Uncle Lightnin' was formed in 1995 and named for Richard's great-uncle Elijah, aka “Lightnin'” - a well known figure of the Nashville nightlife scene during the late 1940's, 50's, and early 60's. The original Uncle Lightnin' was a true "character" in the Southern sense of the word: one who lived by his own rules and marched to the sound of his own drummer. The band named in his honor makes it their mission to create music that is equally unique in character and filled with the same adventurous spirit.
Although they bill themselves as "Specialists in American Musics" they also incorporate musical influences from the British Invasion, punk, and folk music from around the world. Each member brings a unique background and diverse set of influences; each member also writes and contributes to the musical arrangements. They most admire those musicians who observe no limitations regarding what they play - good music is a genre unto itself. Uncle Lightnin' combines electric and acoustic instruments, energy, and intelligent lyrics in the belief that it is entirely possible to be stimulated intellectually and feel the desire to dance at the same time.
Richard, Millard, Doug, and Dan began the band 17 years ago after having played together previously in various combinations. Andrew joined 12 years ago as the band's mandolin player before taking over the bass duties; Milton was featured as a guest on the band's first release, Sunday Breakfast, and has recently joined full-time.
Uncle Lightnin' has released two CD's prior to Searching for Ted 'the Cowboy' Eisenhower; both releases - Sunday Breakfast (1998) and Urban Legend (2003) - received critical praise and extensive play on public radio stations across the United States and Europe. In the meantime, their time on the road helped establish a reputation among their fans and peers as a "band's band."
Their new release Searching for Ted 'the Cowboy' Eisenhower includes 16 tracks that highlight the bands' musical and literary influences; it was recorded over a two-year period and was mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M.) and mastered by David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers). The release date for the new work is October 11, 2012.
Uncle Lightnin' is:
Richard Tate: vocals, guitars, harmonica, dobro
Millard Ramsey: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Dan Myers: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Andrew Heck: vocals, bass, mandolin, bagpipes
Milton Hamrick: keyboards, pedal steel, harmonica, sitar, lap steel, bass