Interview May 6, 2021 - Rick Tiger, songwriter, singer and storyteller hails from Louisianan, USA. Rick was raised by his mother who was a single parent until she remarried when he was sixteen years old. Until then, when he and his siblings were quite young, they would dedicate Thursday evenings to their mother by putting on shows and singing to her. To Rick, his mother was his hero.
His love and passion for music accelerated at the age of twelve years old when his mother gave him his first guitar along with some lessons. After learning his first chord structure, Rick found himself writing songs which he continues to write to this day.
When Rick learned about his maternal ties to Nova Scotia, Canada, he found out that between 1755 – 1764, the last of the Colonial wars resulted in the expulsion of the Maritime Acadians. Many of these Acadians migrated to Louisiana, USA where they became know as the Cajuns. One lady who migrated at that time, was from Rick's maternal grandmother's side. Over the years, he made several trips to this beautiful land and even had the opportunity to walk the Evangeline Trail where he found his family name on a Plaque. Along with his strong historical connection to Nova Scotia, Rick met a present day connection with a songwriter in Halifax, Lisa Richard and together they have co-written songs which includes, 'Uniforms' and 'Together' both of which Lisa has recorded.
After having moved to Nashville, TN in 1991, he had several hit songs within only a few years. Some of these songs consisted of "The Fine Line" by Montgomery Gentry, "An Old Friend Of Mine" by Joe Nichols, "Zero To Love" by The Del McCoury Band, "Jesus and Jones" by Sam Moore, "Just In Case" by Gene Watson and "If I Die Before You Wake"US by Dustin Evans along with many other artists like Canadian Aboriginal Juno Award winner,Crystal Shawanda.
The song, 'If I Die Before You Wake' is from a soldier's point of view and was written by Rick Tiger, Dustin Evans and Dave Brainard just after 911 hit. At the time it was released, it didn't receive much attention until Dustin Evans downloaded it onto his website for free downloads. They received a call from the USAA at the Pentagon telling them that they wanted to do something with this song and produced a video for it. Rick, Dustin and Dave were flown down to San Antonio where they walked into an auditorium filled with a hundred uniforms. After the video was finished, the three songwriters received a standing ovation. Rick found this ironic because they were the ones going bullet to bullet and we were just three guys with a guitar. This song has received millions of downloads and is now being played at so many funerals all over.
Rick Tiger penned the song 'An Old Friend Of Mine' with Brock Stanley and it was recorded by Joe Nichols. Joe Nichols was so certain that this would be his next single, that he even set up a website for addicts with a contacts for help with their addictions. Unfortunately, this didn't happen as it was decided by someone else that another song would be the next release. This decision was a disappointment to both Rick and Joe and a huge loss to all who could have been helped. The power of addiction is huge, sometimes saying goodbye to addiction is like saying good bye to an old friend...
Over the past seven years, Rick Tiger travelled extensively from Eastern Canada to California, USA doing house parties. These consist of an hour and a half of storytelling and songs with a lot of humour and tears. He loves the coziness everyone feels while he is performing at these house parties and the close interaction from his audiences. A good example of this is when he was a guest on the Storyteller's Hideaway, Bon Aqua, TN with host Mark Allan Cash. Just watching the two artists working this show, showed the passion and love Rick pours into his songs and even brought a tear to Mark Allan's eye.
A few weeks before performing a house party, Rick received a call to have it postponed because a nephew of the host had committed suicide. His name was Robert and he had just served 10 years in the military with the Special Forces. There are 22 Veterans who take their own lives everyday. Rick got together with Jeff Warnex and Floyd Callen to co-write a song titled '22'. What would these veterans say if they could reach out from the other side. Rick, Jeff and Floyd decided in this song to have Robert talking. What would he say to other Vets who are going through the same helplessness that he felt. Having Robert reaching back saying there is a light at the end of the tunnel and helping others off the ledge in hopes he can save at least one, then there would be 21.
One of Rick's influences in writing is Kris Kristofferson and he has often been compared to Kristofferson by the way he puts forth his story and his philosophy into his songwriting. He also received the ultimate compliment from a radio DJ in Canada, John O'Shea, who said “Going to one of Rick's shows is like taking a trip without ever leaving your seat”. This compliment means the world to Rick.
Rick Tiger is a firm believer that 'It all begins with a songwriter'. He says with the different genres in Tennessee alone, coming from places like Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, he would like to see the State of Tennessee stand up and defend the properties of the songwriters. Due to the technology and streaming in today's world, the songwriter can hardly make a living.
Rick Tiger's strong belief in Jesus Christ and the love for his family, radiates with a passion through his songs.
When asked what message he would like his fans to come away with he said “Live your life in such a way, that if someone spoke bad of you, no one would believe it!”
By Jacqueline Kellock