Rick Ruskin has earned the right to be called a “Fingerstyle Guitar Virtuoso.” His skills are legendary but the label only tells part of the story. He is also a gifted singer, arranger, and composer whose work has been featured in film and on television around the world. Rick has honed his craft so that it’s the music audiences remember and not just flashy technique.
Rick started playing guitar in 1962 and in just one year became a respected professional musician in his native Detroit, Michigan. In 1964, while still in Jr. High School, he was chosen to open the bill for the Reverend Gary Davis at Detroit's legendary Retort Coffee House. This engagement resulted in a fast and permanent friendship with the master blues, ragtime, and gospel guitarist. Rev. Davis was so taken by the young Ruskin's skill and eagerness, that he invited Rick to spend that summer with him at his Long Island home. By the end of the summer, Davis stopped teaching Rick new material and told him, "It's time you started paying attention to your own music." Ruskin has been doing that ever since.
He has also performed on a number of soundtracks for television and films, as well as worked with countless artists along the way, such as Jackie DeShannon, James Lee Stanley, Lewis Ross, Penny Nichols and Olivia Newton-John.
Rick makes his home in Seattle, Washington where he owns and operates Lion Dog Music, a 32 track recording facility from which he records and produces projects including his own.
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A Texas Shuffle ala "Lay Down Sally" but with some strategic stops. Chords are basic so the picking hand finger and the thumb choices, make all the
difference. This isn't your daddy's alternating bass line.
Mixes a syncopated moving bass with a slightly-embellished simple chord progression to yield what sounds like a complete and jaunty track.
Uses the generic blues form to demonstrate some different voicings that can be utilized to spice things up. Add to that some horn-like stabs and percussive
electric guitar "chinks" and you have something that is not only fun to play but fun for others to play along with.
This is a modernization of the back-up to that quintessential minor-keyed American folk tune. Instead of following tradition, it's infused with R&B, gospel, & soul to create a sexy tension between it and the original melody. (Hint: Start the melody on beat 4 of Bar 8.)
Very Motown like but with just a hint of the Doobie Bros. Harmonies alternate between emulating horns and human voices. Some stinging lead guitar lines
mixed in for good measure.
A sparse "A" section with a bit of single string work is followed by a rock groove. Some interesting non-standard chord progression punts over to a
boogie-woogie motif that takes it all back to the top. Lots of room for musical experimentation for the primary player as well as whoever is jamming
A 6-string Stax/Volt inspired riff, starting off with "call & response" phrases between the upper and lower sections of the guitar. It then moves
to the entire "band" blowing at once before starting all over again.
A 12/8 shuffle encompassing polytonality and open and closed voice chord movement to keep the fret work interesting and horn section like. There's
also a lot of "on the back-beat" thumb work both to keep things moving along and enhance picking technique.