Sean Maciejewski

Artimus Pyle Band Rocks Rochester, NY

Music Scene Media
Jul 4, 2023
4 min read

There was an ominous haze of smoke from distant Canadian wildfires generating an unsafe air quality warning and a threat of pop-up thunderstorms looming in the June 30, 2023 forecast. Not a good combination for an outdoor show. Despite this, an impressive crowd showed up to see the last living member of the original lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle, and his band perform. The show was held at the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival celebrating its 20th year of operation. The festival is a nine-day event, held at 19 venues with a mix of 300 free and paid shows. It's one of the world’s leading jazz festivals. The Artimus Pyle Band’s show was held at a cool spot known as Parcel 5. It’s a large repurposed area of grass surrounded by buildings in the middle of the city. A large temporary stage was set up at one end, with food trucks and beer vendors surrounding the grassy plot; this show was free to attend. With a 9 PM start and the threat of storms seemingly now over, a large gathering of people of all ages were eager to see the 2006 Rock & Roll Hall of Inductee play classic Skynyrd hits.

The soon-to-be 75-year-old, Pyle, sat down at his drum set with a big smile on his face and gave a wave to the fans, and went into “Saturday Night Special” followed by “The Needle & Spoon” and “Call Me The Breeze”. Fans were on their feet singing along and dancing to the music. The band continued their 17-song set with “That Smell” and slowed it down with “Simple Man” ending with a mini drum solo showcasing that Pyle still has the moves on drums. Continuing with “Gimme Three Steps”, “What’s Your Name”, “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew” and “On The Hunt”, the band was on fire bringing that Southern Rock sound. Musically the band played great and had fun on the stage. Artimus Pyle played effortlessly and smoothly. Guitarists Scott Raines and Jerry Lyda had that classic sound but still managed to be original in parts of the songs. Bassist Dave Fowler seemed to have the most fun of all, moving all around the stage and engaging with the audience. While Brad Durden tickled the ivories and sang those timeless songs with just enough familiarity but still made them his own!

Up next was an original song “Survivor” written for Pyle’s movie Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, “All I Can Do Is Write About It” and “Tuesday’s Gone” Well over an hour into the set the band continued with “Searching”, “Swamp Music”, “Whiskey”, and then everybody was on their feet and singing along to “Sweet Home Alabama”. As the song came to an end, there were random chants of “Freebird” coming from the crowd in anticipation of the possible final song. After the band and crew were introduced, the audience was told that Dolly Parton chose the Artimus Pyle Band to cut “Freebird” with her on her new rock album. The fans cheer! There was a somber dedication for the last song. “This song is dedicated to Mr Gary Rossington! Gary was the last surviving founding member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, and Artimus is the last living member of the classic lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd”. “Freebird” starts and hands go in the air and it seems to me that everyone is singing along with the band. The last notes fade away from the fantastic ending to the song, it’s now 10:45 and the show is over. What a memorable night!

Artimus Pyle Band are: Artimus Pyle - drums, Brad Dueden - vocals/keys, Scott Raines - guitars/vocals, Jerry Lyda - guitars/vocals, Dave Fowler - bass


1. Saturday Night Special

2. The Needle and Spoon

3. Call Me The Breeze

4. That Smell

5. Simple Man

6. Gimme Three Steps

7. What’s your Name

8. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew

9. On The Hunt

10. Survivor

11. All I Can Do Is Write About It

12. Tuesday’s Gone

13. Searching

14. Swamp Music

15. Whiskey

16. Sweet Home Alabama

17. Freebird

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