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Lynyrd Skynyrd Keeping Rowdy Frynds Alive

Of the Oakland Press

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Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr., learned last year that Rowdy Frynds can generate some revenue together.

In just 20 Rowdy Frynds concerts last year the two acts grossed a respectable $10.9 million in ticket sales and, reportedly, some record booze sales at the venues they played. So teaming up for another run was a no-brainer.

"We didn't hit some of the cities with Hank that we're used to doing last year," says Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, one of just two original members, along with keyboardist Billy Powell, still in the band. "They called and wanted us to come back out and do it some more, so we're going to a few new towns and some of the old towns we did last year -- but mostly it's new."

And there's good news to go along with the tour; Rossington, 56, says Skynyrd has at least 20 songs ready for consideration for a new album -- its first of new material since 2003's "Vicious Cycle." Among those is an unreleased song called "Cottonmouth Country" that hails from the group's first recording sessions in the early '70s, while Rossington, frontman Johnny Van Zant and guitarist Rickey Medlocke have been spending time in Nashville working with songwriters.

"We're not doing a country album," says Rossington, who hopes to start recording later this month or in May. "But Skynyrd's always had a little bit of country blood in us. That's where we come from."

The group will get to exercise its rock jones, too, when it guests at Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Revival Tour stop on May 15 at New York's Madison Square Garden and plays subsequent dates with the Clarkston rocker later this summer.

"He's a great guy, man. We love him, and he's done a lot for us," Rossington says of Rock. "We're friends with him. He's got the same bus driver, so we talk to each other all the time through him. And we hear all the wild stories about him. We've calmed down now, so we listen to all the stories about the Kid Rock party bus."

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams, Jr. and Justin Moore perform at 7 p.m. Saturday (April 19) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $25-$69.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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