When you go to a concert, your eyes often focus most on the singer and guitar players. While this is certainly true for fans who attend Lynyrd Skynyrd's concerts, it was hard to look past one enthusiastic keyboard player at the back of the stage.
Billy Powell had been a loyal member of Skynyrd for decades prior to his untimely death in 2009. You probably don't even realize it, but he was instrumental in helping Skynyrd shape their sound. All you have to do is listen to songs like "Tuesday's Gone" to hear just how much of an influence Billy had on the group's music.
You could always spot Billy at the back of the stage during concerts. He often seemed to be in his own little world as he played, with an ever-present smile on his face.
After Billy's death, the band decided to honor him in the best way they knew how...through music. The group wrote a tribute song to him titled "Gifted Hands," which they included as the final track on their 2009 album, God & Guns.
In 2013, one Skynyrd fan decided to offer the ultimate salute to Billy when he recorded himself singing "Gifted Hands." Named Patrick Sharrow, he aims to create songs that blend together the sounds of "solemn country/rock and steady roots music." Skynyrd and "Gifted Hands" fall right into that category.
Patrick opened up his cover of "Gifted Hands" by strumming softly on his acoustic guitar. Once he started singing, his voice glided smoothly through the heartbreaking first verse. He continued to soar through the song with ease, pouring emotion into every word.
You can watch Patrick's outstanding tribute to Billy in the clip below. If you'd like to hear more from him, you can check out the other videos on his YouTube channel here.
Billy's talent truly was a gift. We miss him so much...
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