Talented, passionate, engaged in our communities, meet the employees of Fry.
Meet Fry sales assistant Rick Briggs. Monday to Friday he’s the guy who makes sure that your samples arrive overnight or that the catering contains Vegan options, but when the weekend rolls around he and his banjo go on the road with Bill Yates & the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band (www.countrygentlementributeband.com).
Take a listen to some of Rick's bluegrass singin' and pickin':
Rick gets his passion for music from his father, a singer whose radio show was broadcast across much of the east coast in the 1950’s. The Briggs family record collection contained everything from Glenn Miller to Roy Acuff, providing young Rick with a well-rounded musical education. As a child he would look forward to even the tiniest bit of time home alone so that he could play with all of the off-limits musical instruments in the house.
Like many young musicians, Rick began performing in public as a saxophonist with his elementary school band; but it was when he was 13 that he first heard Flatt and Scruggs on their Live at Carnegie Hall album and was called to the banjo. From then on he devoted his efforts to learning new songs by ear and developing his improvisational skills, finally making it as a professional musician in the mid 1980s.
In 1998, faced with an existential crisis and burnout from all the easy money on the scene (maybe you’ve heard the adage, the way to get a million dollars in bluegrass music is to start out with two million), Rick saw a classified ad for a bindery position at Fry. The rest, as they say, is history. In his 14 years with Fry, Rick has moved up and around from scanning to pre-press and beyond, the sharp mind of an improviser making him a quick study and invaluable asset wherever he goes.
The same can be said for his life with the band. While performing on banjo and harmony vocals is his favorite, Rick also manages their website and books dates for the Country Gentlemen. “It’s rewarding to be in a really good band, with great guys that get along and make the kind of music that [we] love while having fun at the same time.” When six guys still get along after 4 days in a conversion van from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to Ohio to Michigan and back, the credit can only go to the power of their music.