What started as a few people gathering in Jim Ricks’ music shop to play a little music in 1986 eventually ballooned into an institution so popular it would fill every room, especially on Saturdays, but sometimes on Thursdays too. Those walking through the shop could expect to have to squeeze tightly through the clusters of acoustic instruments and their players.
The bittersweet morning and afternoon was punctuated by cutting a celebratory cake at one o’ clock, singing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow,” and little Kali Keith handing Ricks a plaque thanking him for being her “superhero.” Ricks seemed touched by the gift and amazed and the way his portrait and a picture of his shop had been flawlessly emblazoned on the icing of the cake.
Ricks thanked the crowd for 21 good years and said he would miss the jam sessions, but had made the decision to scale back and take it easy. Although he has cancer, he said he was not dying.
“The Lord might let me live a few more years, but I gotta slow down,” he said amidst numerous in-jokes cracked by those around him who had been attending the jams for years.
“There’s gonna be a lot of orphans,” said longtime jammer Janise Lambert.
Ricks spoke to The Cadiz Record about some of his fond memories of the years he kept the shop open. Just a couple of months ago, his shop was visited by Kellye Cash, the 1987 Miss America and great-niece of the late Johnny Cash, whom he said still looks great.
“I’m going to miss parts like that,” he said with his trademark wink and a smile.
That wasn’t the only connection his shop has had with the legendary country star. He said that four or five years ago, June Carter Cash and her stepdaughter, Rosanne Cash, spent some time in the shop. Things were calm when they were in the shop, but a mob quickly formed when they came outside and they had to rush to their bus, Ricks said.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.