Actor; Filmmaker; Musician; Singer; Songwriter
Born in Louisiana and raised in West Virginia, “play hard or go home,” was a mantra embraced by recording artist, Rick Huckaby, from an early age. From his love for the story-telling characteristic of country music and his passion for the dynamic groove of southern rock, Huckaby’s style developed as naturally and unfettered as the undergrowth of a bayou swamp and as deeply embedded as an Appalachian coal mine.
Being the namesake son of the legendary former NCAA basketball coach, Richard David “Rick” Huckabay, who led Marshall University to four titles in the Southern Conference from 1983-89, you would think Rick Huckaby (note: the change in spelling to distinguish himself from his father and to alleviate any confusion on the pronunciation) would have learned to play by the rules. Perhaps he doesn’t realize it is avant-garde to mix cerebral lyrics with rebel rousing rhythms or that debut artists generally play it safe and rarely think outside of the box. It is more likely that Huckaby understands he has more to offer than the standard “cookie cutter” artist and that maintaining the status quo seldom makes history.
After years of entertaining enthusiastic students in the college clubs of West Virginia, Huckaby moved to Nashville in 1996. An amazing and talented free-spirit hidden behind piercing blue eyes and a great haircut, he made an almost immediate impact in the business (by industry standards), landing a gig playing acoustic guitar and providing vocal harmony for Country Star, Tracy Lawrence, just two years later. Over the next five years, he honed his songwriting skills and co-wrote several hit-songs for Tracy’s albums, including "Steps," "Breaking from the Inside Out," and the current title track to Tracy’s newest album, "For the Love." He is also the co-writer on the Trace Adkins’ hit, “Muddy Water.”
In 2002, Huck was signed to his own deal with a major record contract on Warner Brothers Nashville. But due to the nature of the business, his album was never released.
In August 2005, Huck’s father was diagnosed with both kidney and lung cancer, having a kidney removed and continuing his coaching career at Simsboro High School in northern Louisiana until he became too weak to attend games. From his hospital bed, he encouraged his son, as any great coach or any father would, to continue to make the most of his talent, stating that he “dreamed of hearing ‘Ain’t Enough Blacktop,’ [his father’s favorite song from the album] on the radio someday.”
In March 2006, Huck’s dad sadly lost his battle with cancer. While continuing to tour with acts such as Tanya Tucker and Exile, Huck cut ties with Warner Brothers and began an independent label in his father’s honor, HeadCoach Records, co-producing his debut album, Call Me Huck, with Lonnie Wilson. More determined than ever, Huck fought with the tenacity of one of his father’s famous sideline rants to recapture control of ‘Blacktop’ so he could make that last dream a reality.
Stripped down and completely original, Huckaby’s first release, "I Got You Covered," broke Top-50 on the Billboard Music Charts and hit #43 on Music Row’s Country Breakout Chart without the benefit of big-record politics. His single, the song he fought so hard to retain, “Ain’t Enough Blacktop,” was the country winner of the 2008 Billboard World Song Contest and is currently making its own ride up the charts. “There’s a star written all over Rick Huckaby,” enthusiastically states Mark Furnas, Director of the Billboard World Song Contest. RJ Curtis of R&R magazine said of Rick, “everyone at R&R was blown away by what we saw last week. There’s a tendency for PDs to pay attention only to major-label releases that cross the desk. Rick Huckaby is an example of why those responsible for choosing the music should try and sample everything.”
Huckaby’s music has been described as “a flawless bridge between the soulful Memphis R&B and country music.” He has recently been featured on CMT’s Insider and Pure. Additionally, he was featured for two consecutive weeks within the pages of Country Weekly and was a core performer at the CMA MusicFest Greased Lightning stage.
With an ever-growing fan base of his own, Huck is giving new meaning to the moniker once used to describe the record number of fans his father rallied at Marshall—a legion of fans called “Huck’s Herd.”