Sundilla steps away from the AUUF for a rare alternate-venue show, and it will be one for the ages, as the legendary Rock Killough makes his triumphant return to Auburn. Long a fixture on the local– and national– music scene, the Alabama native took some time off from music for a while, but now he’s back and as great as ever. And his first Auburn-area performance will take place on Friday, May 29, at Blooming Colors, 1192 South Donahue St.
Rock was playing in a lounge in Bradenton, Florida where he was discovered in 1976 by the legendary songwriter, Hank Cochran. Hank took Rock to Nashville and helped get him immediately signed as a staff writer at Tree Publishing Co. If you ask Rock what he does, he replies that he is a songwriter/singer. He will also tell you that these two are much like apples and oranges. So, for clarity we will take them separately.
As a songwriter, Rock has songs on gold albums by The Oak Ridge Boys (2), Hank, Jr., Sammy Kershaw (3), and songs on platinum albums by Hank, Jr. and Sammy Kershaw. Other artists who have recorded his songs are: Johnny Rodriguez (top 10 single), Brenda Lee (top 20 single), Jerry Jeff Walker, Jeannie Seely, Mickey Newbury, Carole King, Waylon, Jeannie Pruett, Jerry Reed, Marty Raybon, 4-Runner, and Randy Travis who released Rock’s “Where Can I Surrender” as a single in January, 2000.
Rock doesn’t speak much of his musicianship, but he has played guitar, harmonica, or done background vocals with Hank, Jr., Merle Haggard, Mickey Newbury, Whitey Shafer, Jeannie Pruett, Hank Snow, Jack Green and Jeannie Seely, and numerous others. He also put a band together for his friend and mentor, Hank Cochran, and together, they opened shows for Willie Nelson’s summer and fall tour of 1980. During this time, Rock appeared on the precedent-setting first Songwriter’s Special on “Austin City Limits”. Actually, two episodes were made from this appearance which featured songwriters: Floyd Tillman, Sonny Throckmorton, Hank Cochran, Red Lane, Willie Nelson, and Whitey Shafer, all of whom are now in The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. As a result of these experiences he produced an album on Hank which was released through Elektra Records. He also produced the musical soundtrack for the movie “Ruckus” which was a forerunner of, and covered somewhat the same subject matter as the first Rambo movie. The soundtrack featured Rock’s friend, Janie Fricke singing Hank and Willie songs.
His first project as a singer was “Killough and Eckley”, a duet album with his friend, Dan Eckley, which was released in 1977 on the Epic Label. Next came a solo effort, “Highway 31” for Elektra. The great Don Gant produced both projects. In support of these, Rock and his group toured through the Southeast, opening for such cult favorites as: John Prine, Tracy Nelson, Delbert McClinton, David Bromberg, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and David Allen Coe to mention a few. In 1980, He formed The McKnight Brother’s Band which put together a live album, “Music From The Cottonbelt”. They stayed on the road nearly four years playing bars and honkytonks throughout the South.
In 1988, after a rest from the road, Rock and Billy Earl McClelland got together and started playing again. Two years later, Rock, Darrel Roberts, and Jimmy Grubbs formed The Dixie Flyers. When Jimmy moved to Nashville, Larry T. Wilson and John Joiner teamed up with Rock and Darrel, and The Dixie Flyers became a regular attraction at the world-famous Flora-Bama Lounge for years. The band has a Cd “Blazing Tracks”
“Still Loving You” (1992) and “Impressions” (1994) are Rock’s releases on Ark Records. His project, “The Lonesome Ranger” for Ark, was released in 2000.
Now, for the first time in 9 years, he has released a new solo Cd for Big Hit Songs, a record label owned by his friend Chris Baker. Chris produced and engineered the project titled “Rusty Plows”. The Cd features 16 songs, both old and new.
This alternate-venue Sundilla concert will take place at Blooming Colors (1192 S. Donahue) on Friday, May 29, at 7:30. Admission will be $12 at the door, but advance tickets are just $10 and are available at Blooming Colors, Spicer’s Music, Mama Mocha’s, and at www.sundillamusic.com. There will be a selection of food and coffee for sale by Blooming Colors, but you will be allowed to bring your favorite beverage, should you prefer something else.