Artimus Pyle celebrates Ronnie Van Zant on new album, ‘Anthems – Honoring the Music Of Lynyrd Skynyrd’

Former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle is out with a new album, Anthems – Honoring The Music Of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he tells ABC Audio there was a clear reason why he wanted to make it. 

Ronnie Van Zant and his band deserve it,” he says, referring to Skynyrd’s former frontman, who died in the 1977 plane crash that also killed guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines, and injured Pyle and the rest of the band.

The album features guest stars including Dolly PartonSammy Hagar and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes putting their spin on Skynyrd classics, but Artimus notes they also wanted to pay tribute to Ronnie.

“You can hear it in their performances that they’re putting their hearts into these performances because they’re singing for Ronnie,” he says.

Artimus says Dolly was the first to sign on for the album and that after hearing her take on the classic “Freebird,” he “cried like a baby.” The song was also an emotional one for Artimus because he was able to get his Skynyrd bandmate Gary Rossington to play on it.

“This album meant so much to me because it was a vehicle that brought Gary and I back together,” he says of Rossington, who passed away in March, leaving Pyle as the final living member of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

And while some people may think he is trying to profit off the Skynyrd legacy, Pyle insists that’s not the case.  

“We didn’t do it to make a bunch of money,” he says. “The people that will benefit from these songs are the children and grandchildren of my friends that are up in rock and roll heaven.” 

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