Former singer with Lynyrd Skynyrd Debbie Rider performs Linda Ronstadt hits in Jacksonville

Debbie Rider

By Anna Marie Bolet, Rock At Night Jacksonville

Review: Debbie Rider – ‘Debbie As Linda” show-Mudville Grille, Jacksonville, Florida–July 15, 2021

Debbie Rider

When the former roadie for Lynyrd Skynyrd reaches out to you on social media with a request, your world kinda goes into slow motion and you believe you’ve developed super powers for a hot minute. I make it no secret that I am a fan of Southern Rock and while I was in the 1st grade when “Sweet Home Alabama” hit the airwaves, my older brother made that album compulsory listening in the household. It was in the collection of CD’s I brought with me that year I moved to Spain and when it was discovered in my Walkman by a group of my students, it won me huge street cred.

The request was to reach out to the incredibly talented Debbie Rider. As a singer- song writer and veteran of the music world, Debbie has won awards in music, been a character voice actress, featured in jingles and was a backup singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1989 – 1992.

Debbie has been working with some of the finest musicians here in the First Coast to bring to audiences a recreation of Linda Ronstadt’s career bending, LIVE for radio broadcast recorded in 1974 at My Father’s Place in Roselyn, New York. On July 15, 2021 she performed every song in the same order as the broadcast, complete with Linda’s commentary and banter with the audience. What else was significant about that date? Well, it was Linda Ronstadt’s birthday!

Debbie Rider

Full of fans anticipating this glorious production from the year before, Debbie came on stage dressed as the 1974 Linda belting out familiar songs from the album “Heart Like a Wheel”. With favorites such as “You’re No Good”, “When Will I be Loved” and “You Can Close Your Eyes”, she sang with such emotion and care for the original recording and her audience appreciated it. Her second set was another treat. Debbie shed the Linda of ’74 and brought us a few years ahead in time to give us “Blue Bayou”, “Just One Look” complete with backup singers, and everyone’s favorite “That’ll Be the Day”.

Getting to cover this show was a huge treat! The music we listen to today is inspired by the powerful women in the industry who paved the way. It’s hard to believe that the incredible Linda Ronstadt just celebrated her 75th birthday and we thank Debbie Rider for the production of such a beautiful homage.

While I’m pecking away at my laptop, listening to Linda Ronstadt through my earbuds for inspiration, I turn a side eye to the beautiful new desktop I purchased last week that’s still in it’s package. On a deadline, I ignore a text from my best friend since childhood telling me I need to be a big girl and start editing my work on that thing. And then, like divine intervention, these lyrics ring through my ears… “Why don’t you come to your senses? Come down from your fences, open the gate.”

If you missed the show, you can catch Debbie Rider again in upcoming shows!

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Anna Marie Bolet