MTB Radio Player

Rick Willis

Rick Willis

Rick Willis

Born, raised, and musically nurtured in good ol’ Spartanburg, South Carolina, Rick Willis was inspired by artists ranging from Otis Redding and Sam & Dave to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton. Rick’s been a part of the MTB family lineage for a long, long time: his childhood home was just a few doors down from the household that founding MTB drummer Paul Riddle grew up in. One of his earliest gigs was playing in the Roosters with his friend and future MTB bassist, Franklin Wilkie. After some time living in Charlotte, North Carolina in the middle of the 1980’s, he returned home and promptly hooked back up with Wilkie and Riddle in their band the Throbbers, a jazz-fusion outlet that the Tucker rhythm section enjoyed during their down time. He later played with the Stinson Brothers, and every so often sat in with his friends Tony Heatherly, “Pic” Pickens, Mark Burrel, and Toy Caldwell in the Toy Caldwell Band. When Toy passed on in 1992, Rick stood in for him, singing and playing those illustrious tunes with Toy’s band at a slate of tribute concerts. With his stellar reputation fully intact, Rick would play onstage with the Marshall Tucker Band now and again, though he didn’t tour back then to spend time with his family. Currently, when he’s not crisscrossing America with the Marshall Tucker Band, Rick leads Jackson Crossing, an uplifting, heated ensemble that carries on his alliance with SevenMoore bassist Tim Clement, and reunites him guitarist Rusty Barkley and keys man Jimmy “Grub” Thornburg from his Charlotte days, as well as drummer Scott Stinson from the Stinson Brothers.

  • Posted on   04/20/09 at 05:29:53 PM   by Ron  | 
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Posted in Past Members

Reader Comments (26)

Michelle 07/19/09 03:38:32 AM

Hi, Rick. Just finished watching your show at Funfest in Kingsport, TN. It was great watching you on stage. You and the rest of the guys did a great job. Wish Buddy could have been here, but Janelle and her husband, Rick, came with me. Tried to find you after the show but I guess you had already gone to the red bus. See you when you get back in Spartanburg. Take care.

Sam 08/10/09 02:39:38 AM

Hi Rick, this is Sam (from Ohio), i met you at the Rapid city airport. Rode up to see the show at the full throttle, but me and the wife got caught in the wind and rain on I-90,it was nasty, we got soaked, and she made me turn back. Will come and see you when youre back in Ohio, or back in sturgis next year. bee good...

shelia 08/15/09 12:16:29 PM

loved your concert in corbin,ky I really liked how you got the little girl on stage, being a child care provider I know my kids listen and sing to country and rock music everyday forget the new stuff out they would have loved that so you made that little girls night, oh what memories she will have the rest of her life. and thank you rick for signing my ticket I have had since Dec 10, 1980. you guys rock!!!

suzy 08/15/09 06:41:50 PM

Great to meet you back stage last night in Corbin... hope you had a safe trip home and then on to your next destination. Do you play in Spartanburg often? I sure would make the trip down the mountain from Asheville to see you...again so nice to meet you and thank you and the band for all the great music you give to us..PEACE

Bud 08/21/09 09:00:16 PM

Great WEBSITE...Arcadia friendly.....Glad to see Rick in the Lineup...with that big ole Red Gibson...sounds like "the old cowboy", has returned on "Blue Ridge Mountain Sky".
Hope to see you in Georgia.....Bud

brian 10/12/09 02:03:13 AM

I was flipping burgers at Arthur's in Spartanburg in the late 70s and early 80s. Loved hearing you guys THROB.

Frank 01/25/10 04:54:46 PM

I can't tell you how impressed I was with the job you did on Midnight Promises in NJ on the 4th of July. Hope you're still doing the song when you come to Greely next month!

Bonny 01/28/10 12:33:16 PM

You guys were great in foxboro, Ma!!!! I am such a fan!!! Can't wait to see you in Salisbury tonight!!! Woo hoo!

Robert 06/29/10 12:10:01 AM

Hi Rick,
saw you with MTB in San Dimas, CA. yesterday 6/27/10. Thanks for signing my ticket and talking with me after the show. I was only one of the two people there with a MTB t-shirt on. Sorry you were the opening band, you should have been the headliner. Hope to see you again tomorrow in Del Mar.

Jerry 06/30/10 05:24:21 PM

Thankyou! Great Show last night.
Have a great summer, hope to see you all soon again.

Fred 07/01/10 01:30:50 AM

Hi Rick,

I shook hands with you and introduced myself to you in Del Mar (at the fair) on Tuesday evening 6/29 before your show. Thank you! I was most impressed by your most friendly nature. Thank you.

Great show!! all be it too short.

Mark 07/06/10 07:56:02 PM

Hi Rick,

Glad to see you are doing well! Sure as hell beats programming CMM machines doesn't it! I'm still hanging in there and will have 20 years in October. Best thing you ever done was pursuing your dreams! Take care buddy!

