Rick Bockner is a Canadian guitarist, songwriter and performer who has spent over 50 years exploring folk, blues and early jazz styles of music. He began playing guitar when he was seven. Some of his teachers have included Pete Seeger, Mel Bay, Stefan Grossman, and Woody Mann. Rick was a member of the seminal 60’s San Francisco band, Mad River (Capitol Records). He is known for his lush fingerstyle arrangements and penetrating, intelligent lyrics.
Rick grew up in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) where his father worked as a social worker, using the music of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Pete Seeger in his work with children. Seeger was a frequent houseguest, and the family home was a stopping point for some of the best folk and blues musicians on tour in the 50’s. Music was in the home and Rick soon became attracted to learning the guitar.
By age 13, Rick had tapped into the rich vein of black music present in St. Louis, and went to hear blues, boogie-woogie piano, and gospel musicians play whenever he could. This music helped form the foundations of his own style, which blends the message of the folk movement with the energy of roots blues and jazz.
The 60’s brought the expansion of the music scene and the dominance of the West Coast as a place to be for musicians. Rick’s band, Mad River, played for 3 years in the Bay area and were friends and contemporaries with Janis Joplin, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, poet Richard Brautigan (some of whose early publications were funded by Mad River), Michael Bloomfield, and other luminaries of the music scene there. Mad River disbanded in 1969 and Rick moved to Canada.
Living quietly in the mountains of south-east British Columbia, Rick began to develop his own language and playing style that gave birth to his songwriting repertoire. He performed and taught at festivals, colleges, clubs and halls in B.C. during that period while he continued to write and arrange his music.
After moving to Cortes Island (near to Vancouver Island) in 1982, Bockner began to expand his travels and toured more widely in Canada the U.S. and Europe. He has recorded 4 cds, including the acclaimed “Fret Lizards” featuring duos with Ken Hamm, John Reischman, and Woody Mann, and “Think For Yourself” with jazz harmonica player Keith Bennett. In 2003 Rick collaborated with Brazilian pianist Plinio Cutait to record the instrumental cd “Egregora”. He has just commpleted a new cd, Regeneration, featuring his daughter Amy on some lead and background vocals, and produced by Simon Kendall. Regeneration should be available by April, 2010.