Tommy James & The Shondells, Jan & Dean, The Turtles, John Sebastian, and Paul Revere and The Raiders.  Rick has also performed with The Band of Oz, and Shag Time.  In post Band of Oz days, Rick retreated to the studio to produce and do vocal arrangements for many artists, while at the same time continued performing as a solo artist.  But in 2009, this award winning artist realized a lifelong dream by forming his first full band, appropriately called The Rick Strickland Band.  RSB continues to perform throughout the southeast electrifying audiences everywhere they go with their high energy live performances, pristine harmonies and musical expertise.




 

Lesa Hudson

(Vocals, Keyboard, Songwriter)


Lesa Hudson, is not exaggerating when she says she’s wired for music.  Her earliest memories (even before she was born) involve music.  Raised in a very musical family, Lesa’s Mother was the church pianist for many years.  There’s no doubt Lesa’s little head rested on that old church piano every Sunday until the day she was born.  Sounds of Amazing Grace and many other beloved hymns no doubt danced around her tiny mind and would inspire & inform a lifetime passion for music.  By age 6, Lesa was enrolled in piano lessons and by early teens she was accompanying the choir at church.  She spent most of her early adulthood using her musical gifts in the church and in local theater.  It wasn’t until what most folks call “later in life” that she began a professional music career.  But it didn’t take Lesa much time at all to rise to the top of the field, release 6 CD projects and 1 DVD project, write several #1 songs and become the multi-award winning artist, singer & songwriter that she is today.

 

True to her Christian upbringing, Lesa’s professional career began in the church in the mid-90s when she and 2 other ladies (Debbie Anderson & Heather Anderson Corbett) formed the Contemporary Christian Trio, N’Accord.  A hugely popular trio in the area, N’Accord’s distinctive and powerful harmonies brought many opportunities to perform throughout the Southeast.  Their original acapella version of Solid Rock won awards and gained attention from the Christian music industry including the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY.   Lesa also fronted her own band (The Lesa Hudson Band) for several years performing & featuring her original music.  

 

After the release of her first solo CD in 2006, singer/songwriter Lesa Hudson quickly gained popularity in Inspirational Country Music circles.  Three of her original songs peaked in the Top 10 on the nationally acclaimed PowerSource Christian Country Top 100 radio chart.  Her song “Step Out In Faith” reached #2 on the chart.  She is a 3-time finalist for ICMA Female Vocalist of the Year, and 2-time finalist for ICMA New Artist of the Year.   Lesa performed at some of Nashville’s most legendary venues such as the Acuff Theater, BB Kings (during CMA FanFest), Gibson Guitar Café and Trinity Broadcast Network. 

 

Also a sought after National Anthem singer, Lesa’s most notable anthem performances include the 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (televised on Fox-TV) and in 2010 for The Biggest Loser 5K Race in Myrtle Beach, SC.  She also performs the anthem on occasion at local baseball games and for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

 

In 2011, Lesa released her follow up CD "Sweet Wonderful You.”  The first single release from the CD was "When You Look At Me" a duet with Rick Strickland.  An out of the box hit, "When You Look At Me" was #1 for 14 weeks on The Surf 94.9 Top 20 Weekly Countdown, and was later name the #1 Song of the Year for 2011 on The Surf 94.9.  Lesa also picked up 2 Carolina Beach Music Awards in 2011 including Smoothie of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.  She was nominated in 7 categories that year – a record accomplishment that no other female artist in the beach music market has yet to achieve.   Lesa has subsequently released several singles on various compilation CDs, with 3 more songs hitting the #1 spot on Beach Music radio - I’m Hungover, Amazingly Amazing, & the popular line dance song Get Your Feet On The Floor.  Lesa’s song Amazingly Amazing reached the #1 spot on the Smokin 45 Beach Music Countdown for the month of January 2014 – another first for any Carolina-based female artist.

 

Lesa’s energy and passion for music especially shines when she is performing live on stage.  And with Lesa’s winning personality, infectious enthusiasm and engaging smile, this seasoned performer knows how to connect with audiences to deliver an inspiring and memorable performance.  She is proud to perform full-time with The Rick Strickland Band as vocalist, keyboardist and songwriter.  Rick & Lesa together as a songwriting, music producing team are a dynamic combo of fire and ice that is undeniable and unapproached in the industry.  "There's a certain feeling that's hard to describe when someone tells you that your song encouraged them or inspired them in one way or another.  It's the greatest compliment in the world.  For me, that's what creating music is all about - to encourage and inspire others," says Lesa.  Lesa's music has received very positive reviews throughout her career, and continues to be heard on radio stations and internet programs worldwide.  Lesa's music is not pigeon-holed.  She's versatile and capable of writing and performing in many different styles from country, to blues, to R&B Soul to rock n roll to praise & worship to edgy pop - yet in each song strong lyrics convey timeless meaning and bring issues we all face to the forefront.  All of which come complete with Lesa's trademark megawatt smile!


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Art Benton

(Keyboards, Vocals)


The forever versatile Art Benton began playing accordion at age 15 in restaurants & private parties. His first band - The Blue Notes  was a James Brown tribute band.  He then performed R&B with The Pagans working for Ted Hall out of Charlotte.  Art achieved nationwide recognition with the band Pallbearers who had a contract with Mercury Records in 1967 and had 2 nationwide releases Getting Fired Up & Music With Soul.  These songs were played on The Dick Clark TV Show and are still getting airplay in England today.  Art later went on to perform with The Platters, Drifters, Sam The Sham and Billy Joe Royalto name a few.  Art has been Rick's main go to guy for all things music since 2006, and showcases his stellar keyboard talents on some of Rick's biggest hits.

 



 

Debbie Anderson

(Bass Guitar, Vocals)

Debbie

At the ripe age of 10, Debbie Anderson entered a talent competition at school.  She played drums and sang the song I Got The Music In Me.  She brought down the house that day and took home the winning trophy too!   Debbie has a natural musical talent that enables her to play multiple instruments and is versatile in many music genres.  She taught herself how to play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, and her natural rhythm instincts make her a fantastic bass player.  Debbie is one of a very few female bass players in the industry.  She is also a versatile vocalist having performed over 20 years and currently also sings with her parents in The Anderson Trio (southern gospel). She is a member of her Praise Team at church. Debbie is also a founding member of Contemporary Christian trio NAccord, whose distinctive and powerful harmonies brought many opportunities to perform throughout the Southeast.  NAccord released 3 CD projects.


 


 


Tony Torre

(Drummer) 


At the age of 5, Tony Torre was taught to play the drums by his father Tony Torre Sr., well-known New York City big band drummer/bandleader who performed with such greats as Glenn & Herb Miller, Bunny Berigan, and Jimmy Dorsey. Tony Jr. began his professional drumming career at the age of 17, and has performed with Bill Pinkney and the Drifters, The Platters, Mary Wells. He worked as Bandleader/drummer for Percy Sledge, G.C. Cameron (The Spinners & The Temptations), Blues artists Drink Small & Nappy Brown. Tony has been a successful session drummer for many recording artists and producers over the years. In 1988 he played on many Billboard charted songs produced by well-known Nashville producer/promoter Ray Ruff.  After his father passed away in 1992, Tony took over the drummer/bandleader position for his father’s Tony Torre Orchestra and The Dixieland Cat Scratchers. Tony is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and has had many of his originals on the Beach boogie and blues music charts. Tony is sponsored by Vic Firth drumsticks and Roc & Soc drum stools.