Mark R Jones

reid 10/03/10 08:02:49 PM

hey rick it was great talking with you at va beach yall were awesome we talked about hooking up in macon ga i gave you my number and email hope to hear from you soon will probably see yall in nashville i have the paint samples for you give me a call thanks man grew up listening to yall thanks again

Steven 11/11/10 06:58:22 PM

Is this really THE Rick Willis? Glad to track you down and see that you are doing well with MTB. And importantly, I hope you are taking good care of all of my Jimi Hendrix albums:-)

Please call me sometime soon: 630-548-2248. Michele and I (and little Nicolas, 8 years old) live in Chicago and are going to try to see you guys in Metropolis on 11/27.

Steve Rosso

Steven 01/28/11 12:49:29 AM


We're coming to see you in Watseka on Feb 12. Nic's 1st concert and of course Michele is a MTB fan.

See you then!

Steven Rosso

Chuck 02/03/11 04:28:57 PM


Steve Rosso called me to let me know you were with MTB, that's so great! All of MSI-Viking will be listening to MTB. Hope my schedule permits me to come and catch you in concert. Take care!


Steven 02/13/11 11:21:52 PM

Great performance last night, Rick! I knew your guitar playing would not disappoint, but I forgot how amazingly good your vocals were. Midnight Promises was our favorite, really memorable.

We are hoping to see you guys again in Lincolnshire, IL on March 26 at Viper Alley. I've heard Viper Alley is a great venue.


Ken 02/14/11 06:06:50 PM


I want to Thank You for a fantastic show Saturday night in Watseka. After seeing 16 prior MTB shows starting in 1975 in Lincoln Nebraska, while attending Creighton University in Omaha, this was a special show.
I've been waiting for an all ages show somewhere near Chicago to take my son Tim (12 Yrs) We drove down from Downers Grove, IL. and you did not dissappoint!! Starting with a Great Show, to warm greetings, humble autograph signing, photos, and conversation afterward. You are an awesome guitarist, and "Midnight Promises" was moving to say the least. When I heard you sing, I knew Can't You See" was yours Saturday night. Tim, and I, will never forget it!!

God Bless You Always!!!

Ken Berberich
4812 Roslyn Rd.
Downers Grove, IL. 60515

Rick 02/14/11 07:23:04 PM

Hey Rick wanted to shout out to you on the show in Watseka sat night. It was my 50th birthday and Ive seen MTB before but when you started singing Cant You See the hair stood up on the back of my neck! I dont know if you were trying to sound like Toy to a degree or if thats just you but if you closed your eyes you would swear Toy was on stage! I got to meet the band that night and you signed my poster happy birthday and were generous enough for photos also. You have anew fan pal and I will be following your band now. Thanks again.

Robert 02/14/11 07:46:23 PM


Awesome show in Watseka! Your rendition of “Midnight Promises” made my jaw hit the floor. I think you should also take over “Can’t You See”, that once verse was not enough. Thanks for putting on a great show!

Steven 05/04/11 01:36:38 AM


It was great to see you again at Viper Alley. I appreciate you making some time for us afterwards. I just learned that you are heading to Iraq and Kuwait to play for our troops, safe travels, I'm sure you will be well received.

Hope you come back to the Midwest soon. I'll stay in touch...


Jean 06/23/11 11:58:13 PM

Can't believe this.....AWESOME. Still get on your knees and play like a "little person"?
Cathy would probably still scream and run. You always did some really good imitations, you know the one I mean. Take care, so happy that you realized your dream. Best regards.

Linda 08/02/11 03:46:40 AM


Thank you so much for being so sweet tonight you made my birthday, you are amazing and the kiss was the best. You have no idea how you made my birthday really the best I had in a long time. It was great meeting you and the concert was AWESOME........I was the lady on the crutches with the long leg brace. Can't wait until you come back here to play again.

Steven 02/05/12 09:10:09 PM

Hello Rick - I'm coming to see you again at the end of March at Viper Alley. See you then!!!

Steve Rosso

Nancy 10/19/12 10:30:54 PM

Hi Rick -- Looking forward to seeing the Band at the Isle of Capri tomorrow evening (Oct 20)! May not remember me, but had a nice chat with you in Detroit a few months ago while waiting for a flight to the Quad Cities. Believe you all were headed to Dubuque, Iowa for that gig. Hopefully will get a chance to say hello!

Nancy B.

Steven 02/18/13 05:52:22 PM

Hello Rick! I think the Rosso's want to cook MTB some famous italian food on Saturday, March 9 before your gig at the Orleans Hotel & Casino. I may also fly in to Vegas to attend the event. I'll give you a call to catch up. Hope you and the band are doing great. I haven't been following your calendar and was bummed to see you played in Bollingbrook, less than 10 minutes from where I live. Next time! Steve Rosso

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