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I think I speak for everyone when I say that I will thank my lucky stars for the rest of my life that Cassie Gaines thought to recommend her little brother, Steve, to her bandmates when Lynyrd Skynyrd was on the hunt for a third guitarist. A fiercely gifted musician whose dedication to his craft inspired his bandmates in ways they’d never imagined, Steve Gaines was an absolute force to be reckoned with, a quadruple threat if there ever was one; he could sing, he could write, he could compose, and good heavens he could play!
When time came to write and record Street Survivors, all of these elements came out to play in the form of “You Got That Right,” “I Never Dreamed” and “Ain’t No Good Life,” but it was “I Know A Little” that Gary Rossington says cemented his musical legacy and sums up exactly what Steve meant to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“This song sums up what Steve Gaines, who wrote it, meant to the band,” says Gary Rossington.
“He was a great songwriter and singer—and an incredible guitarist. I’ve never heard anybody, including any of us, play his picking part quite right.”
A lively barnburner of a piece that he’d written prior to joining Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Gaines’ “I Know A Little” is an absolutely stellar showcase of the magic that happened when he had a guitar in his hands, demonstrating both his immense talent for writing and composition and setting up his bandmates to shine in the areas that had already set them lightyears apart from every other band in the Southern rock pantheon; the world class rhythm section laid out by Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, the triple guitar attack tightly executed by Rossington, Gaines, and Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant’s electrifying stage presence.
Gary is absolutely right; when it came to approaching his craft, Steve Gaines was second to none but when it came to the magic he brought not just to Lynyrd Skynyrd but to the lives of his bandmates, there is no comparison – Steve was a wonder.