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Rick Roberts
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Year Released

I originally came across the song “Lights” on the 1978 album “The Dirt Band” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

I really liked the song as soon as I heard it, mostly for it’s arrangements, and although I don’t recall, I presume I looked up the songwriter, Rick Roberts, at some point, but didn’t know who he was at the time, or cared enough to find out.

Little did I know, I would become a huge fan of his four years later. And now, having immersed myself in Rick’s repertoire, most notably his work with Firefall and his solo work, I can appreciate the songwriting for what it really is. In his book, “Song Stories and Other Left Handed Recollections,” he describes his intent when writing the song:

“I guess I kind of halfway stole this song. Not with lyric, but the general feel. I’ve always loved The Band and although my writing is far from any of those guys’ style, I had nursed a secret desire to write a Band like song. …I resorted to my old favourite backdrop. Water songs. Then I thought to myself, ‘how would Rick Danko write it?’ Naturally, my mind focused on a sailor with all the rough edges.”