Jimmy Ritchey, co-writer for Jake Owen’s ” The One That Got Away ” which reached Number 1 on Country Music Radio just days ago is no stranger to the airwaves. He has collaborated with and composed songs for George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, Tommy Shane Steiner and recently as producer for Greg Bates who also has the skyrocketing hit song ” I Did It For The Girl ” to his credit.
A consummate professional musician he plays many instruments and sings quite well of course, but it is the guitar that is his first love. Playing since just a young boy Jimmy Ritchey was in high demand as a concert lead guitarist for countless Country acts who toured the Pacific Northwest where he spent his youth. Making a decision nearly two decades ago to pursue his dreams of Country Music, Jimmy realized there was no better place to call ” home ” than Nashville Tennessee. Since his arrival back all those years ago, Jimmy has traveled a hard road up to the top – wearing many hats as musician, singer, writer, engineer and producer. He is comfortable being that type of artist who can change with every day and each opportunity that may come his way. His clients are now becoming the new ” Who’s Who ” of Country Music and his services are in high demand.
But with all this success, Jim has not allowed the pressure or fame to change him at the core level. I know this because this writer was fortunate to have watched Jim Ritchey grow up and become the local phenomenon who the folks in my home state, my home of Lewis County Washington came to know and admire. He was always a nice kid who got along with everyone and talked to others, especially older players for whom he had the utmost respect. He would ask how a song or guitar riff would go, then politely say thank you, turn around and play it correctly the first time. Yes, he was just that good! It was really no wonder that Jimmy should go off to Music City and make it big. We all knew and expected he would do that someday but as our own James Dean Fisher of DGT who is also a resident of Nashville has pointed out, the hopes and dreams arrive daily, and many leave discouraged. It takes old fashioned determination and hard work to stick it out and get where Jimmy is today. Anything he may own, and any status achieved was done so with blisters on the fingers and oftentimes a lack of sleep!
When he comes home to see his family and friends you can always find him at the local Jam or benefit concert just sitting in, being one of the boys. There is never any trace of ego with Jim Ritchey on stage. He plays from the heart and damn…does he play! It can be Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country or Acoustic Folk; he does it all tastefully as the skilled master he has become. What more of a compliment would an artist in the recording studio want more than a man of Jim Ritchey’s experience into their song or album? He’s been there out in the trenches paying his dues and learning his craft, yet Jim Ritchey never forgets the long hard road leading him to where he is today. His ability to put himself in the shoes of the singer, band or songwriter gives him an edge. An edge only someone who has actually done it all, not studied it as a science or theory from a textbook would be able to provide. And you know, the best is yet to come!