If you’ve lived in northern Michigan long enough or have been a frequent visitor, then you may have attended a performance of the northern Michigan ensemble Song of the Lakes.
In the early 1980s, Ingemar and Lisa Johansson, Mike Sullivan and Rick Jones began playing and performing sea shanties and traditional Irish melodies. Their charisma and energy attracted audiences around the world, and soon they were known as the unofficial Ambassadors to the Great Lakes.
In 2007, Song of the Lakes marked their 25th anniversary with a performance at Corson Auditorium.
Many audience members came to see one band member in particular, percussionist Rick Jones.
Rick’s bodhran kept the steadfast rhythm of the band for over 35 years.
This week on Classical IPR in Concert, we pay tribute to Jones and celebrate the music of Song of the Lakes.
Listen Friday at 8 p.m. or Sunday at noon .
Friend and Song of the Lakes member Lisa Johanson recalls, “He was always the one that people would be drawn to. At the end of the show, there would be the line to talk to Rick. He had that kind of magnetism and charisma.”
Rick's experience in the Vietnam War resulted in living a life that was true to himself. His legendary style of storytelling brought listeners directly into the story.
In the late 1970s, he discovered northern Michigan while on his way out west. He liked it so much he decided to stay. Soon thereafter he met his wife Carol, and they made a life together.
An eclectic skills artist, his carvings and sculptures were displayed and sold in galleries along the Lake Michigan coastline.
On May 16, 2020 at the age of 69, Rick passed away in his beloved homeland of Benzie County.
Crispin Campbell, retired Interlochen Arts Academy cello instructor, friend and collaborator, remarked, “He is maybe one of the most naturally talented people I have ever known and not just with music. He had a unique kind of talent with hearing and seeing. He was a treasure.”
Rick Jones Tribute Playlist
Conch and Flute Air/Crowley’s Reel, Lisa Johannson and Rick Jones
Rick Jones and Crispin Campbell, Lizard Blues, The Lizard Lickers,
Gary Worden, Long Blue Shoreline, The Sleeping Bear Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, The Lizard Lickers
Reely Cleaning Up, The Lizard Lickers
Traditional Sea Shantey, Haul Away Joe, Song of the Lakes
Steve Dietz/Adaptation by Rick Jones, Three Sisters, Rick Jones
Drafthorse Boogie, The Lizard Lickers
Excerpts from the 2007 Song of the Lakes 25th Anniversary Concert
All works composed and arranged by Song of the Lakes, Lisa Johansson, Ingemar Johansson, Mike Sullivan and Rick Jones.
Rising of the Moon
Pearl of America
Fire in the Western Sky
Old Testament Sky
Man in the Mirror
Stand up for Freedom
Conclusion: Conch and Flute Air/Crowley’s Reel